Modified: April 24, 2018 9:47am
April is “National County Government Month”, an opportunity for counties across the country to promote the programs and services they offer to protect and enhance the health, welfare and safety of residents. The Erie County Health Mall and regular county funding for Meals on Wheels and Rural Transit Services are a few ways that Erie county government provides for underserved residents every day.
“County services provide the support and structure that thousands of residents depend on every day to live their lives to the fullest. In promoting public health and providing public safety, Erie County government plays a key role in the health and wellbeing of our communities,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “It is government’s role to provide the services that the private sector either can’t or won’t do, and I am proud to say that my administration has worked to strengthen public health though the Health Mall and other related initiatives and has also been instrumental in keeping residents connected to needed services through programs such as the Rural Transit Service. These and other initiatives place the emphasis on government serving the public by meeting their needs.”
In May 2014 the Poloncarz administration opened the Erie County Health Mall at 1500 Broadway in Buffalo, bringing critical health care services to an area that had been devastated by the closure of prior health clinics. Open to all Erie County residents regardless of where they reside, the Health Mall has seen thousands of visitors and is the first of its kind in Western New York to bring together primary, dental and mental health care under one roof.
The Health Mall’s unique public-private collaboration allows health partners to offer an array of services focused on providing primary and chronic disease care in order to better manage patients’ conditions before they lead to hospitalization. Additionally, it is the only provider of primary care in the 14212 zip code.
Erie County government also provides critical budgetary support to Rural Transit Services, which identifies and serves the community transportation needs of senior citizens, disabled individuals and low-to-moderate income residents in rural Erie County communities. Eligible residents are transported to dialysis clinics, medical offices, physical therapy, pharmacies, work places, nutrition sites, and to other necessities that they would not be able to reach otherwise. Since 2012 Erie County has provided over $1.5 million to Rural Transit Services for the community-connecting work that they do.
Poloncarz added, “As I’ve said many times, our county is actually like a small state with urban, suburban and rural areas and a population that is equal to that of five states. For residents without their own vehicles transportation can be a big issue, especially for those living in our rural areas. County government helps to fill this critical need by providing vital funding for Rural Transit Service, which provides thousands of rides annually for people in the county’s rural areas and connects them to the services they need.”
Another county-supported lifeline to residents is the Meals on Wheels (“MOW”) program, which brings nutritious meals and friendly companionship to seniors and other individuals who are not able to leave their homes. Erie County government has provided over $22.3 million to MOW for WNY since 2012, the same year that MOW delivered its 25 millionth meal. In 2013 the Erie County Stay Fit congregate dining program entered into a contract with MOW to produce approximately 1,200 meals per day for the dining program, meaning that MOW is now producing approximately 275,000 meals in addition to the 900,000 meals per year for the traditional, homebound program; MOW is now easily surpassing the one million meal mark each year.
For more information:
On how Erie County government serves residents, visit 101 Ways
On the Rural Transit Service of Erie County, visit http://www.ruraltransitservice.org/
On Meals on Wheels for WNY, visit https://mealsonwheelswny.org/
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