Modified: December 4, 2017 12:37pm
The Erie County Department of Social Services (“ECDSS”) has announced the completion of a $1.4 million renovation project that completely remodeled the department’s first-floor space at the Edward A. Rath county office building, the public’s main portal for accessing public benefits. Approximately 11,500 square feet of space were renovated, modernized and reconfigured to provide better services in a more secure, respectful and welcoming environment along with improved work spaces for departmental employees.
Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger said, “These renovations were long overdue and will be well received by members of the public who come here to receive services, as well as by employees who have renovated work spaces to provide better service. It is important to maintain a welcoming, professional office space that is modern and able to provide services in as efficient a manner as possible, and we are doing that here.”
The new design and renovations support a Solution Focus Trauma Informed Care (“SFTIC”) approach to providing services. The first floor space from the Pearl Street front door in the Public Benefits area was completely redone and now includes Homeless Services, which had been located on the third floor. Bathrooms were completely renovated and updated, a baby changing room and play area were added to the public space, and a cell phone charging area for public use was installed. The reception area was streamlined and reconfigured to provide better public access and a more comfortable atmosphere with new lighting, new flooring, new seating and a new color scheme. A new queuing system is also in place to expedite visitors’ time in the office and reduce waiting time in the reception area. Departmental employees also have refreshed and expanded workspaces, and security has been enhanced with magnetometers and new security cameras. A new HVAC system has also been installed for climate control.
“The transformation of this space creates a more welcoming center that is better able to provide services and do so in a way that is more comfortable and secure both for the public and our staff,” added Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “For many people, this office is their chief contact point with Erie County government, so we want their time here to be as smooth and uncomplicated as possible. At the same time, we need to be cognizant of privacy and security concerns. These dramatic improvements do all that and I thank the Social Services department for their patience as this remodeling was conducted and also the Buildings and Grounds department for their great work on this project.”
Erie County Works Center, the department’s formal name for the first-floor portal to accessing public benefits, is where the public can obtain applications for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (“TANF”), Safety Net programs, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) as well as Medicaid enrollment information. Applications are screened for eligibility for public benefits at one of the 6 remodeled window stations available. Community members in need of homeless services will now be served in a newly remodeled space dedicated to the program, and customers in need of new or replacement CBIC cards to access their public benefits will now be served on the 1st floor as well. Total foot traffic for the ECWC is approximately 13,400 customers per month.
For more information:
On the Erie County Department of Social Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/socialservices/
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