Rochester program aimed at bringing necessary resources into the community kicks off Tuesday

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(ABC 6 News) – Olmsted County is taking community outreach to a whole new level with a new program aimed at helping residents in need starting Tuesday in Rochester.

It’s called Guiding Partners to Solutions, or GPS, and the goal is to better connect people services like housing, cash and food benefits.

Alongside Family Service Rochester, social workers will be appointed to four different locations throughout Rochester to meet with community members. With GPS, Olmsted County is hoping to bring necessary resources into the community and provide better access.

“People in the community looking for food support, to people just needing support or assistance and not knowing the right directions. So, they call GPS and they help them find which direction or which area is the best resource for them,” explained Justin Breaker, the program manager with FSR.

GPS is not a new program. In fact, there has been a social worker at the Rochester Public Library for about a year and a half, meeting with community members and pointing them in the right direction to resources at its “Wellness Corner”.

Starting Tuesday, however, the couty is expanding this in-person help to three more locations throughout the city of Rochester.

Before, GPS services were only available by phone or by coming into the Olmsted County Campus Drive building.

“Families and individuals may not be able to make the phone call, may not be able to make it to the 2117 building, or might not be comfortable doing those things until they build that relationship and see the person for a while,” Breaker added.

Now, social workers are bringing help out into the community where people need it most.

Social workers will be on a set schedule every Tuesday and Thursday at four different locations. This includes Riverside Central Elementary School, the Rochester Salvation Army, the Hylands Apartment Community and the Rochester Public Library.

GPS officials also say the program is flexible. They encourage community members to reach out to the county or to FSR with ideas and other ways to make the program helpful to everyone.

“starting with that one social worker from this particular navigation program and then learning what the community wants and needs from us in order to be as successful as possible,” explained Olmsted County Program Coordinator Mary Eichten.

These services begin Tuesday.

More information on times and location are below:

  • Tuesdays, 8 – 10 a.m.
    • Location: Riverside Central Elementary School, 506 5th Ave. SE, Rochester
    • NOTE: This is only open to families with children at Riverside Central. This is not open to the public. 
  • Tuesdays, 3 – 5 p.m.
    • Location: The Hylands apartment community, 2800 Charles Ct. NW, Rochester
  • Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    • Location: The Salvation Army Social Services Center, 115 First Avenue NE, Rochester
  • Thursdays, 1:30 – 5 p.m.
    • Location: Rochester Public Library, 101 2nd St. SE, Rochester