Impact Stories


Purpose of Contact: A woman and her children recently moved to the Montgomery County area from Florida. As a survivor of domestic violence, the consumer reached out to Community Connections after learning about the program through the Office of Public Health. She was looking for a range of services to help in her battle with depression and suicidal ideation, her physical disabilities, D&A issues, and resources for her children.

Assistance Provided: Navicate Tori provided a safe space and empathic ear that allowed the consumer to feel comfortable sharing her needs. She was able to link the consumer to an array of services including the Women’s Bridge Center, the Recovery Learning Center, SOAR to receive disability advocate, AA and NA groups, and Mitzvah Circle for clothes and items for herself and children.

Consumer Outcome: The consumer has been able to receive services from all of the resources Navicate Tori connected her with and has continued to reach out and update Community Connections on her progress. The consumer expressed her appreciation for working with a program that treated her in a non-judgmental way and has been sharing the program with other folks she meets through the resources with which she is involved. “I already see that Community Connections is a beautiful thing to the community.” - CH


Purpose of Contact: An older gentleman whose wife passed away 3 years ago, recently moved to Montgomery County to be closer to his daughter and family. The consumer got in contact with Community Connections looking for counseling services as well as places where he can socialize with others.

Assistance Provided: The Navicate discussed with the consumer potential resources that would meet his needs. The Navicate connected the consumer with the Lincoln Center for Family & Youth’s Elder Victim Mobile Support program for counseling, as well as the local YMCA and senior center for socialization. Since his initial conversation with the Navicate, the consumer has continued to stay in touch with Community Connections to give updates on how he is doing with the resources that were provided, as well as to link with other services for additional needs he has identified.

Consumer Notice: “I had no experience with any government agency in my life. I came here and didn’t know anyone. I connected with (Navicate) by chance. She was so nice and helpful and has been incredible. The experience has helped to change my whole situation; it’s a big deal. With Montgomery County, it’s incredible. I never imagined that there would be programs and people like this who can help out. I would absolutely recommend others folks to contact Community Connections.” –Richard, age 79


Purpose of Contact: An individual in a homeless crisis connected himself to a Navicate because he was unaware of the local agencies that could assist with housing and also mental health supports.

Assistance Provided: The Navicate and the consumer contacted several social service programs to inquire if the consumer would qualify for their housing/mental health programs. Although he was ineligible for several programs, the Navicate continued to advocate for the consumer who regularly stopped into the Navicate office. The Navicate provided on-going encouragement and support to the consumer until he felt his needs were met.

Consumer Outcome: The individual has been connected with a local resource, Your Way Home, to assist with housing location. He also accessed mental health services from a local agency. The individual found that having a Navicate in his town was a great benefit as he could access the services easily. In addition to the resources, the consumer stated he was thankful for the Navicate’s dedication, advocacy, and continual encouragement throughout the process.


Purpose of Contact: An elderly individual in need of home-delivered meals and assistance with bathing. He lives alone and struggles with personal care due to complications with medical diagnosis.

Assistance Provided: Navicate called the PA Independent Enrollment Broker (PA IEB) and assisted the senior with requesting an application for in-home services, to assist him in bathing. Navicate conducted a three-way conference call with the PAIEB and the senior and created a referral for him to receive application assistance and home-delivered meals from the local Aging Office. 

Consumer Outcome: The individual has been assessed for home-delivered meals and approved. He was assigned to work with a financial advocate who assists with gathering the financial documentation for the in-home service application. This expedited the senior’s application for him to receive the in-home services he needs to remain living independently.


Issue: In February 2018, a male consumer, walked into the Pottstown office to speak with Community Connections Pottstown Navicate, Tori Hawkins. His initial problem was homelessness and the need to find housing. Through conversation, Navicate learned that he was in need of transportation to his dialysis appointments three days a week, assistance with applying for social security disability, SNAP benefits, as well as a new working cell phone.

Intervention: Navicate was able to provide a direct referral to the Your Way Home system to begin the process of rapid rehousing. Navicate was also able to place a direct referral to the Personal Navigator who was able to assist with both SNAP benefits as well as obtaining a new Q-Link Wireless phone. The SOAR program was able to apply for Social Security Disability for him, while Transnet was able to provide transportation to and from his dialysis appointments.

Impact: The consumer checked back with Navicate through walk-in appointments from February until the end of August, sometimes multiple times a week to follow-up on the resources and their status. Through the numerous months working together, Tori was able to watch and assist as he went from being homeless to securing a lease for an apartment with the financial means to provide for himself. Navicate was a valuable resource of information and support during his most vulnerable time. He continues to stop in to the Pottstown office to update Tori on his life and his successes with the resources given to him.

Contact: Tori Hawkins, Pottstown Navicate, 610-278-3593


Issue: In early January 2018, a female consumer, 35 years old, came into the Pottstown regional office after having recently moved into the area, not knowing where to turn for assistance. She was referred by the Cluster Outreach Center across the street. She was seeking resources including employment opportunities, subsidized housing, furniture, and community service locales. She is in recovery and recently charged with a misdemeanor requiring community service. She shared she is also a patient at Creative Health. She described her small apartment with appreciation though she had been unsuccessful in securing a bed and coffee maker.

Intervention: Throughout the conversation, Darrell Lewis, Pottstown navigate, was able to provide information and referrals to PDIDA (Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority) for community service, the public defender’s office, Mitzvah Circle, and HopeWorx, along with a subsidized housing list and a few local employers.

Impact: The consumer had a few contacts with Darrell throughout January to keep him in the loop of her progress with the referrals. During the most recent contact, she called to thank him profusely for the referral to Mitzvah Circle who delivered her a new bed and a coffee maker! She was so appreciative and thanked him for all of the work he provided to her during her state of transition to Pottstown.

Contact: Darrell Lewis, Pottstown Navicate, 610-970-2979


Issue: In April, a female consumer reached out to Annette Widney, Navicate, of the Lansdale office. She initially called for financial assistance for heating assistance after learning her oil tank had a hole and was not retaining oil. The consumer shared with Annette she was experiencing domestic violence with an ex-boyfriend and unsure what to do. The consumer has a friend who is a lawyer and family/friends have been encouraging her to file a PFA for her protection.

Intervention: During the conversation, Annette learned of other needs she was experiencing and referred her to Luis Rodriguez, CADCOM, for assistance in completing an application for SNAP, MA, and LIHEAP. She shared her feelings of fear and shame with Annette. Annette listened to her and provided her with information and support to make an informed decision for herself.

Impact: During the time Annette and the consumer have connected, the consumer calls Annette occasionally for moral support. She has called Annette prior to court appearances to share how she is feeling. She also learned her oil tank did not have a leak, as initially diagnosed. Annette has been an invaluable resource to her during a time of trauma and uncertainty. Knowing she is able to contact Annette when needed, has provided stability, support, and reassurance through information, referrals, and having someone to talk with. Her voicemail to Annette recently was filled with appreciation and for many consumers in the county, Community Connections provides hope in their time of need.

Contact: Annette Widney, Lansdale Navicate, 610-278-1286


Issue: Resident came into the Community Connections office with EARN Program Case Manager. She stated that she tried to enroll her 5 year old in a local school district yesterday and was refused access because of “not having a permanent address.” Resident spoke with the superintendent. She is homeless and doubled up with a friend. Resident stated she couldn’t give her friend’s address because she doesn’t want to jeopardize friend’s housing. Navicate and Resident talked about how the school has a right to make sure that they are only educating those children who are within their boundaries, however, her son has rights as a homeless child to free education under the McKinney-Vento Act.  

Intervention: Navicate took Resident’s information and had her sign a release so that phone calls could be made on her behalf. Research was done. Navicate sent message to a social worker at the school district to ask what can be done to most efficiently get the child in school with his classmates. The social worker contacted Resident the same day to let her know what documentation to bring to the school the next day so the child could start school.

Impact: Follow up call was made to see how Resident and her son are getting along with school, job search, apartment search, etc. Resident said she is very pleased with the school. Once she was in touch with the social worker, things moved along quickly and easily. She had to get her host to sign something with the school as proof of residency, but it has not had any impact on friend’s housing security. Resident has started a new job, which is going well and she is saving for an apartment. Navicate and Resident talked about 2 resources she can contact for partial assistance with security deposit.  


Issue: Navicate has had numerous encounters with a Resident in Pottstown who had a history of homelessness and was temporarily living with her daughter. Over the course of 1 ½ to 2 months in working with the Navicate, Resident expressed her daughter was being evicted for back rent and she would not be able to go with her as she would be on her own. The Resident has no income as she has issues with severe back pain, poor ambulation, depression and has been denied 3 times for SSD. Resident also expressed suicidal thoughts with a viable plan while in the Navicate office. She also had been using her daughter’s phone, but no longer has access.

Intervention: The Navicate over the course of 1 ½ months gave numbers to Rubin & Badame Associates for SSD claim and also attempted to connect Resident to The Personal Navigator SOAR Program (SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery) for SSD fast-tracking, but she did not qualify as she already had an open case with the Social Security Office. The Navicate also attempted linking Resident to a Safe Link phone but was unsuccessful because her address could not be verified by Safe Link. Navicate referred to the Personal Navigator to connect Consumer to an Assurance phone through the County Assistance Office, also known as the Department of Public Welfare; Resident just needed to go to the CAO to sign her signature and pick up the phone. In the process of working with Resident, she expressed suicidal thoughts with a plan. Navicate made a warm transfer to both Adult Mobile Crisis and Creative Health Services. The Resident was assigned a Case Manager with Creative Health who provided transport to an SSD physical exam. While in the exam, the Resident expressed further suicidal thoughts and was immediately hospitalized. Upon telephone contact with a behavioral health clinic social worker, the Resident was later transferred for further inpatient psych treatment. While in treatment, the Resident was connected to Critical Time Intervention and transferred to proper safe shelter placement within the Your Way Home system.

Impact: Another life was saved. While the Resident still has issues and is homeless without income, she is connected properly to those supports required to sustain her while she goes through the SSD / SSI process. She has shelter and mental health services that will monitor her ongoing situation and assist her back to self-sustainability as much as possible.


To protect the privacy of certain individuals the names and identifying details have been changed. The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Community Connections does not endorse individual providers or services. Therefore, any reference herein to any provider or services by name does not constitute or imply the endorsement, recommendation or approval of the Department.