History of Cobb Community Collaborative
(1997 to 2013)
Organizations in Cobb have a long history of collaborating to share information and create new programs and mechanisms to improve life for residents of the county.
- The first formal collaboration was accomplished through the Cobb Community Council. The CCC met monthly to share information about programs and to better coordinate resources starting in the 1970’s.
- In 1992, several housing organizations formed the Cobb Housing Coalition to address the emerging homeless population. A collaboration of 5 partners: Cobb County Emergency Aid Association, Inc. (now CFR), DFCS, Travelers Aid, MUST, and the Salvation Army, received a demonstration grant to provide housing for homeless families.
- Incorporated in 1989, the Cobb Human Services Coalition expanded the work of the Cobb Housing Coalition and provided a comprehensive approach in working with the homeless and those at-risk of homelessness. Working with dozens of human service organizations and volunteers, the CHSC produced a comprehensive human service plan. Projects resulting from “The Plan” included:
- Health Clinic- Establishment of a health clinic at MUST Ministries providing free medical care to low income residents. The program was managed by Cobb Health Partners.
- Child Care- Development of affordable child care resources. Working with the Junior League, the CHSC helped to bring Sheltering Arms to Cobb County. The CHSC provided community awareness and advocacy in the development of Georgia’s Pre K program and served as the Coordinating Council for private day care centers wishing to participate in the program.
- Affordable Housing – The CHSC Housing Team worked to develop an affordable housing development program which incorporated as Cobb Housing Inc.
- Resource Guides – An affordable housing list and The Pocket Key Resource Guide were developed and are still maintained and distributed.
- Client database – Predating Pathways, the CHSC was a pioneer in utilizing technology to manage and facilitate sharing of client information. CHSC obtained a grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to develop and implement a client database and provide hardware to participating organizations. The information contained in the CHSC Interagency Database was later merged into Pathways.
- First homeless census – The CHSC was a pace setter in conducting a homeless census in the early 1990’s to obtain better information about the numbers and needs of our homeless population. A homeless census is now required by HUD every 2 years.
- Quality training for case managers and volunteers – The CHSC partnered with Kennesaw State University to provide several conferences and workshops on topics including case management, strategic planning, interviewing, dealing with difficult people, brief practice, compassion fatigue, etc.
- Community Awareness – Several legislative breakfasts and resource fairs were sponsored.
- Jack Vaughan, Jr. Human Service Awards – Each year the event honors volunteers and professional staff who have exhibited outstanding service to the homeless and those at-risk.
Cobb Community Collaborative
The Cobb Community Collaborative (CCC) began meeting informally in 1993, incorporated in 1997 and received it’s non-profit status as 501 c3. Its purpose is to provide a broad-based focal point through which nonprofits, businesses, faith-based groups, and concerned citizens can collaborate as needs and challenges emerge. The work of the Collaborative is accomplished through policy councils, committees, and task forces.
Policy Council on Homelessness
- Cobb Human Service Coalition finalized the transition into PCOH in 2005 in an effort to reduce duplication and create greater collaborative impact.
- Continuum of Care Process – The Policy Council on Homelessness leads the annual update of Cobb’s Continuum of Care and HUD SHP application process which brings in over $1million in funding for organizations housing the homeless.
- As part of the CoC process, the Council has developed additional transitional and permanent housing programs for the homeless and sponsored the Hospitals and Jails Discharge Planning Committees and foster care aging out planning.
- The Hospital Discharge Committee researched methods of discharge used by the hospitals of the homeless and identified the exorbitant expense incurred by Wellstar, Emory Adventist and other hospitals to extend hospital care or provide transportation or hotels to care for the medically fragile homeless after discharge from the hospital.
- Dedicated funding is still allocated through FEMA for hospital discharges.
- In 2004, the Jail Discharge Committee, initially chaired by the Collaborative, developed a partnership with Cobb County Jail resulting in a system to identify the homeless and offer a consolidated case management plan of housing, employment, life skills, substance abuse and support to break the barrier of recidivism.
- The Jail Discharge Committee, in partnership with Turner Chapel AME Church, developed Harmony House in 2006 which serves as a 60 day residential assessment and service center resulting in hundreds bring restored to meaningful and productive lives.
- PCOH coordinates the Homeless Management Information System through Pathways and serves as the facilitator and trainer for Cobb system users to improve data quality necessary for HUD and other homeless funding in Cobb.
- Disaster mobilization efforts occurred in Cobb County for Katrina and Hurricane Dennis in 2005 and South Cobb Floods in 2009 where partners coordinated all members of the community to assist neighbors in need. Cobb Disaster Recovery was formed through United Way and many community partners to establish protocols and effective collaboration of community partners.
Workforce Development Council
- Job Training- Cobb Collaborative’s original project in 1997 was the development of the Cobb (JTPA) Job Training Partnership Association and Cobb PIC (Private Industry Council). Separating from the Metro Atlanta JTPA Program and MAPIC, allowed organizations to better serve the particular needs of Cobb residents and businesses.
- Workforce Investment Act- collaboration of CCC partners coordinated the development of CobbWorks! In 1999 which is a one stop for employment opportunities, training, jobs and skill development.
- In 2002, The Collaborative, in partnership with CobbWorks! and the Community Services Board, received the first federal funding for Compassionate Communities Funding where it served as the intermediary for ten faith-based workforce development projects; many which have been sustained since then.
- Workforce Council assisted in publicizing and recruiting hundreds of youth in summer employment positions.
Transportation – CCC assisted in developing the consolidated transportation program operated by CCT and Community Services Board to assist the disabled in obtaining employment and training in 1997.
Planning and Evaluation Committee
- Cobb County Non-Profit Grant – In an effort to ensure community involvement in the review process, in 1997 the Cobb Board of Commissioners empowered CCC to coordinate a team of community representatives to develop and oversee the non-profit grant review process. As an organization with representation from a broad range of community agencies and stakeholders, the Collaborative and its membership provide the expertise and knowledge of our community needs necessary to ensure the best use of County funds in meeting human service needs.
- Grant process continues to be coordinated by CCC members who meet regularly to ensure consistency and results based evaluation process.
- Over 60 volunteers participate each year in the peer evaluation process.
Policy Council on Children and Families
- Family Connection – In 1997, the Collaborative was approved as Family Connection site for Cobb County. Family Connection is a statewide network of county collaboratives committed to improving the quality of lives of Georgia’s children and families through local decision-making based on reliable data, accountability, and leveraging resources.
- Council was created to implement the priority goals established by Cobb County based on 26 benchmarks in 5 areas: healthy children; children ready for school; children succeeding in school; strong families; self-sufficient families. Every three years a Community Plan is developed outlining the goals, benchmarks and strategies to create results for children and families.
- Education Council- Educational achievement from pre- school to adult education has always been a goal of Cobb’s Family Connection Plan. In 2008, a separate council was formed to coordinate a system of collaboration between the two school systems and Collaborative members participating programs. The Council developed a website for parents, teachers and counselors to easily identify committed community partners to increase student t and family support to reduce educational barriers.
- Community Partnerships for Protecting Children- In 2003 Cobb County was selected as a pilot site for a prevention of child abuse and neglect through a partnership of Family Connection and Dept. of Family and Children’s Services in collaboration with local community partners. CPPC continues to operate in local taskforce areas in Osborne and Powder Springs with the rates of child abuse and neglect continuing to decrease.
Policy Council on Substance Abuse (formerly Drug Free Communities)
- Drug Free Communities Support Program (DFCSP) – In 1999, a grant was obtained through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to conduct comprehensive planning and community development of a process to reduce substance abuse among Cobb youth. Program oversight was originally administered through the Policy Council for Children and Families.
- Initial project assistance was provided to the Osborne Prevention Task Force in obtaining Weed & Seed Designation, the Board of Health in Tobacco Prevention Project, and the Cobb Underage Drinking Prevention Taskforce.
- Following the Communities that Care model developed by Hawkins & Catalano and the SAMHSA approved Strategic Prevention Framework, DFCSP mobilized community stakeholders to develop locally based taskforces in Powder Springs (2001), Austell (2002) and Smyrna (2005).
- DFCSP partnered with Marietta City and Franklin Road resulting in approval for a five year Weed and Seed Grant in 2006.
- Community Leadership Development- Through funding received from Department of Human Resources (behavioral health prevention), DFCSP subcontracted neighborhood based leadership development to Center for Family Resources starting in 2000. Over 8 years that funding was provided; hundreds of community resident leaders were trained resulting in neighborhood policy change, community engagement, information dissemination often implemented through environmental strategies.
- Youth Empowerment- A major protective factor and strategy employed by the DFCSP was youth empowerment through positive social activities. Workshops, Youth Leadership Summits, Power in Truth conferences and Global Youth Service Day have engaged thousands of youth resulting in increase in the age of first use of alcohol, tobacco an other drugs (ATOD)and decrease in peer approval of ATOD.
Cobb Literacy Council
- In 1999, a group of concerned Cobb citizens, businesses, educators, and social service professionals came together to find ways to confront the growing adult population in need of high school credentials, English as a Second Language, and basic literacy services.
- In 2001, The CLC received approval to administer the State of Georgia Certified Literate Community program, with a 10 year goal of serving 51% of the 100,000 adults in need of services in Cobb. Originally administered through the Cobb Chamber Foundation, in February 2005, the CLC joined ranks with CobbWorks! Workforce Investment Board and hired a full-time coordinator.
- CLC achieved its goal of becoming a Certified Literate Community in six years through increasing the number of community based classes and decreasing barriers of transportation, childcare and costs to easily accessible and free classes. Volunteer and scholarship program has led to the successful achievement of the students.
- Family Literacy- Even Start Program achieved excellent results for Latino mothers and their pre school children which included ESL classes, GED, computer literacy and parenting components.
Live Healthy Cobb
- Partnerships of Wellstar, Cobb County Schools, Cobb Public Health, YMCA and numerous others completed a community health assessment and community based surveys to identify the issues, services and gaps for Cobb residents. Results were widely published and used to implement employer, school and community based wellness programs.
Business Advisory Council
- The council was formed to foster interaction and communication between the Cobb County business community and the non-profit membership of Cobb Community Collaborative. The council goal is to create a more efficient exchange of resources to the mutual benefit of the business and non-profit communities.