Two men in suits shaking hands.

New Normal event draws huge crowd

Josh Shapiro, Chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, publicly announced the launch of the county's new Navicate program at the foundation's October 2012 conference.

October 26, 2012 - A crowd of two hundred people from health and human service providers, county government, the philanthropic and business communities, academic institutions, and other community leaders packed the Grand Ballroom at the Blue Bell Country Club yesterday morning for "The New Normal:  A Community Conversation."

Kicking off the morning event was foundation President and CEO Russell Johnson who provided context for the theme of the event:  systems change. Russ said that even with the current economic climate and changing nature of public funding, there are opportunities - such as new communication tools and better data tracking software - to help us think and operate differently.

Katya Smyth of the The Full Frame Initiative challenged the crowd to embrace systems change in order to fix the "broken social service system." While she cautioned that this work is not linear and does have unintended consequences, clients can ultimately benefit from a system redesign.

Josh Shapiro, Chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, publicly announced the county's new Navicate program, which will be launched in early 2013. This new model of service delivery will link "navicates," navigators who will also act as advocates, with county residents in need of county services. The navicates will assist residents by connecting them with appropriate departments, making necessary calls and following up as needed. Navicates will be county employees who will be placed in locations throughout county. This new model transforms the county's model from a disciplined-focused system to a constituent-focused system.

Kathy Phifer, Director of the Montgomery County Housing and Community Development, presented the county's Roadmap for Housing Stability. Kathy noted the county and multi-stakeholder planning group, have been on a six year journey to create the plan, which will transform emergency and supportive housing services for the county's homeless population. County consultant Jason Alexander of Capacity for Change, provide the plans four overarching goals.

The Intelligencer, The Reporter and The Inquirer ran articles on the event. The county's website posted Commissioner's Shapiro's speech along with his slideshow presentation.