Social Work Spotlight: Quad Cities Open Network IRIS Resource Hub

Quad Cities Open Network IRIS Resource Hub

This month, our resource spotlight is on the Quad Cities Open Network (QCON), a collaboration of over 116 Health and Human service organizations. Their shared mission is to bolster community well-being through a robust human services sector. Quad Cities Open Network maintains an Information and Referral Hub that assists agencies in connecting Quad Citizens to the resources they need.

Established in 2020, The Quad Cities Open Network Hub utilizes IRIS, an information and referral tool created by the University of Kansas to facilitate warm hand offs between providers as Quad Citizens in a person-centered way. The hub has evolved to include eighty-five human service providers. These organizations work with QCON to simplify services and referrals, ensuring seamless support for individuals and families in the Quad Cities. According to Cecelia Bailey, QCON Executive Director, ‘navigating community resources during a crisis can be overwhelming’. The IRIS hub’s primary goal is to create a centralized access point, providing individuals and families with a single-entry point to connect to the most relevant resources or services tailored to their needs.

Within the hub, each organization is detailed with an explanation of their services, facilitating efficient referrals. This streamlined process identifies available services and ensures that client’s needs are appropriately addressed, minimizing service gaps and allowing for easy follow-up. Effective communication among the organizations within IRIS is crucial in bridging service gaps. QCON aims to expand the platform to foster a collaborative environment where member agencies complement each other.

The vast network of providers empowers community members, and as the number of participating agencies grows, QCON strives to make a substantial impact through its Resource Hub. The hub’s significance becomes evident during natural disasters as a crucial centralized entry point for coordinating emergency support and resources. Notably, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was pivotal in providing a centralized hub for individuals and families to access emergency support and resources.

QCON envisions the Hub as a new standard for information and referral systems, serving as a best practice model for other communities. By collecting data on service gaps and overlaps, QCON aims to inform member agencies, fostering greater collaboration across a sector with finite resources.

All organizations in the Quad Cities committed to serving the local communities are welcome to become part of the IRIS platform. By participating in this initiative, you not only increase awareness for the valuable services you provide but also facilitate smoother referrals. This, in turn, promotes a more interconnected and supportive community where collaboration and communication thrive for the benefit of all. If you want to learn more about how to join IRIS and partner with QCON, please email TheOpenNetworkQC@gmail.com.

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