HSS opening Columbia office


A pillar of Monroe County is expanding, as Human Support Services is opening an office in Columbia on Thursday. 

“As the needs of the Monroe County community grow and change, we, as an agency, have recognized the need to expand and grow our services,” HSS Executive Director Anne King said. “We have been looking for an opportunity to provide resources in Columbia for some time, and this office will better allow us to be there for the individuals and families of this community.”

HSS provides counseling and outpatient mental health services, an affordable housing program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities or mental health concerns, job coaching, educational classes and customized employment and training for those same people, recovery and prevention services for those battling substance use and addiction and dementia caregiver education and training.

Located at 960 Columbia Centre, its new facility will  primarily be home to the nonprofit’s Building Futures program. 

That initiative will offer job coaching, educational classes, person-centered planning, customized employment and training to individuals ages 14-30 with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

That was an area HSS previously did not offer services, but it knew it needed to expand there. 

“The way we serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities has evolved,” King said. “We developed the Building Futures program as a way to establish ourselves as a community-based employment program.  Our person-centered approach to services, from employment to housing, is working very well for the adults we serve and we believe that this approach will work well with our youth.  Partnering with our local schools as early as possible can only make for a better outcome for our youth.”

The program, funded by a grant from the Illinois Council for Developmental Disabilities, will use an innovative employment process for its clients. 

The first step is identifying the gifts, talents, dreams and desires of a client. Then, HSS will help market those talents and gifts to employers and negotiate with them on customized job placements. 

In addition to that program, the new office will provide a variety of counseling services and community education opportunities, once it is fully licensed.

The office, which is also funded by the ICDD grant, will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday. 

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, with an open house to follow. The public is invited to attend. 

To learn more about the new office, visit it during its office hours or call the Waterloo HSS office, located at 988 N. Illinois Route 3, at 939-4444. 

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