Compass reports more poverty due to COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought changes to the Compass Center for Families.

Susan Carr, executive director of the Sheridan-based service, said child abuse reports were down overall, but there’s been an increase in poverty among those Compass serves.

Speaking at a meeting of Sheridan County commissioners earlier this month, Carr said Compass responded to the need in a way that allowed the organization to become professionals and experts in resource referral. She said Compass partners with every non-profit organization in Sheridan County, including Community Connections.

Carr said with a combination of local, state and federal funding, along with private donations, Compass helped pay rent, utilities, car payments and other payments and found ways for people to continue to work. In one case, she said, Compass helped provide the safety equipment needed for a man to start a new job so he could support his family.

Compass this year sought county approval to apply for a $55,000 grant in federal funding – a request that Sheridan County commissioners approved – and Carr said while the request didn’t look that much different from requests in past years, there was a change.

She said in the past, a lot of salaries have been paid with the federal funding, but this year, those funds will be used for resource referral. She said Compass is working with families, connecting them with rental and housing assistance. She said Sheridan and Johnson counties have been hit by astronomical poverty issues, and Compass is seeing people who have never in their lives had to ask for help before.

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