Haylee Prince and Neil Wagner make up a small but mighty team of Front Porch Ambassadors (FPA), an initiative launched by Governor Stitt to simplify and streamline the process for Oklahomans accessing state benefits such as WIC, SoonerCare, housing assistance, SNAP, child-care, TANF and more. Embedded at Emergency Infant Services’ (EIS) downtown location, the two Front Porch Ambassadors spend their days building relationships and helping Tulsa’s families and children navigate the complex system of state benefits.
“The Front Porch Initiative is intended to ease access to services for those in need as well as increase collaboration among community partners. I am excited to bring this work to Tulsa because I know from experience this community already has an outstanding network of partners with broad support, especially when it comes to families with young children. I’m hopeful this increased coordination will create synergies and most importantly improve outcomes for the people we all serve.”
Special Adviser to Governor Stitt for Front Porch
Since the program’s launch in October, Neil and Haylee have served 225 clients. Neil recalled an interaction with a 20-year-old client who came to EIS after taking guardianship of a family member. After a short intake process, EIS was able to identify and provide emergency basic needs for the client, helping divert this child from coming into custody, and make a warm hand-off to Front Porch Ambassadors. With the help of the Front Porch Ambassador, this family was able to apply for SNAP, child-care, WIC, TANF, all in one visit. Haylee explains how Front Porch pursues a holistic approach to helping the families, not only assisting families with the intended reason for their visit but also exploring what other programs they might be eligible for.
Haylee and Neil bring a personal quality to these social programs, representing the humanity in the various health and human services programs as well as the powerful humility in seeking help. As Front Porch continues to assist families in need of help, Neil, Haylee and everyone else involved in this initiative are hopeful that future integration with other programs and partners can further close the gap between community need and available resources.