Editorial: Launch of service agency in Hanover Park shows value of inter-agency cooperation
The fact that a new social services agency is celebrating its grand opening in Hanover Park this week may not in itself be a remarkable feat for a suburban community. Suburban government leaders and business and public assistance agencies work together all the time to try to boost development and strengthen the many human networks that go into building a comfortable quality of life for all.
But the Hanover Park experience does provide insights into just how suburban officials must work cooperatively with diverse sources, including other government agencies, to make positive things happen.
In Hanover Park's case, the positive thing is the opening of a new Partners for Our Communities South branch, following the model of the Partners for Our Communities facility in Palatine. Hanover Park Village President Rod Craig toured the Palatine agency two years ago, and recognized the value such a program could have for his community. Hanover Township is home to the second-highest concentration of immigrants in Illinois.
Partners for Our Communities, a 30-year-old agency that operates out of the Community Resource Center in Palatine hosted by Northwest Community Healthcare, helps connect immigrant and refugee families with resources for health and wellness, education, civic involvement, access to justice, domestic violence prevention and more.
Craig was so impressed with what he saw in 2019 that he introduced the agency to Hanover Township Supervisor Brian McGuire, who helped find space at the township's Astor Avenue Community Center in Hanover Park. Then, officials turned to Amita Health Medical Group in Hanover Park, and that led to the donation of a nearly 1,700-squarefoot space at 1515 Lake Street on the DuPage County side of Hanover Park.
Along the way, state Rep. Fred Crespo, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, got involved and suggested the project seek a grant as an Illinois Welcome Center. The community won the grant, and Liza Gutierrez became the new facility's Welcome Center supervisor. Guttierez had worked for the Palatine POC branch for 10 years before Craig met her on his 2019 tour and persuaded her to run -- successfully as it turned out -- for village board. He told our Eric Peterson he believes her background helps lead to a more well-rounded village board.
A social services agency. A suburban mayor. A township supervisor. A private health service. A state representative. It can take a broad cross section of individuals to get a complex project off the ground, and indeed all of these officials were additionally helped by countless other staff members and local representatives in launching POC South.
Specifically, the result of their efforts will be an agency that helps refugees and other immigrants get on their feet, not just to enjoy the benefits of a suburban quality of life but also to contribute to it. And in a broader sense, their work also is an object lesson in the successful cooperation that strengthens the roots of good local government.