NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s social service agencies need help, Democratic Norwalk mayoral candidates agree.
At least three do. We haven’t heard from Andy Garfunkel.
Matt Miklave, Harry Rilling and Vinny Mangiacopra spoke on the topic at the recent NEON-NAACP Community Town Hall.
The candidates were asked, “What will be different if you are mayor, regarding social services?”
Miklave said social service agencies need to have volunteer help arranged through the mayor’s office.
“I think we need to have technical assistance to these not for profits, so they have the experts that are devoting their time pro bono,” he said. “The lawyers, the accountants, the financial people, the people who know how to raise money, that can provide technical expertise. Because the fact now is, if the public doesn’t have the support for what I call blocking and tackling of social service agencies, how do you run your books?”
Rilling said the problem with Norwalk’s social service agencies is the same problem he sees elsewhere.
“Just like every other part of government – nobody’s talking to each other,” he said. “I envision a housing and health commission that will bring all the parties together, that will allow people to have access to social services.”
It’s important to reach out to people in need, he said.
“Right now, a lot of people don’t have a clue as to where they can find social services,” he said. “That’s where we fail, where other communities thrive. They inform their community. They educate their community. That’s what we need here.”
Mangiacopra said more government is in order, as well.
“It comes down to mission statements of what the social services agency really is,” he said. “That’s what we need to support. … All our entities that are clustered here in this city, we need to make sure they have support from the mayor’s office, from the city. Other municipalities, when you research, they have a department of social services as part of city government. We don’t have that here. We don’t have that kind of resource center.”
Garfunkel did not return an email giving him a chance to opine on the topic.