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Daily Journal
     January 30, 2020      #12-30 KDJ

Kan-I Help information network relaunched 

By Laura McElroy

Where can I find legal help? Who do I contact about a housing issue? What agencies provide home health care? Are there transportation services near me? How many local agencies provide mental health services?

The answers to those questions and more can be found at the newly redesigned and updated Kankakee-Iroquois Help information network.

KAN-I Help, a comprehensive community information system designed to connect residents of Kankakee and Iroquois counties with government agencies, publicly financed human services and nonprofit organizations, relaunched Monday.

The database relaunch was financed by Project SUN, a children’s mental health initiative administered through the Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley.

The new website, kanihelp.org, features updated data for its more than 650 agency listings and the nearly 1,000 local and national services they offer, stated Project SUN community navigator Mariah Garratt.

Other site features include:

• Improved search functionality made possible by updated keywords, fresh data for resource profiles and one-click category options that can be used to filter results. Local resources are displayed on a helpful geo-location map.

• A new events calendar with relevant health and wellness opportunities for learning and community-building.

  • A new page for volunteer listings allowing organizations to publicize their volunteer needs and assist individuals who are looking to find where their interests and talents are wanted.

“Despite its previously outdated nature, the former Kan-I Help website had nearly 12,000 visitors in 2019, according to Google Analytics data,” said Garratt. “Still, many people do not know the full extent of the local resources that exist in their own backyard.”

“Kan-I Help empowers individuals and families, not just service providers or agencies, to use a free, user-friendly, unbiased tool in finding the answers they are looking for. Surveys have indicated that individuals prefer to get preliminary information anonymously before calling to make an appointment to receive services. Therefore, it is important to help ensure they have as much information as possible about the options they have for services,” Garratt added.

The Kan-I Help information network exists under the management of the Pledge for Life Partnership. Kan-I Help’s origins trace back to 1987 when an American Red Cross volunteer began to catalog human services offered in Kankakee County. A HELP book was published by the local United Way chapter until it was turned over to the Pledge for Life Partnership in 1998.

The original Kan-I Help website launched in 1999. Last year, Project SUN offered to partner with Pledge for Life to update and enhance the existing database. After a period of planning and researching, a contract was accepted from the local web design company, Linkpoint Media, in the fall of 2018.

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