New resource in Rochester available for people going to court

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — People going through the court system are often experiencing a stressful time in their lives. That’s the reason for a new help desk at the Hall of Justice. 

People coming to court can now get referrals to different types of community services right in the Hall of Justice. 

The community connections desk is the first of its kind in the state. The people who helped develop it believe it will be impactful. A person can leave the courtroom and immediately go to the desk on the first floor to find help with things like employment, housing, and child care. The idea is a collaboration between the Rochester Area Community Foundation the seventh judicial district of New York and Goodwill of the Finger Lakes. 

It will be piloted for one year — thanks to $74,000 from the community foundation. Goodwill provides a full-time community navigator to work the desk. 

“We are so excited to be here to start down this new path with resources that can connect our community with the help that they need, and to make sure that as a community we protect those among us that are most vulnerable,” says Simeon Banister with the Rochester Area Community Foundation.

“If we can just connect those folks with the entities and the services, and the community organizations that are there who make it there life’s work to make the lives of these folks who are suffering better,” says Judge Craig Doran. “If we can just get them to those places we would do so much to lessen the traffic coming in these doors.”

The desk is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on holidays. Goodwill also offers referrals through its call center, which can be reached by dialing 211.