Department of Human Services

2012 "What's Right with the Region!" Award

FOCUS St. Louis Announces Winners

April 1, 2012 | 2 min reading time

This article is 10 years old. It was published on April 1, 2012.

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Photo by Cathy Smentkowski Title: FOCUS St. Louis logo
Source: Cathy Smentkowski

FOCUS St. Louis announced that the Department of Human Services was selected to receive the 2012 “What’s Right with the Region!” Award for the development and implementation of the city’s Special Needs Registry.  The Department was selected from many nominees in the category of “Demonstrating Innovative Solutions.” The award will be presented at the 15th Annual FOCUS St. Louis regional celebration to be held on May 3, 2012, at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

 The Special Needs Registry is an outgrowth of emergency recovery efforts in 2006 resulting from two ferocious wind storms leaving half of the city without electrical power. Among many measures taken, former Governor Matt Blunt called out the National Guard to provide assistance.  While efforts were made to go door-to-door to check on individuals who might have had specific needs that prevented them from taking care of themselves, no easy means of identifying those residents existed.

 Based on that absence of information, the city’s Department of Human Services at the direction of Mayor Francis G. Slay, went to work on the development of what was to become the Special Needs Registry, the only one of its kind in the entire state.  The Registry is now fully functional and has been utilized extensively during periods of extreme temperatures and in response to storms and tornados.

 The Registry is a terminal-server based system that provides 24/7 access to critical information about special needs individuals of all ages residing in the city.  It is populated by those who voluntarily enroll themselves, enrolled by families/caregivers or enrolled through their involvement in federal/state funded programs.  It includes client related information, mapping/reporting capabilities, service tracking and other valuable functions for both planning and response purposes.  Currently the Registry contains the names of 4,000 city residents comprised of the frail elderly, medically needy and people with disabilities.

 FOCUS St. Louis through this award has recognized the importance of this innovative solution that has served as a life saver in emergency situations.  While the City of St.  Louis took the lead in establishing such an approach, other cities in the state are now attempting to replicate the success achieved with this initiative.

 For more information on the Special Needs Registry or to enroll in the program, contact Kelli McCurdy at 314-657-1676.


Department of Human Services

City of St. Louis


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