Delivering on his “Big Five” priority, the Recovery Service Center provides assistance for county government services in the wake of COVID-19
The Recovery Service Center has received over 28,000 calls and processed over 10,000 service requests
KINGSTON, N.Y. – Ulster County Executive Ryan during his Facebook Live briefing provided an update on the Ulster County Recovery Service Center (RSC). The RSC supports members of the community on a wide range of issues and topics, from helping residents navigate through often complex county service needs to the ability to submit general inquiries and complaints. The Ulster County Recovery Service Center offers live specially-trained County staff from numerous departments at a single point of contact. During its more than 180 days of activity, the County’s call center has received over 28,000 calls, resulting in over 10,000 service requests – a responsive, responsible, and personalized relationship with Ulster County residents.
“Now more than ever, COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of local government and the daily role that we must play in assisting our residents,” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “The Ulster County Recovery Service Center makes it easier for our residents to get the support they need, and it does it in a way that is more streamlined and efficient. I’m proud that Team Ulster County has continued to innovate throughout our response to this crisis, and I am certain that the transformative impact of the RSC will continue to help make county government more responsive and responsible, even during the challenging financial conditions we face in 2021.”
Due to the financial impacts of COVID-19, County Executive Ryan has projected a 34.2 million dollar decline in revenues. With the county focused on controlling costs while providing essential services, the cross-functional teams working at the RSC are breaking down silos and enabling the county to quickly respond to this rapidly evolving situation.
“When we are faced with declining revenues, we have to get more creative about how we serve our residents in order to remain responsive,” County Executive Ryan said. “The Recovery Service Center is an example of that – it’s a model for how we can rethink the traditional silos of departments and create a center of excellence for customer service, even while we look for ways to cut costs.”
When the first positive case of COVID-19 was announced in Ulster County on March 8th, County Executive Pat Ryan directed the Innovation Team to set up a call center to field residents’ concerns. In less than three days on March 11th, the call center was set up, which is believed to be on the first one of its kind to set up in the State. Ulster County employees, public health nurses, 911 operators, and Ulster Corps volunteers were live on the phones with Ulster County residents and businesses.
This summer, as New York phased its re-opening, the COVID-19 Hotline transitioned into the Recovery Service Center (RSC), to help guide constituents impacted by the pandemic to County and partner programs that could help during the recovery period – services like food assistance, housing support, and mental health services.
During the County’s “Get Tested Week” in July, the RSC matched callers to testing locations that fit their individual needs and helped others find general information about COVID testing in Ulster County.
“The RSC helps County Government to be responsive and responsible by having a team behind the call center that listens and helps constituents, and consistently updates and streamlines information, forms, and processes,” said Director of the Office for the Aging Susan Koppenhaver. “When I was answering phones at the RSC, it was gratifying to hear so many different people, from all ages and walks of life, tell us how glad they were to have someone to call who could answer their questions or find out the facts.”
“The Ulster County RSC was invaluable to me in reporting information about COVID-19 compliance during these trying times. The people that I have spoken to through the hotline have been polite and forthcoming with important information and made me feel listened to. Thank you so much for your support; it was very much appreciated,” says Elisa Shafran, a Saugerties resident who spoke with the RSC three times this summer on different topics.
Live agents, who are specially-trained county staff assigned from the County’s various departments, are available via phone (845-443-8888) Monday and Friday 8:00 am – 7:00 pm and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 8:00 am – 5:00 or email (RSC@co.ulster.ny.us(link sends e-mail)).