Dr. Alisahah Cole Dr. Alisahah Cole is a physician and Atrium Health’s Medical Director for Community Health.

Thousands of free or reduced-costs services for food, transportation, baby supplies, medical care, legal assistance and more are available to Carolinas residents. But navigating the profusion of social services can be time-consuming and frustrating.

In January, Atrium Health launched the Community Resource Hub, an online database that makes it easier to find and access free and reduced-costs resources from local, state and national providers, including more than 15 Charlotte-area organizations, such as Loaves & Fishes, the YMCA, Care Ring, and MedAssist.

Charlotte’s healthcare leader is now making the powerful search tool available to the public.

“With this new tool, Atrium Health aims to extend care outside of doctor’s offices by providing access to services that reduce healthcare barriers,” said Dr. Alisahah Cole, Vice President and System Medical Director for Community Health at Atrium Health.

New tool advances focus on wellness

Dr. Alisahah Cole

Like most of the healthcare industry, Atrium Health is transitioning to a holistic model of health, which advances prevention and wellness, not just focus on illness and disease, said Dr. Cole.

Two years ago, a Community Health Improvement Study on “social determinants” that affect health risks and outcomes — food insecurity, education, unemployment, housing, and transportation — found that every community Atrium Health serves has significant challenges in those areas, Dr. Cole said. The Community Resource Hub was created to connect individuals and providers to available services.

“It’s our hope for the Community Resource Hub to serve as that immediate lifeline for those in need,” said Loaves & Fishes Executive Director Tina Postel.

Everyone can use the Community Resource Hub

The Community Resource Hub provides access to services in 10 categories — food, housing, goods (such as clothing and furniture), transit, health, money, care (such as child or senior care), education, work, and legal — and quickly identifies programs that may meet your needs.

You can search the database by zip code, keyword, and/or category. To narrow the results, you can filter by service cost, age, veterans status, income and more.

Do you primarily speak or read in a language other than English? The site can be translated into more than 20 different languages, said Dr. Cole. Also  information about supported languages is included in the agency description.

How to navigate the site

• Go to the Community Resource Hub.

• To find services in your area, input your zip code. If you’re searching for nutritious foods for your family, for example, mouse over the Foods category to find programs/services that best fit your need.

• Click on the Description tab for details of the program and how to make contact.

For help using the site, email Community Health.

Got services? List them on the hub

Atrium Health will add organizations that provide free and reduced costs services  — in any category — to make the hub as useful as possible for individuals, nonprofits, providers, social workers and others, said Dr. Cole.

“As we strive to improve health, elevate hope, and advance healing in our communities, the Community Resource Hub will provide tremendous value and serve as the go-to source for community members who may not have otherwise known these services existed right here at home.”

For more information about how your organization can list its services on the Community Resource Hub, contact Community Health.