Harwich Considers Creating Human Services Committee

Harwich Town Hall

HARWICH – Harwich selectmen recently discussed the introduction of a Human Services Committee for the town. 

Council on Aging Director Emily Mitchell said that the town currently appropriates money to nonprofit organizations serving town residents via grants. 

She said that usually over a dozen nonprofits apply, and then town staff creates and presents a recommendation to the board.

Instead of the current system, she recommended the creation of a standing committee to regularly award the grants.

“On the Cape, 12 other towns—so 13 total including Harwich—operate a similar grant program. The 12 others do so with a standing Human Services Committee,” said Mitchell. 

“I would recommend that we follow the same model. I think that provides some continuity that the staff model doesn’t offer. It would allow for more in-depth review of applications and review of the programs themselves, and I think most importantly it provides the opportunity for public input.”

She said that with the current staff model, there is little to no room for public comment in the process, where a standing committee would give residents someplace to direct input. 

The committee could have between 5 and 9 people, a number still being considered by town officials. 

The board was in support of creation of the committee, and will vote on it at a later time after some changes to the initial draft have been made.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.

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