A report on ways to improve human services in Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park has recommended that city and county agencies do a better job of letting residents know what's offered and where.

In presenting the report, Karen Smith, chairman of the regional Coalition for Human Services, told the Manassas City Council Monday night that "The services are there, but people don't really know about them because of all of the coming and going," Smith said, referring to the transitional nature of residents in the Prince William area.

More than 200 people from both the private and public sectors attended a major conference on human needs May 9. The report was a result of that conference.

Services are offered through numerous agencies, such as the regional Community Services Board, the Prince William Health Department and each jurisdiction's social services, as well as nonprofit organizations, such as ACTS and SERVE.

The report made several recommendations, including the hiring of a public information officer to raise residents' awareness of community resources and an ombudsman on human services for each jurisdiction to investigate citizen concerns and complaints. The recommendations evolved from "the most prevalent" ideas that came up in discussions at the conference, according to Smith.

Although the jurisidictions are all facing increasing budget restrictions, conference members did not tackle funding issues. "The whole purpose of the summit was to start thinking along the same wave length" in terms of the community's and agencies' general needs, explained Judith Hays, the Manassas director of social services.

Other recommendations are:

Create a position responsible for developing public-private partnerships as well as helping assess agency needs and plan delivery of services, similar to the community partnership manager established by Manassas after last year's summit.

Form a multicultural information service to help residents with language barriers. Manassas's Jennie Dean Elementary School recently opened a Center for Cultural Exchange, which provides translation of information on human services into Spanish and Vietnamese.

Establish a single entry point in each jurisdiction to all human services to provide residents easier access to those services. In Prince William, the Human Services Commission, appointed by the Board of County Supervisors, is studying ways of reorganizing its services to avoid duplication of services, which often confuses residents searching for the appropriate agency.

Incorporate information about human services into area schools' curriculum and develop more volunteer opportunities for youths.

Develop a regional low-cost transportation system. Prince William County and Manassas Park have been studying plans for an intra-jurisdictional bus service.

Declare an annual "Human Services Day" and encourage individuals and businesses to dedicate a day to working for the community. For example, encourage local restaurants to contribute 10 percent of each tab to a human services program.

Conduct periodical human needs summits and make human services a priority.

"I think everybody has it {human services} as a priority," Smith said, "but I don't think it's always visible."

While local officials appeared impressed by the conference members' work and recommendations, those involved in the summit remained skeptical that any of the recommendations that cost money would be immediately implemented, particulary in light of cuts in state funding to the localities. However, at the Prince William supervisors' meeting last week, Kathleen K. Seefeldt (D-Occoquan) asked that the board's Human Service Commission review the recommendations.