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Navajo County expands access to social services with online portal

Navajo County

Show Low, AZ

Poverty and unequal access to government services are ongoing challenges for residents across Navajo County. To expand access to social services, the Northeast Arizona Community Resources Network deployed an open-source online portal.

Topics Covered

Civic Technology
Economic Inequality
Fiscal Uncertainty
Customer Service
Process Improvement


General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Public Private Partnership

Project Status

In Progress/Under Construction since 2020

Gov Champion

Northeast Arizona Community Resources Network

Problem Addressed

The social services system within Navajo County lacked a systematic method for determining resident usage or eligibility of services, preventing the development of programs aimed at reducing the County's poverty rate.

Navajo County is a large, rural area with few jobs and struggles with very high levels of poverty. While there are a number of local government and non-profit social services agencies dedicated to helping people in fiscal crisis, the case managers at these agencies lacked the ability to generate a complete profile of their clients, understanding what services they were already accessing and what services they were eligible to receive. People often had to travel from agency to agency to get the help they needed. Success or failure was often based on the case manager's knowledge of programs and experience working with people in poverty. This was frustrating for both case managers and clients and resulted in the inefficient and ineffective use of resources. Decision-makers also lacked the information and insights needed to develop comprehensive programs for helping people end their cycle of poverty and reduce Navajo County’s poverty rate.

Solutions Used

County social service organizations can now access real-time information on what services residents receive and are eligible for, enabling case managers to help more residents escape poverty.

NACRN (Northeastern Arizona Community Resource Network) developed HIGGLE to meet the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) objectives of leveraging the power of technology to reduce rural poverty and make it scalable to other communities across the state.

HIGGLE is a cloud-based system that is simple for case managers to use on any device, whether in the office or in the field. HIGGLE provides case managers with accurate information on the universe of benefits and services and how to apply for them and complete client profiles. Case managers log in, find an existing client profile or build a new one and enter qualifying information. HIGGLE takes the guesswork out of service coordination through a simplified universal intake process and referral management program thus ensuring individuals receive all qualified services. The HIGGLE application compares client information with benefit eligibility criteria, identifies all matches, and provides the application and instructions to apply. With HIGGLE, clients receive complete and accurate information and case managers are better able to help more people rise above poverty with comprehensive services.



Improved customer experience for people in crisis seeking assistance.


Enabled case managers to easily match customers to the most helpful and relevant benefits, thus improving residents' quality of life and future prospects.


More efficient and effective use of government benefits and services


Increased collaboration across organizations to understand regional trends and reduce the poverty rate.


Time savings for caseworkers that allow them to focus on human support and connection rather than online research.

Something Unique

Working Backwards is a mechanism for innovation focused on meeting the needs of customers. The process creates deliverables, including a Press Release, Frequently Asked Questions and a Visual. The process is designed to answer questions about the customer and problem to ensure developers build the right solution.

Who Should Consider

The NACRN tool is most applicable to social service agencies, NGO's, Workforce Investment Boards and other organizations that deliver benefits and manage cases.

Last Updated

Mar 23rd, 2022

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