In an effort to keep everyone who’s interested up to date on the latest South Central Community Action Program news, here are some notes from this week’s Central Staff Meeting:
EAP OFF TO A FAST START: As this winter’s Energy Assistance Program officially began Monday, SCCAP’s staff had already approved 770 Energy Assistance applications that were submitted by mail. The EAP staff in our four-county service area worked hard to get as many applications as possible approved quickly so that low-income households will receive energy assistance as soon as possible. It generally takes 6o to 90 days after SCCAP approves an energy assistance application before a client receives assistance.
Since the winter program began Monday, the EAP staff has been busy with a steady stream of clients. At times, we’ve had almost an overflow crowd in the Monroe County SCCAP office with more applicants in our waiting area than available chairs. After having a 10 percent increase in our number of clients with 5,209 in this program last year, we’re expecting another increase this year.
WEATHERIZATION GETTING IT DONE: The Weatherization program has closed out its FY 08-09 LIHEAP grant by the deadline of Sept. 30 with more than 100 homes receiving energy efficiency improvements. That’s more than the quota of homes required of SCCAP by the State. Weatherization also spent all of the money in its LIHEAP grant, as required. The FY 09-10 grant will be $466,000, which doesn’t include the additional Weatherization money received this year through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
SOME ON SECTION 8 WAIT LIST TO RECEIVE VOUCHERS BEFORE TOO LONG: Following the recent openings of SCCAP’s Section 8 wait list in three counties, Section 8 Coordinator Kathleen Edwards is pulling the applications of those near the top of the wait list in all four counties who will receive Section 8 rental housing subsidy vouchers if they are determined to be eligible for the program. Some of those who are on the wait list have been on there for two years or more, so it will be a big moment when they are approved for a voucher to subsidize their rent.
CIRCLES TO CREATE EMERGENCY FUND: The Circles Initiative has been working on the creation of an emergency fund to be used when Circle Leaders experience problems such as car repairs or housing issues that could become barriers to their progress in making the transition out of poverty. Operation of this fund is expected to be underway within a couple of weeks.
HEAD START IS LOOKING FOR NEW SITE: With the recent approval of a federal grant to add two new classrooms and expand the number of slots for children to attend Head Start year-round, SCCAP is looking for an additional Head Start site. One of the site for the year-round program will be at the Walnut Woods site, off of East Miller Drive. The other site has not yet been identified.
SPANISH CLASSES START TONIGHT: To increase the number of bilingual staff at SCCAP, the Head Start program has put together a weekly Spanish class that will be offered at the agency, starting tonight, for staff who have signed up to participate.
CULTURE TEAM EVENTS AHEAD: The SCCAP Culture Team has put together a staff book sale that will be held the last week in October. Books will cost up to $1. You will be able to turn in 10 of your old books for a $1 credit, so that we can all have some free or low-cost books to read as winter approaches. Also, the team has planned an SCCAP Thanksgiving meal at lunchtime on Nov. 16. The agency will provide the turkey for that celebration, while staff will provide the side dishes. We’ll have more information soon about the book sale and the Thanksgiving meal.