FY 2003 Poverty Elimination Stories Alabama • Tammy, a mother of four, went to Community Action while her divorce was pending. She had no job and no income. She was placed on the agency’s payroll. She supervises the Senior Meal Site four hours per day, five days per week at $6.30 per hour. She also works part time as a Church Custodian at $5.75 per hour. The community action agency has a contract with the Area Agency on Aging to cover Tammy’s salary and other program expenses. • Sara, a high school dropout, had been laid off from her job. Sara was not receiving unemployment compensation and had no income. Sara has a two-year-old daughter. She went to Community Action for help with her power bill, which she received. Sara was encouraged to enroll in GED. She did and passed the GED test. Through the Job Placement Program, Sara was referred to several businesses that were hiring. Sara is now working full time. • Dora went to Community Action needing assistance in paying her gas and power bills. She was encouraged to enroll at Central Alabama Community College. Dora enrolled and completed business and computer training. Through the job placement program, she is now working at the Department of Human Resources. Dora has health insurance. She no longer needs supportive services from Community Action or food stamps. She is self- sufficient. Alaska • Homeward Bound program. John is 47 year-old Inupiat from Little Diomede Island in Alaska. John has been drinking for 23 years and started drinking at the age of 14. He grew up in an area and time when drinking was a way of life for both young and old. He relates stories about being awakened in the middle of the night to go to the store to get another bottle for his parents. If he stayed awake until his parents passed out he would finish the bottle and no one ever found out. His parents thought they finished the bottle the night before. Having access to alcohol this way made it easy for him to hide his drinking. He managed to get in trouble with the law repeatedly over the years and almost all the charges were related to alcohol. He married and had a daughter, but lost his wife and daughter due to his drinking. John tried many times over the years to stop drinking, but even with the help of both in-patient and outpatient treatment programs, the longest he was able to stop for was six months. He was homeless in Anchorage for seven years before coming to Homeward Bound the first time, and was in and out of the program several times. After one discharge for bringing alcohol into the facility, he was required to complete treatment before he could return, and he decided to go to Hudson Lake Recovery Camp near Copper Center. He returned from treatment and said he was going to turn his life around—and he did! John got the information and wrote a grant application to help him complete a course as a Computer Electronics Assistant at Charter College. He has maintained his sobriety for more than two years, has a job that he has held for over a year, and has been in his own apartment about the same length of time. During this time he has managed to keep himself stable even though he lost one brother who died while drunk in a motel room and another brother who died in a fire back home. He has been an inspiration and an example for other Homeward Bound residents. He is very honest and open about his former life, stating that he has only himself to blame for all the years he lost to alcohol. He is a powerful speaker who is able to honestly convey the experience of being a street alcoholic - the dangers, the hopelessness, and the loneliness. John was an accomplished carving artist before he lost himself in alcohol. This year he began reviving that skill, and now he is able to supplement the income from his job by carving jewelry from ivory, bone, and baleen. He has a ready market for his work. John’s life has changed a great deal in the past 26 months: he has achieved sobriety, completed a vocational college program, re-established himself as an artist, started to rebuild a relationship with his daughter, moved into his own place, and serves as a powerful example to his peers of what can be accomplished through the assistance of the Rural Alaska Community Action Program’s Homeward Bound program, which serves the chronic alcoholic homeless population in Anchorage with matching funding support from CSBG. • Child Development Center. In September of 2002, the Rural Alaska Community Action Program’s Child Development Center enrolled young Michaela into our preschool classroom. Michaela was the youngest of 4 children. Her mother had just moved up to Alaska with no other family and no job. At the time of Michaela’s enrollment, her mother was living in section 8 housing and was receiving Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP) support through the department of public assistance. Michaela’s mother was trying to find a job to support herself and her four children, including child care fees. Michaela’s mother also needed quality care for her young daughter to feel secure enough to search and obtain a full-time job to support her family. After a month of job searching, Michaela’s mother obtained a position with the state of Alaska that provided a livable wage. During this time of transition, the Child Development Center worked with Michaela’s mother to set up an installment plan for her child care fees so she was able to pay other living expenses. Michaela was thriving in her new environment. With support and guidance from the Center staff, she received pre-kindergarten skills to help prepare her to enter into kindergarten in the fall of 2003. In September 2003, Michaela successfully transitioned into kindergarten with reading, letter recognition, and sound socialization skills. Michaela’s mother has maintained her job and has already received a wage increase. With the Community Services Block Grant funds which supplement the Child Development Center’s fee-based income, the program was able to work out payment arrangements with Michaela’s mother. It is also able to better train its staff, provide lower teacher-to-children ratios (which enabled Michaela to receive individualized care), and to maintain accredited status with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) which contributed to Michaela’s mother’s piece of mind that her daughter was receiving quality care. Overall this enabled Michaela’s mother to be successful in her job to bring her out of poverty status. Arizona • Three years ago a young family of four (husband, wife and two children) entered the Dreamcatcher Transitional Housing Program. This program provides up to two years of subsidized housing with supportive services including case manager, advocacy and coordination of identified services with other providers. The family struggled for more than six months and finally left the programs. The issues that they there were unable to deal with included severe drug abuse by both adults, the husband’s disability (he is quadriplegic), lack of adequate parenting skills and domestic violence. Last year the husband contacted the agency asking for assistance because he was homeless. His wife had left him, taking the two children with her. She had returned to her family, but continued to abuse drugs. He had joined a church and began attending Narcotics Anonymous to gain support for his sobriety. Working with the case manager, a comprehensive case plan was developed. The case manager assisted him to locate a wheelchair accessible apartment that offered subsidized rent that was affordable with his SSI income. The young man indicated that he wanted to do something with his life because he felt that he had been given a second chance and he wanted his children to be proud of him. At first he thought that he would become a Wal-Mart greeter and that would give him some additional income. After many meetings with the case manager, he decided to attend Maricopa Skills Center to gain some basic education. It is his dream to become a counselor to help others combat emotional and addiction problems. • Thea, a single mother, with only a high school education, was struggling to support herself and her 7 year old daughter. Thea came to community services because her daughter’s recent illness had caused her to miss several days of work and as a result she was in danger of being evicted. We were able to provide her with eviction prevention assistance and we enrolled her in our case management program. She and her case worker did an assessment of Thea’s needs, and discussed Thea’s goals. Together, they developed a plan to enroll Thea in the County’s career development program, identified resources that would move her into more affordable housing, enrolled her daughter in and after-school program that would cut her child care costs in half. Thea and her case worker were involved over the next 6 months in follow up sessions which helped to provide Thea with the support she needed to continue moving forward with her plan to move out of poverty. Today, Thea is enrolled full-time at Coconino Community College. She has received loans and grants and is living in affordable housing. She is scheduled to receive her degree in May of 2005. At that time Thea plans to continue her education at Northern Arizona University. Thea stated it was the support of her case worker who provided her with the incentive to continue to move towards her goal of obtaining an education and eventually seeking employment that would continue to provide for her and her daughter. CSBG was the primary funding source for Cocnino County's process of stabilizing individuals and families in Coconino County. It is the foundation for maintaining the Case Worker Staff who provide case management services to over 100 families and individuals each month. • Darlene, one of our best success stories, came to Community Services over 3 years ago. She had lost her job after being arrested for drug use. She had two teen-age daughters and had just received an eviction notice and utility shut-off. We helped Darlene with her rent and utilities and enrolled her in our case management program. After the assessment of needs and goals, Darlene and her case worker developed a plan to get Darlene back on her feet, and with the use of additional community resources were able to assist her for an additional two months while she obtained a job. Darlene called us about two months after her initial interview with the case worker and asked if she could do her required community service with our agency, giving the reason that we had helped her and had provided her support when no one else would even talk to her. She stated she wanted to give back and belong to an organization that cared about people. Her case worker obtained the necessary permission to have Darlene volunteer with us, and Darlene became one of our most reliable and dedicated volunteers. Darlene did so well and was so committed to turning her life around that we hired her as a temporary employee to assist us in the reception area of our office. She has done such a remarkable job that we hired her as an office receptionist and she is working her way to becoming an Eligibility Worker with our department. CSBG Funding was the primary funding source that allowed this success to occur. Arkansas • The S family resides in White County. Mr. S is disabled and Mrs. S has breast cancer. The annual income for this family is $12,292 for a family of four. There are two teen-age daughters in the home. Community Action Program for Central Arkansas (CAPCA) was able to weatherize their home performing the following measures: air sealing, installing energy saving light bulbs, hot water pipe insulation, a new steel insulated door unit, attic insulation, storm windows and carbon monoxide detectors. An amount of $1,308 worth of materials was used for the measures. The blower door reading prior to the work was 3800@50; while after weatherizing the home, the blower door reading was 1800@50. This significant decrease in the reading will make for a more energy efficient home and the family will be able to save money on their utility costs, thus having more disposable income to use for other household necessities. Mrs. S’s comments were “we thank CAPCA for their quality of work and their sincere attitude. At all times they were professional. We are very grateful for the work and the people who installed it.” Because of the assistance provided by the Community Action Program for Central Arkansas, the S family benefits from lower energy costs, while having more disposable income to use for medication and other family necessities. • Ms. D came to the Pine Bluff Jefferson County Economic Opportunity Commission (PB- JCEOC), on October 9, 2002, anticipating assistance with placement in gainful employment and child care services. Ms. D emphasized she is a high school graduate; however, she realized she needed further education and/or job training to land employment that would prove sufficient to meet her monthly bills. Ms. D is a single mother of a toddler boy. She and her son live in her mother’s home. After signing on case management, Ms. D was referred to the Literacy Council of Jefferson County and was required to complete a 12-week course of job training before she could be placed in employment. Upon completion of her 12-week training course, she was placed in full- time employment at Brookshire’s Grocery Store #242. She and her son have since moved into their new apartment. She has also been awarded a voucher for childcare for her son, as of July 7, 2003; thus, enabling her to use the monies that she paid her mother for childcare – to be utilized to obtain dependable transportation. Finally, Ms. D contacted her case manager to inform her that she is presently in training for a different position in customer relations, and to express gratitude for building a relationship with that “special someone” who took an interest in, and provided encouragement for, the betterment of mankind. Thanks to PB-JCEOC’s case management activities, Ms. D has gained self-sufficiency, adequate child care, a new apartment, and renewed self- confidence. • Ms. A has been accepted into the University of Arkansas College of Medicine (UAMS) where she will study general pediatrics. Southeast Arkansas Community Action Corporation is very proud of Ms. A, who is a five time scholarship recipient of the Bradley County Single Parent Scholarship Fund award. Ms. A was chosen by the Bradley County Single Parent Scholarship Fund Board of Directors to “Showcase” because of all her achievements. She is completing her education despite obstacles. She also has an outstanding grade point average and will graduate magna cum laude in May from the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM). Ms. A is a biology major with a minor in chemistry, a member of the Biology Club, Medical Science Club, Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority and Alpha Chi. She was awarded the UAM Alumni Scholarship, the William and Anna Hill Scholarship, and the Vann Bins Scholarship. Ms. A’s plans are to become a pediatrician and set up practice locally. She already has plans in mind for her “children friendly” clinic. She said, “I want to bring medical knowledge and understanding to Southeast Arkansas because I want to give back to my community.” Ms. A has two daughters. When asked how the scholarships have helped her she replied, “they have helped in transportation cost to and from school, clothing and other miscellaneous things that other scholarships do not help with. They have been vital in assuring that I can afford the expense of commuting to school.” Because of the assistance provided by Southeast Arkansas Community Action Corporation, Ms. A has continued her education. She plans to become a pediatrician and serve children in Southeast Arkansas. Colorado • In Pitkin County (on the western slope of Colorado) a woman who owned her own accounting firm was diagnosed with cancer. Because she did not have insurance and the cancer treatments made her unable to continue to working she eventually lived out of her car. Through the Salvation Army and the Pitkin County Department of Social Services they were able to provide her assistance through SSDI, and worked with Catholic Charities and Link Up to provide additional resources to assist her to find a bedroom to rent in a home in the area and to cover the transportation costs to Denver for treatment. The client is now able to re-establish her business, slowly, with two clients. The agencies that have worked with this client stated that her determination to succeed and become self-sufficient again is going to move this individual out of poverty. • Boulder County has a program to work with the Latino youth in conjunction with the local school district and the University of Colorado Latino sorority who provides mentors. The target group for this program is Latino Youth and parents of Latino’s to encourage the youth to further their education. This program builds self-esteem for the youth and provides more parent involvement in the community. The Boulder County was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming response from the University of Colorado Latino Sorority of young women who volunteered to be mentors to the participants. They felt this program was successful in that the Latino Youth are being exposed to the benefits of education and discovering that Latino's do go on to college. Several of the participants are planning completing high school and furthering their education. • In the southwest area of the state a homeless family of five was living in a motel room when they began participating in the transitional housing program partially funded through CSBG. The dad found a job as a manager trainee at McDonalds but had to commute 100 miles a day. He is now in charge of three stores closer to home. The mother has enrolled at the local college to get a degree in Business Administration. Over the past two years this family has worked on learning how to budget and save enough money for a down payment on their own home. It was through this program that this family could move from homelessness to homeownership. Connecticut • One customer arrived at BCO after losing his job of 27 years with a local employer who closed and moved all the positions to Mexico. This man is a victim and a dislocated worker. As his unemployment compensation began to run low he became progressively more nervous especially over the loss of the health insurance. He did not possess a resume or had conducted a job interview in over 27 years. BCO staff assisted him in the development of the resume and in developing successful interview and job search techniques. BCO was able to arrange for an interview and enrolled the individual in our On the Job Training Program. He completed the OJT in 6 months and has been hired full time, with fringe benefits, with the company. BCO staff continues to conduct follow up activities. • Community Services: This program provides case management services and linkages to food, clothing, employment services, weatherization and fuel assistance as well as referrals to other appropriate supportive services to assist low-income people in obtaining the skills and tools needed to progress toward self-sufficiency. Example: A single mother came into the program for assistance with food. Through case management the client was assisted in securing part-time employment at a deli. She was also referred to Head Start for her child. The client was also enrolled in budgeting classes and the NU Start Program to receive help with her utility bill. She also attended computer classes and obtained a certificate in Word and Excel. As a result of building her employment skills she was able to obtain living wage employment with full benefits as a secretary in an insurance company. She is now off food stamps and able to maintain self-sufficiency. • Having a dream is wonderful. Achieving the dream is even better. Through a partnership with CTE of Stamford, Access Agency of Willimantic, and Neon of Norwalk, ABCD has offered the IDA Program (Individual Development Account) to assist individuals and families with achieving their goals for first time homeownership, the pursuit of post secondary education, or the startup of a small business venture. Victoria S. Giddiens realized her potential to grasp that dream of becoming a first time homeowner. Upon entering the program in 2001, Victoria exemplified a very focused and determined attitude completing her required financial education classes in a very short time period. “The program has taught me many other lessons on finances and survival,” she says. Recalling the inevitable barriers encountered as a single parent raising three children, Victoria said, “ There are very difficult moments. It was very difficult to find the extra monies for homeownership.” The IDA offered a viable solution through the one to one dollar match of savings needed to offset the balance needed for down payment and closing costs. With patience, guidance, and determination, Victoria realized her dream in 2003, when she purchased a two-family home in Bridgeport. Who says dreams don’t come true? In the words of Victoria, “ The dream of owning my own home has become a reality. My family and I are forever grateful.” Delaware • SB joined the Family Resource Program approximately 2 years ago. She entered the program with an employment goal with the idea of a career change. With the help of her employer’s Tuition Reimbursement Plan, she was able to obtain schooling and earn her certification as a licensed Insurance Agent. With joint efforts of the Family Resource Program and Habitat for Humanity, she was accepted into their homeownership program this year. To obtain their 0% interest home loan, SB will labor “sweat equity” into her home. As a result, SB’s monthly mortgage payment will be an affordable $250 to $350 per month and will no longer need government subsidies! • When the single mother of two boys entered the MTW Program, she was working for the Children’s Place store part time at the Dover Mall earning $416 per month. She left there, went to work for Carmike Cinema Theater part time earning $458 per month. While working part time jobs, she was attending college full time at Del State University to obtain her degree in Pediatric Nursing. I assisted he by obtaining financial assistance through the Delaware State Housing Authority’s Scholarship Program so her classes and materials would be paid for. She struggled to keep her bills paid with the small amount of income she received each month. This single mom kept appointments so we could go over her budget to make sure that she was on point each month and making progress on her goals. She has stuck to the budget plan for 4 years. After two years of college, she decided to go into the Criminal Justice Field. She is now studying Criminal Justice and would like to work for the FBI. At this time, she is working for Aid in Dover as a youth Counselor with teens that have criminal records. This single mother now earns $870 per month. She will graduate from college in May 2004. She will have completed her 4 years of college and will receive her Bachelors of Science Degree. • S came to Hope House II after fleeing a very abusive relationship. S was admitted to Hope House II in June 2001, with no income. She was motivated by fear for her physical safety and the desire to build a life for herself and her infant daughter. Because she had no income, S applied for public benefits and began receiving a TANF check, food stamps and Medicaid. She filed for, and received sole custody of her baby. She protected her daughter from any visitation by her criminally violent father. She sought child support and a legal order was written. Most important to her desire for self-sufficiency was her search for employment. S knew that she needed temporary assistance, but her goal was to make good use of the state assistance for as brief a time as possible. She had fled from another state and had to build from almost nothing. She found the inner strength to undertake the tasks. S arranged for purchase of care and began a temporary job in August 2001, as an administrative assistant in a non-profit agency. Her dedication to her job paid off when, only one month later, S was offered a full time, permanent position with benefits. In order to care for herself, S participated in a domestic violence support group. She secured Protection from Abuse order and applied for transitional housing. She moved into a transitional apartment in September 2001. When the owners of her apartment building were looking for a new manager, they tapped S. In addition to receiving some additional income, S now lives in the transitional apartment rent-free. S has been continuously employed in the same full time position since July 2001. She says the time in the case management program has helped her to heal and has helped her to get back on her feet in many ways. S likes the human services aspect of both her full time and housing management positions. S continues to work on new goals. Permanent housing is among them. She has participated in a First Time Homebuyers program and has account. S receives no public benefits and is grateful not to need them. All activities mentioned above were funded completely by the CSBG through case management services. District of Columbia • Healthy Babies, "Effective Black Parenting Program" - This project is funded partially by CSBG. The funds helped to initiate the "Effective Black Parenting Program." From the Files of the Healthy Babies Project: A parent spoke in class one day about her experience as "a child raising a child." She was thirteen years old when she had her first child and at twenty-three years old, is now pregnant with her second child. She spoke about how difficult it was for her, and how she had no support from her family to raise her son. She also spoke at length about her own childhood, where she felt she was abandoned by her mother because her mother was never around for her. The parent described how painful that was for her and she is still dealing with that issue and is trying to do a better job with her second child than she did with her first. She believes the parenting classes are helping her as she has seen a change in how she communicates with her son and how he now responds to her. She values the new techniques she is learning in class and is grateful for the advice from the other parents in the class. • Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), "Community Support Services Program" - This program is funded partially by CSBG. It funds two bilingual caseworkers. From the Files of CARECEN: Ms. X came to the United States in 1983, fleeing the war in El Salvador. For two decades she has lived in the United States under a series of temporary statuses, all the while haunted by the fear that she could some day be deported back to El Salvador, despite having two U.S. citizen children. In May 2000, CARECEN helped Ms. X apply for benefits under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act, a special piece of legislation designed to help people like Ms. X. After waiting over three years, Ms. X finally received her interview with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the INS). CARECEN provided legal representation and translation services at the interview and Ms. X was granted her permanent residency. Now, Ms. X can look forward to the future with confidence, knowing that she will be able to continue providing for her family economically, as well as emotionally. Ms. X is also relieved of the financial burden of paying $120.00 every year to renew her work permit. • Dance Institute of Washington (DIW) "Creative Communities" - This program is funded partially by CSBG. It funds Outreach Coordinators and portions of several staff positions critical to the success of the program. From the Files of DIW: Lana enrolled in DIW's Summer Performing Arts Camp. It was her first time in a DIW program. She participated well, but did not appear overly enthusiastic about camp. She missed the last week of camp, because she had to "get ready for school," according to the other children. They also said she had moved off of the property (public housing), to live with her mother, so it was a surprise to all that she showed up during the second week of the Fall program, holding a well-worn enrollment form in her hand. Since the second week, Lana is often the first student to arrive. She tends to be a bit quiet when she first arrives, but staff makes sure they tell her how pleased they are that she is there. The more she is encouraged, the more talkative she becomes, talking about her family, her favorite foods or colors. It is nice to hear her talk and sound happy. Lana is a very hard working student. She does not immediately grasp all the steps taught in class, but she does not give up. Like many of the other students, she becomes frustrated; but unlike the other students, she does not sulk in the corner, remove herself from the group, or act out negatively. Instead, she seeks out individual help from the assistant teachers in the class. And unlike many other students who seem unwilling to work slowly until they have mastered new steps, Lana is willing to work slowly. She patiently works with the teachers until she feels she can rejoin the group. Lana is exhibiting more self-confidence as the session progresses. Her positive attitude before, during, and after class indicates that she enjoys participating in the program. She quickly joins group activities. Staff can see the benefit of her hard work and patience with difficult steps. In recent weeks, she has asked her teachers to watch her at the beginning of class as she demonstrates what was learned the week before, and is sure to mention that she practiced the steps at home. Staff is confident that Lana will continue to progress and will proudly display her newly learned dance skills in the final class demonstration on December 19th. Hawaii • M., a 37 year old single mother recently moved to Maui with her 5-year old son. With no means of support or income, she had survived solely on a single credit card with which she was able to rent a hotel room and a vehicle for about a month. She was later invited to stay in a small room in a friend's unit, but only after a short while, she had to move out because her friend's landlord disapproved of the arrangement. She sought assistance from Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. (MEO), the local Community Action Agency serving Maui County. MEO's Maui to Work program assisted her in obtaining a second hand vehicle, which not only provided her a means of transportation, but served also as her and her son's dwelling as well. The agency staff also assisted her with obtaining needed assessments and proper services for her child, who suffers from serious psychological problems, which had prevented him from attending school, and thus preventing her from obtaining and maintaining employment. The child is now receiving proper treatment and therapy and is in kindergarten. As for M., with agency staff help, she actively sought employment and was able to have her vehicle repaired. Recently, she was placed in subsidized employment as a full-time WEB designer and earns $12/hour. She also currently is enrolled in classes at the local community college, and is residing in a low-income housing project. • S., a single father, and his 3-year old son were homeless and living on the beach. He had part-time work as a security guard that helped support them, but it was not enough to get them into a stable housing situation. He had to rely on relatives to watch his son while at work. S. sought assistance with Kauai Economic Opportunity, Inc. (KEO), the local Community Action Agency serving Kauai County. Because S. was able and willing to work, the agency determined him to be a good candidate for its Transitional Housing Program and moved S. and his son into one of its refurbished town home units. As part of the program, S. enrolled in and attended Life Skills Training and actively sought more stable employment with the help of agency staff. A delivery company hired S. on a full- time basis which also enabled S. to enroll his son into the agency's Early Learning Center. S. has been paying his rent and child care payments on a timely basis. Presently, he is halfway through the twenty four month transitional timeline, and with the help of agency staff, he has applied for HUD Section 8 housing and other affordable housing programs in order to continue his move towards self-sufficiency. • G., a 40 year old widower raising a 16 year old son and supporting his immigrant parents- in-law, had lost his job when the sugar industry in rural Hawaii went out of business. For a time, he was unable to find a job in this isolated and particularly poverty stricken area. As a result he applied to receive welfare benefits. As part of his work requirement, he was referred to the Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC) -- the local Community Action Agency serving the Island of Hawaii -- where he performed clerical and maintenance work for the agency. During his time at HCEOC, G. enrolled in its Employment Core Services program where he participated in Personal Development Workshops and updated his employability skills. After one year, with the assistance of the agency, he found full time employment as a machine shop supervisor in a local macadamia nut processing company, earning $40,000/year. He is now able to provide for his family and move them out of poverty. Idaho • A father of four came to South Central Community Action Partnership after separating from his wife. He and his children were staying in the basement of a friend's house. He was becoming concerned about the winter months as the basement was not heated and there were eleven people living in this house. He wanted to move to Twin Falls, as his children were in Twin Falls schools and Head Start, and his job was in Twin Falls. He also had no transportation. The family enrolled in Families in Transition Housing Program and Family development. He had been married for seven years and was a little overwhelmed with the changes in his life. He was struggling with the separation, attending weekly Twelve Step meetings, and trying to make sure the children made it to their dentist appointments, therapy, Girl Scouts and other activities. With Family Development, he set goals with realistic timeframes and followed through. He gained control of his finances under control with the help SCCAP's Financial Counseling Program, paying off his high interest loans and maintaining regular payments on remaining debts. SCCAP also coordinated the following resources to help the family: Idaho Bar Association, Twin Falls County, Volunteer Lawyer Association, a local attorney, Health and Welfare--Mental Health, Idaho Child Care, College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls School District, Girl Scouts, Salvation Army, Pharmacy Program, Divorce Care, Divorced Dads and more. SCCAP helped him find a construction job and get the appropriate clothing and steel-toed boots. One month after gaining the job, he worked with Family Development to locate a small apartment he could afford. Emergency shelter funds assisted him with the first month's rent, and SCCAP coordinated payment arrangements with the landlord for the deposit. He was also provided with food and referrals for furniture and household goods from St. Vincent DePaul's. Since his car was not working, staff secured a donated bicycle that he could ride to work until his car could be repaired. As of this writing, he remains employed full-time, has his children, has maintained his apartment, and has not needed any assistance in over six months. Although driven by CSBG funds, other partners' resources contributed to the success of the family, as well. • "Donna" was referred to Western Idaho Community Action Partnership's Family Development Program from Head Start. Her ex-husband was in prison at the time. During the summer he returned to the area and established contact with Donna and her daughter. At the beginning of the relationship, he was good to them, but as the summer went on, he became abusive. Donna applied for custody of the child and before a court hearing could be scheduled, he was returned to prison for parole violations. Later that year, Donna came back in to ask for assistance in purchasing a house. WICAP worked with her to clear up some bad debts, maintain employment and improve her budgeting skills. After two and a half years, she was able to qualify to purchase a home for $62,000. She is now looking for a home. This is a continuing effort by Head Start and CSBG staff, along with other community organizations to help Donna sustain the confidence and self-assurance that has transformed her life. • "Glen", who was living in a group home for disabled adults, contacted El-Ada 5 years ago, seeking Family Development services to help him achieve more independence. Family Development staff assisted him in getting control of his own finances, setting goals and achieving milestones he never thought possible since he became disabled. Family Development staff assisted him in preparing and presenting an application for a home ownership program. In February 2004 he was able to purchase a home of his own and will live independently with the continued assistance of the Family Development Program. Illinois • Evett is a single mother of three children who often utilized the programs at BCMW Community Services, Inc. to make ends meet. She worked at a local motel in housekeeping; however, they could not give her a consistent number of hours. The BCMW CSBG Resource Specialist worked with Evett on a marketing plan and now Evett owns a successful cleaning service. • Greg was 49 when he had his first stroke. This husband and father of four had no idea he even had a health problem and was now faced with doctors telling him he would never walk again, let alone be able to work. Having two children in college and now work was just the tip of the iceberg: Greg had no heath insurance. Not knowing where to turn, a family member told Greg to contact the local Embarras River Basin Agency (ERBA) office. Through the CSBG Resource and Referral Program, he was given contacts for the Department of Human Services Department of Rehabilitation and the local Farm Resource Center. ERBA also helped ease the burden by providing his younger children with backpacks filled with their required school supplies through the CSBG School Supply Program. Greg and his family went six months without receiving any income. They survived this terrible time with the support of family, friends, and CSBG Community Resources. Greg and his family have handled the transitions that have taken place. Greg is receiving full monthly disability benefits plus Medicare and is even walking with only a cane. • Rockford Individual Development Program. This internal CSBG Program is an innovative program nationally and we are pleased to be involved with this assets-building project. Through financial literacy and asset building savings accounts, low-income working families will have the opportunity to build assets through homeownership, small business or education. This project is a huge step forward in permanently moving these families out of poverty. In addition we will be opening the financial literacy portion of the project to other agencies in the upcoming year. Indiana • Community Action of Northeast Indiana: The agency’s Family Independence Facilitator (FIF) first became acquainted with a client when she came in for assistance with utility bills. The client had many challenges including being mildly mentally handicapped, and she couldn’t read or write. The client was depressed, and had previously tried to commit suicide. As a child, she had been physically and sexually abused by her father. She also had few teeth, and those remaining were decayed. The client was referred for counseling and for LEAP (Literacy Empowering and Advocating Project). The client has been learning to read and write, and is now able to use a computer to play word and letter games to improve her skills. The client was also referred for dental work, and was able to obtain dentures. In addition to learning critical skills that will help her to become self-sufficient, there has been significant improvement in the client’s self-esteem. She has made great strides toward reaching her goal of improving her life. CSBG funds provided the agency support services, including space, utilities, and management staff. • Lincoln Hills Development Corporation: A handicapped client who was working part- time at a local race course applied for energy assistance and medical services. She had been unable to find full-time employment with benefits. In addition to the above services, she received assistance in revising her resume to promote her skills, and received on-going job referrals. Phone service was provided to assist her in making necessary contacts to enhance her job search. She also was linked to a new project designed to provide help to the handicapped job seeker. As a result of the services, she obtained full time employment with benefits. In fact, she is now an Employment Specialist, helping others to achieve full-time employment. CSBG funds provided the agency support services, including space, utilities, and management staff. • Northwest Indiana Community Action Corp.: One of the families participating in the Family Development Program was assessed using the program matrix, and determined to be “in crisis”. The family was not functioning well in several key areas. They had no household income, and lived in subsidized housing. They had seven children, two of whom were in foster care due to Child Protection issues. During her interview, it was determined that she had some disabilities, and she was unaware that she may be eligible for Social Security or Supplemental Security income. The family was assisted in applying for these benefits and was able to secure an annual income of $36,000 as a result. The Family Development Program is supported solely by CSBG funding. Iowa • Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. (UDMO) (Service categories addressed: employment, education, income management, housing, emergency services, nutrition, linkages, self-sufficiency, and health) A 26 year-old woman, and her three children (girls aged 8 and 5, boy age 4) arrived at the local outreach office in February 2003. They had no home, no money, no food, no clothing and little self-esteem. The family was so afraid of the abusive husband/father that they had run away from their home in Nebraska. The mother thought that her mother and stepfather, who lived in the area, would let them stay at their home until they were able to relocate. To the family’s surprise, they were turned away. The outreach staff immediately went into action and began by finding the family a rent-subsidized apartment. The outreach center paid the rent, negotiated the deposit to a lower amount, and moved the family in the same day. The funds for the apartment came from client service money raised by the outreach staff. The outreach staff then assisted the mother with filling out the Iowa Department of Human Services’ applications for financial assistance – Family Investment Program ($426 month) – food stamps, and medical coverage. The next step was to help the family with household furnishings and clothing. With the assistance from the local radio station, the outreach staff was able to address the community about this family’s situation. The community’s response was overwhelming. In less than a week, the family had most of their needed household furnishings – furniture, supplies, and clothing. The outreach staff was also able to provide clothing, coats, groceries, and hygiene products. The children received school supplies that were donated during last fall’s Back to School drive. Shortly after the family settled in, the mother was able to secure a 30-hour per week job and was attending a support group for domestic abuse victims. She was referred to Domestic Abuse by the outreach staff. The two older children were doing well in their classes at school – both had mentors assisting them. The four-year old boy started attending Head Start classes and also classes at the Disability Learning Center. The family has continued to do well and is becoming somewhat active in the community. The children are also attending Sunday school. By April the mother had signed up for Certified Nurse’s Aide classes at the local college (the outreach office paid for her books and tests - $150). After 26 weeks working and attending classes she was able to complete the classes and is now a Certified Nursing Assistant at the local nursing home. The family continues to do extremely well. UDMO will assist the family this year with LIHEAP funds and Christmas gifts. CSBG provides funds that maintain the UDMO outreach centers. Without CSBG funding these centers would cease to exist. The outreach staff has a wonderful relationship with all of the provider agencies in each county. The UDMO staff continues to work in a spirit of collaboration with providers to form community partnerships within the communities to alleviate the conditions and causes of poverty. Programs offered by outreach staff are neither welfare nor entitlements, but are services to fill the gaps during existing crises. The outreach staff provides access to the opportunities people need to improve their lives. • North Iowa Community Action Organization (NICAO) (Service categories addressed: housing, nutrition, self-sufficiency, and health) An elderly woman (V), living on her family farm, was referred to North Iowa Community Action’s Community Partners Program by the CSBG funded Franklin County Outreach Specialist. The specialist had identified concerns about V’s health and safety, as she did not have running water and was carrying water to the house for drinking, bathing, and cleaning. V has a history of mental illness and stated that she was not taking her medications because they were not affordable. She was enrolled in the Community Partners Program in April of 2002. At the time of enrollment, V’s mental health seemed the most urgent problem – so her assigned family development specialist worked with V to set appointments with her doctor. By following through on her appointments, the doctor was able to find new medications that really helped V. V committed herself to taking the prescribed medications and they seem to be working extremely well for her. V’s family development specialist encouraged V to begin seeing a mental health counselor again. She was very reluctant to do so as her last encounters with mental health professionals was in the 1960’s. At that time, the treatment she received was shock therapy. V and her specialist discussed the changes that the mental health field has undergone and with the support of the NICAO outreach worker in Franklin County, a social worker, and V’s daughter, she finally expressed her willingness to begin seeing a mental health counselor in her local community. She continues to see her counselor once a month – or more when she is feeling overwhelmed or depressed. The NICAO family development specialist referred V to Iowa’s Department of Human Services (DHS) in order to assist her in obtaining the Elderly Waiver to pay for additional support services. After following through and scheduling meetings with both DHS and a Department of Public Health nurse, V was approved for a level of care and began to receive the Elderly Waiver. She now receives Title XIX for her medications and mental health counseling, receives (frozen) meals-on-wheels, and meets monthly with a dietician. She also receives a weekly visit from a home health care aide. Because V’s home did not have indoor plumbing, she was referred to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a low-interest loan to bring plumbing her house. V’s application was originally approved but later denied – it was determined that the cost of the work would exceed what the house is worth. The family development specialist assisted V with an appeal but the USDA still decided not to approve the loan. V had to continue carrying water to the house for drinking, bathing, and cleaning. During the winter V had some health setbacks. She fell filling her bird feeders and broke some ribs. Then in April, V fell again and broke her nose and kneecap. With the assistance of her family development specialist, V was relocated to an apartment. V moved in May, and while it has not been easy adjusting to her apartment after living in the country for 40 years – she admits that it had become too difficult for her to remain living on her own and that she is really enjoying the luxury of having running water and an indoor bathroom. V’s involvement in the Community Partners Program was not completely funded by the CSBG but CSBG funding was essential to her successful participation in the program. CSBG funding provided Family Development training to the Outreach Family Development Specialist who identified V as a potential Community Partners Program participant. CSBG funding supports the Outreach Program Coordinator position that assigns Family Development Specialists from the Community Partners Program to individuals participating in the program. CSBG funding also supports the software development that is used to track client progress and to report individual and program outcomes for the Community Partners Program. • Operation Threshold (Service categories addressed: housing) For years, a widow named B dreamed of owning her own home. In fact, a few years ago, B attended Operation Threshold’s Home Buyer Education class in the hope of attaining this dream. But because of a series of life altering events her dream seemed to be out of reach – until a fire completely destroyed her rental home. Just about all of B’s belongings were lost in the fire. Now homeless, B moved into the basement of her parent’s house. With no home, B became more determined to purchase her first house. Using the information she received as a Home Buyer Education graduate, B knew she qualified for down payment assistance, and gap financing renovation assistance. The process was very stressful for B, as she was working two jobs and helping her daughter support her children. But with the one-on-one support from Operation Threshold, B diligently worked through the home buying process. B received the needed assistance, and now lives in her own home. “I’ve always wanted to own my own home. I am blessed and I want to thank everyone who helped me. I thank God that I’ve had this opportunity.” B “It was stressful and scary, but worth it. I’m okay now. This is mine. I live in a great house. I love it!” B “Thank God for Operation Threshold and their programs. I couldn’t have done this without them.” B Operation Threshold is supported by CSBG funding. CSBG funds are used to supplement the salary of the Housing Coordinator who worked with B, and also the funded the Home Buyer Education program. Kansas • The East Central Economic Opportunity Corporation (ECKAN), headquartered in Ottawa, Kansas, worked with a local bank to construct houses that would meet Rural Development specifications and make them available for Rural Development loans. The bank provided the capital to do the construction and ECKAN administration, along with Weatherization Program staff, directed the planning and construction of 12 houses in North Ottawa. Two homes remain to be sold. Housing is one of the needs of the Ottawa community that has been identified in the last two needs assessment and in surveys of the community completed by the local area Chamber of Commerce. The homes have improved the living conditions of 10 families who would not have been able to have this quality of housing without CSBG support. CSBG funds were used to support the development of the houses. • The City of Wichita, (Kansas’ only public CAA), offered a summer childcare initiative entitled, “Summer of Discovery”, paid for in part by CSBG funds. Customers with children in ages ranging from 5 to 12 are typically able to keep their children in school during the year. During this time parents have very limited day care expenses due to the school day. However, during the summer when earned income has not increased, childcare becomes an expense not easily covered on a low-income. Summer of Discovery offered an opportunity of continued supervised education and physical activity for the children. Parents were able to continue their employment and feel confident in their childcare choice. CSBG funds helped ensure appropriate space and adult supervision was available. • The Southeast Kansas Community Action Program (SEKCAP), headquartered in rural, Girard, Kansas, operated a Prescription Drug Program. Family Services Outreach staff work with families and individuals who require medicine for a medical condition to acquire the prescription at a significant savings. The implementation of this initiative has helped individuals and families save a significant amount of income that they can use to meet their other needs to maintain their current lifestyle and reducing their risk of falling deeper into poverty. CSBG funds pay for the case-management services such as assisting the families and individuals with completing the necessary applications and forms and securing the supportive documentation needed from their physician. They also work with the customer to identify which of their medications are eligible through what particular pharmaceutical company. They also provide ongoing support and referrals to other local resources. CSBG funds were important to by providing the outreach staffing necessary in connecting eligible customers with the service and helping them with completing the paperwork to receive the service. The program has already helped to save thousands of dollars for low-income residents. Kentucky • TD, a senior citizen receiving a total income of $545 from social security came into the local Family Services Office at Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency to apply for a heating assistance benefit through the agency's energy assistance program. During the intake and assessment process, TD expressed to the CSBG Case Manager her concern about being depressed over the recent death of her mother and her need to do something worthwhile with her life. The CSBG Case Manager suggested she come into the office to help-out on a volunteer basis during their heating assistance program. Looking around at the crowded waiting room and listening to the continuously ringing telephone, TD verbalized that it was evident that the case manager could use some help. The very next day, TD showed-up bright and early at the Family Services Office and began volunteering 5 days a week. The CSBG Case Manager began to take notice that each day TD volunteered, her spirits lifted and her self-esteem improved. TD verbalized that she enjoyed working with the consumers and how good it felt to be needed and to be making a positive contribution to her community. After several weeks of volunteering, TD shared with the CSBG Case Manager her financial situation and the need for supplemental income to make ends meet. TD's diligence and conscientiousness during her work day as a volunteer had proven to the case manager that she was a good candidate for employment. Knowing TD's potential, the case manager set-up an appointment for her with the employment director for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and advocated for TD to be placed at her office, Through a special employment program for displaced seniors, AARP immediately hired TD and placed her in the Family Service Office as the CSBG Receptionist. TD began working 20 hours a week, earning $5.15 an hour. During that time, the CSBG Case Manager, paid fully out of CSBG funds, provided intensive and comprehensive on-the-job training to TD. TD was able to increase her employment skills through training and when a position became available for a Family Services Aide, she felt fully prepared to apply. TD breezed through the interview and was immediately hired for the position. As a result of her new position, TD's income increased to $6.75 an hour. Since hired, TD's extensive training has enabled her to have the skills and confidence to run the Family Service Office when the case manager needs to be out of the office. As a result of the CSBG Case Manager's intervention and assistance, within a year's time of visiting the agency for a heating assistance benefit, TD had doubled her income and is enjoying a self-sufficient life style filled with many rewards. TD loves helping to make a difference in the lives of others. This is community action at its best!! • When J, a 44 year-old woman living in the Eastern mountains of Kentucky came into Daniel Boone Development Council, she shared her recent tragedy with the CSBG funded Case Manager. Her husband had been abducted and killed, leaving J with no income and two young boys to support. Although J had very few job skills to speak of, she expressed a desire to find a job. Once an initial assessment was completed, the case manager s enrolled J into the agency's Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Supportive Services Program. The program enabled Jenny to attend cosmetology school and receive supportive services to assist her while attending school. Soon after J began cosmetology school, she experienced another tragedy. Her house burned leaving her and her sons homeless. Through CSBG funds and with the help of her case manager, Jenny and her sons were placed in the agency's homeless shelter. J's case manager guided her through the application process for Section 8 rental housing and J was soon able to have a home of her own again. After receiving two years of educational, housing, emergency and energy assistance, as well as, supportive services, J graduated from cosmetology school, found employment as a cosmetologist and was also approved for Section 8 rental housing. J no longer is eligible for Section 8 due to her income. She is currently, with the help of the agency, moving into a rental apartment. Without CSBG funds, J and hundreds of others like her living impoverished lives in the mountains of Kentucky could not receive the help they so desperately need to overcome life's barriers and setbacks. Louisiana • The Pharmaceutical Access Program continues to provide substantial benefits to clients in the form of medications, averaging over $2,000 per client, with a total fair market value of over $1.7 million worth of medications brought into one service area. These medications allow clients to maintain their health and provide for other needs. The program has United Way and foundation funding; however, CSBG funding was essential in getting the program started and maintaining it. • Agency operates Job Access and Reverse Commute Program in Collaboration with a Senior Center to provide transportation to low-income clients to work and back with city buses are not operating. CSBG provide a part of the drivers’ salaries and vehicle maintenance. • An elderly resident was in jeopardy of being evicted from the public housing development, because of non-payment of rent. A Community Action Agency intervened immediately. The resident has enough income to maintain her household expenses. However, due to family circumstances, her funds were being mismanaged. The Community Action Agency assisted the elderly individual to obtained direct deposit and a CSBG employee makes periodic checks to ensure that her needs are being met. Maine • Aroostook County Action Program, Presque Isle, Maine (Income Management & Education) - A young female student with a small child attended smoking cessation classes sponsored by ACAP an was successful in breaking her 1-1/2 pack-per-day smoking habit. One of the many benefits of this change was a financial savings of approximately $225 per month that she would have spent on cigarettes. This savings was then available to buy essentials for herself and her child that were previously difficult for her to afford. • Community Concepts, Inc., South Paris, Maine (Cultural barriers, Employment, Education, Linkages) - One cause of poverty is cultural barriers and ethnic discrimination. CCI was involved in the creation of the Somali Women of Maine Center. The center was funded 80% by CSBG. The City of Lewiston, Maine had an unanticipated secondary migration of Somalians in 2003. The creation of the center has provided assistance to the new population with language skills, childcare, transportation and employment. • People's Regional Opportunity Program, Portland, Maine (Income Management) - A 28- year old single male, self-employed contractor/sheet-rocker had injured his right knee in a fall in early December, rendering himself incapable of working. He had been living from paycheck to paycheck with no health care insurance and with no savings to fall back on. He had no other means of support. The client had never applied for any services or benefits. He was hesitant to do so. Furthermore, the General Assistance Administrator in his hometown had been hard to deal with. With the assistance of the PROP social worker, he obtained assistance in applying for Food Stamps, MaineCare, LIHEAP, and General Assistance. With the client’s written consent, the social worker was able to advocate for him with the State Department of Human Services for a timely processing of his applications. The social worker was able to assist the client in setting a short and long- term case plan. This plan helped convince the hometown General Assistance Administrator to provide the client with unmet needs. The client was successful in his planned job search strategy and returned to work. He has made arrangements to his hometown for repayment of his General Assistance. He is also planning to purchase health and disability insurance and made plans to open a savings account. Maryland • Washington County Community Action Council, Inc. Homeless Services: A 65 year old grandmother fell on hard times when she suddenly had to take custody of her three granddaughters, ages 12, 4 and 3. Almost immediately after gaining custody of the girls, Grandma found her self homeless because the house she was renting was sold. Grandma moved into CAC’s shelter with the three girls, all of which were experiencing behavioral problems. The Shelter Case Manager worked with her to develop goals and locate resources in the community. Although Grandma’s income was limited to her Social Security check and Temporary Cash Assistance for the girls, she managed to save enough for a security deposit and first month’s rent while staying at the shelter. With the help of CAC’s Placement Housing Counselor, Grandma was able to locate suitable, affordable housing and has moved ahead with her life. The girls are all enrolled in programs designed to help them overcome their problems. Grandma understands the need to maintain a stable living situation for her self and the girls and has opted to continue with programs provided by Community Action Council that will help her achieve her goals. • Maryland Rural Development Corporation. Head Start: Three Hispanic boys came to one of our Head Start centers, all cousins, and none of whom spoke English. Initially they were clinging to each other for support. Gradually they started to branch out more. This school year, two of the boys are in Kindergarten, the remaining continues in Head Start alone. Now he fully participates with all classroom activities and actively interacts with his peers. Their ability converse in English has assisted their families with their integration with the community as well. The socialization process through this program made this success possible. CSBG funds provides the administrative support required for this program in the areas of Human Resources, Financial Management and executive oversight. Without CSBG funding this program could not function. • Anne Arundel Economic Opportunity Committee, Inc. Homelessness Prevention: A family of four (Mother and three teenage children) from Odenton in West Anne Arundel County, recently separated from the father, who had been the main breadwinner. Mother works as an accountant with gross annual income of almost $25,000. Estranged husband had stopped paying rent. A Court notice for the monthly rent quickly followed. The Mother applied to Anne Arundel County Economic Opportunity Committee, Inc.’s Empowerment Services (which includes Housing Assistance), seeking emergency financial assistance to avoid eviction. Housing counselor immediately applied $400 in emergency funds and found $965 in additional help from St. Joseph’s church and two faith-based organizations, Severna Park Assistance Network (SPAN) and “NEON” a similar group in North County. She was able to pay the next month’s rent with her salary and help from her family. Result: family avoided eviction. Our agency also referred her to Legal Services, who obtained child support for $1200 month. Empowerment Services also was able to secure a needed automobile for the client through “Vehicles for Change” program. Without CSBG funding for Case Management, this family would have been threatened with homelessness. Massachusetts • Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC - Cambridge, MA) Tenant Organizing and Advocacy program is a critical service that the agency provides to the community. Since the elimination of rent control, once an individual or family is displaced, it becomes almost impossible for them to find other affordable housing in the city. In many cases, it means that they must leave the city to find a more affordable rent, but they lose their community support including support from their family and friends. In many cases, it is the support network that low-income individuals and families weave together to succeed in life. The following is just one such story of an individual who was forced out from the city. Jose is a 37-year-old low-income Latino man with physical and psychiatric disabilities. He is also the primary caretaker for his aging and ailing mother. He was forced out from the city due to a fire in his apartment. He applied for a Section 8 housing subsidy. He was denied the certificate due to identity confusion between him and his twin brother. His brother had outstanding issues with the housing authority and he was not eligible to return to a housing authority owned building. When Jose applied for a subsidized housing, he was denied a Section 8 Certificate based upon this mistaken identity. Since he knew the challenge of clearing his reputation would take a while to prove, he rented an apartment in another city. However, he still commuted to Cambridge to care for his mother. It was at this point that CEOC became involved. CEOC worked with Jose to collect the proper documentation to establish his identity and secure his Section 8 so that he could return to the city. It took about six months to "correct" his identity with the housing authority. Later he was determined eligible for a certificate, but the housing authority had no certificates to issue. CEOC advocated that through no fault of his own, he was denied a certificate for which he was eligible and therefore the housing authority should accommodate him. CEOC made the case that Jose was a long time Cambridge resident whose family roots were in the city and that his mother is depended upon him for her health. In addition, because of his disabilities the long commute from his current home to Cambridge to care for his mother was adversely affecting his health. At this time, the housing authority was working with an organization that develops housing for people with disabilities and was about to open units in a newly developed property. CEOC advocated for Jose to be considered for an apartment in this property. CEOC also requested that Jose be given consideration for an apartment with a tub, on the first floor because of his physical disability. He was told to arrive at a given time at the property to "pick" an apartment, on a first come first serve basis. He arrived at the agreed upon time. When he arrived, he was asked to sign in at the site. After his arrival, others arrived for apartments and signed in as well. Two of those who signed in after him were allowed to go before him and select apartment with tubs on the first floor level. The last two remaining apartments were on the second floor with shower stalls, which would have been difficult to use because of his disability. At this point, he became very discouraged and upset. Had CEOC staff not been present, he may not have been able to maintain his composure and possibly lost the apartment all together. However, CEOC staff member was able to help himself calm down by assuring him that he could appeal the process and eventually find an apartment. CEOC approached the agency to reconsider and accommodate his disability but with no success. Finally, Joe filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission claiming that he was being discriminated against and his disability was not being accommodated. The Human Rights Commission, after reviewing the complaint, agreed to take the case. The Commission and the attorneys for the housing agency and CEOC have been meeting to resolve the situation. CEOC is seeking a resolution that Jose be offered an apartment that meets his needs and individual circumstance. This account is an example of the housing situations in which CEOC intervenes to assist individuals and families to not only maintain their housing, but also to have housing that meets their needs and individual situations. These types of intervention not only will result in improving the quality of life for Jose but also will mitigate housing discrimination for people with disabilities. During this time of limited availability of affordable housing, maintaining the current housing of those with disabilities is critical in preventing them from becoming homeless and many other abject conditions of poverty. • There are hundreds of unique cases in which the fuel staff have literally become lifesavers to some folks. For example, Citizens for Citizens, Inc. (CFC-Fall River, MA) had a case prior to Christmas in which the client called crying that she had no oil in her tank. Screening the client over the phone, CFC staff determined that she had no income because her husband was her sole support and had left the house because of domestic abuse. CEOC advised her to come into the office so that she could help with her heating oil. Upon arriving to CFC’s office, she was visibly upset and was not comfortable asking for any help. She had three children ages two, three, and 10. CFC staff first completed a fuel assistance application; but the client complained that her heating system does not seem to throw off enough heat. CFC contacted her oil dealer and authorized an oil delivery and proceeded to contact the HEARTWAP department. Because she has small children, the heating system program will have her boiler checked immediately. She has always stayed home caring for her 10 year old child who had been diagnosed with Downs Syndrome. The child was not receiving SSI because she had always been too intimidated to apply for help. CFC gave her the number of our local Social Security Office in which she could actually apply for help over the telephone. And then assisted her with completing a food stamp application and after making a call to the food stamp office, she was allowed to bring in the application and get an appointment immediately for cash benefits and food stamp emergency approval. The CFC caseworker then proceeded to inform her that CFC has day care programs that she should check in the event that she gets a job. Upon leaving the agency, CFC signed her up for the Operation Christmas program and gave her a bag of food from the food pantry. CFC staff also referred her to HOSPICE because they in fact offer counseling for women who are in abusive relationships. CFC staff also advised her to consider a restraining order to protect herself and her children. Cases like the above mentioned are no longer a rarity but rather occur on a much more frequent basis and LIHEAP now acts accordingly to assure clients that there is help available in the community. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) better known as Fuel Assistance has been in existence for 25 years. The program provides eligible households with help in paying winter heating bills. Eligibility is based on household size and annual household gross income as established by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. Approximately 45% of those served are elderly. Program serves much of Southeastern Massachusetts. Within the last few years, the program has shifted dramatically. In the past, the program was a vendor payment program with an emphasis on processing applications and making vendor payments as quickly as possible. Now the Fuel Assistance program is so much more. The LIHEAP staff are no longer simple intake workers, but have become case managers. Every day duties now extend to budget counseling, advocating on behalf of customers and making referrals to address the specific problem that the household is facing. CFC clients are the most vulnerable and need to expand access to benefits and resources of which they are not aware. The goal of LIHEAP is now to provide clients with all the services available both within and outside of CFC. In doing so, clients may actually have a better handle on their day-to-day issues. The LIHEAP is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services passed through the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. Some CSBG funds are used in indirectly supporting the program. CSBG funds allow for coordination of the program with the CSBG menu of offerings including paying for heating and electric bills during the time when Fuel Assistance season is over. • This is a real life account of a Hispanic family with three daughters. The husband is aged 47, the wife is 42 and the daughters are aged 20, 17 and 14. The 20 year old is in college; the other two daughters are in school. The family arrived to the U.S. from Columbia eight years ago. The husband was a topographer in his native country but only could get work in a warehouse when he arrived. He injured his back on the job and is currently disabled. The wife was a fashion designer. The parents have very limited English speaking skills when they came to Self Help, Inc. (SHI – Avon, MA). At that time, the wife was only working. They were not eligible for any types of public assistance because they were still under the sponsorship agreement. Under the sponsorship agreement rule, an immigrant cannot receive public assistance for certain number of years after their immigration to the United States. The family was renting an apartment for $1,200 a month. They were looking for a rental subsidy to help with the cost of the rent. The outreach worker helped the family with some phone calls to local housing authorities and applications were sent to the family. During the intake, process the outreach worker found out that the family was very much interested in home ownership. They said it was their goal to own a home. However, with only one of them working, it was impossible. The outreach worker gathered materials on first time home buyers programs including the Fannie Mae foundation, Acorn's first time home buyers program, and a list of mortgage lenders. She arranged for them to participate in a first time homebuyer’s seminar and helped them fill out an application to see if they could be pre approved. At the same time, she set up a referral for the husband with the Mass Rehab Commission and Career works. She also helped the family enroll in a local ESL class at the Adult Learning Center. The family did not receive a pre approval at first. However, the husband, after a few weeks, was called to start a job through food stamp application and after making a call to the food stamp office, she was allowed to bring in the application and get a Mass Rehab as a part time driver. As time went on he requested more hours and later was hired full time. The family never appointment immediately for cash benefits and food stamp emergency approval. The CFC caseworker then proceeded to give up their quest to buy their own home and just before fall of 2003 was approved and became homeowners. Both parents inform her that CFC has day care programs that she should check in the event that she gets a job. Upon leaving the agency, now working and they, and their daughters, are very happy in their new home and are enjoying a better life style. CFC signed her up for the Operation Christmas program and gave her a bag of food from the food pantry. CFC staff also referred her to HOSPICE because they in fact offer counseling for women who are in abusive relationships. CFC staff also advised her to consider a restraining order to protect herself and her children. Minnesota • Child Care Assistance Programs Supporting Families That Work: With the help of CSBG funding, Anoka County Community Action Program administers all Child Care Assistance (CCA) programs under contract with Anoka County. The CCA programs and government funded programs help low- and moderate-income parents and other caregivers pay for a child’s care. These programs include Basic Sliding Fee for non- welfare clients, MFIP Child Care for parents moving off welfare, and Transitional Child Care for parents moving from welfare to non-welfare. These three programs serve about 1,300 families each year who are either employed or in school developing employment skills. The programs are very effective in alleviating poverty and fostering self- sufficiency by supporting parents’ ability to work. They provide the most resources to the lowest income families and provide incentives for people to leave welfare. Last year the programs collectively spent $12 million helping people cover childcare costs. The programs are a collaboration between the Anoka County Community Action Program, Anoka County, the Workforce Center and child care providers. The programs work with over 900 licensed homes and centers, providing substantial employment opportunities for child care professionals. These resources are an absolute necessity for low-income parents with young children to become self-reliant, and they play an important role in improving child care assets in our community. • Expanding Housing Services to Meet Needs: Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council’s Affordable Housing Program has expanded its services to include housing inspections, rental inspections, and loan origination services to better serve low- to moderate-income families in our service area. The Housing Program currently builds 18- 20 new homes a year using Department of Corrections inmates on three crews. Six loan originations were completed for families that purchased homes we built. Approximately 30 home inspections were done for low-income buyers. Rental inspections were done for the cities of Rothsay and New York Mills. Helping a low-income family purchase a new home involves working with many different partners. Through this program a home buyer has access to Homestretch, budget counseling, mortgage origination, special discounts on home loans and other programs offered by local banks, lending institutions, MHFA, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, and the USDA programs. Our goal is to have as many low-income families as possible become eligible to purchase a new home. Our rental and housing inspection programs ensure that families will reside in safe, clean and stable housing. Results of the Housing Program for Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council and our partner West Central Communities Action as of February 2003: Leveraged $359,433 (donated sites and paint, HVAC installation by NWTech-Wadena, discounts by subcontractors); economic impact $481,439 (value of homes built, new taxes paid, income received by subcontractors, suppliers, carpenters, and inmates); deductions from inmate wages $14,165 (aid to victims, court ordered, special obligations); savings to Department of Corrections for housing inmates in county jails $20,480; income earned by local detention centers housing inmates $455,520. Thanks to the CSBG funding that helps provide a stable administrative infrastructure, this program has been a win-win opportunity for families, individuals, communities and our agency at local, county and state levels of operation. • Fond du Lac Gardening Project: The Gardening Project on the Fond du Lac Reservation has been successful over the years and this can be attributed to CSBG. Funds from the grant have provided much needed staff time to the project, making it a success and keeping it moving in a positive direction. In 2003, the Fond du Lac Gardening Project is in the process of expanding. The average number of participants that attended the weekly spring classes was 30 and the number of gardens tilled was 115. In the past year, the Reservation has begun a collaboration with the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College to expand the program with the possibility of hiring a full-time staff person to run it. Mississippi • Aging joint venture with Home Delivered Meals Program, which provided seniors and/or disabled clients with five(5) daily meals per week. This joint venture eliminated a condition of poverty. • A joint venture with Child Development Center, which pays for child care to eligible households, which gives eligible parents the opportunity to complete educational goals and/or gain employment. • Winn Center, which partners with CAA's, to provide job skill training to low-income clients seeking employment. Missouri • The economic downturn had hit this St. Louis area family doubly hard. Mrs. Crowder lost her job when the company downsized, and she hadn’t been able to find another job. Mr. Crowder was able to hang onto his job, but only because his salary was drastically reduced. The couple and their three children lost their home and were living in a low-rent motel. The Community Action Agency of St. Louis County, Inc., enrolled the family in the Employment Readiness and Job Placement program funded entirely by CSBG funds. The agency found Mrs. Crowder a temporary job at a local restaurant working as assistant manager on the night shift, which gave her the daytime hours to look for a job that better suited her advanced management skills. The agency eventually found her a position as Human Resources Director for a home health company. The agency also placed the family in a three-bedroom house with the help of a private-sector “Good Samaritan” that regularly assists the agency’s employment efforts. Now, the family is able to pay its own market-rate rent, bills, food and transportation and is no longer in need of state assistance. Not only did the agency stabilize the Crowder family and remove them from public assistance, but Mrs. Crowder is now in a position to help others. The agency sends other homeless people to her because she can hire them and understands their challenges. • Education that is often the key to keeping poverty at bay almost eluded Melissa. Just one week after accepting a basketball scholarship to attend college, she learned she was pregnant. She was devastated that her once-promising future seemed to be floating out of reach. She became involved in the Early Head Start program of the Northeast Missouri Community Action Agency, which provided her with prenatal counseling, childcare and support to get back on her feet. With the right combination of services, she was able to work and attend school. Because of Melissa’s strong work ethic, good employment history and desire to build assets for education, she was placed in the agency’s Missourians Building Assets program, which is supported with CSBG funds. Melissa achieved her savings goal, which earned matching funds, to use for her education. With her strong desire to succeed and the coordination of programs, Melissa did not have to put her goals and dreams on hold. • When Leann ran into problems paying her bills, she went to the South Central Missouri Community Action Agency to apply for energy assistance. Recognizing other needs, the coordinator enrolled her in the agency’s family support program, funded in part by CSBG. Leann had discovered that food service jobs didn’t suit her employment needs, and her main goal was a nursing career. But she faced several barriers, especially in the areas of health and transportation. She was suffering from depression, so the agency referred her to a counseling center and she successfully completed treatment. She was offered a job with the Visiting Nurses Association, but she lacked good tires on her car to do the required travel to clients’ homes. The community action agency replaced her tires, and she accepted the job, which Leann now describes as her “dream job.” Her family income is well above the 125 percent CSBG poverty guidelines. Clearing away the barriers to full employment was the critical support funded by CSBG. Montana • Due to funding cuts in the Workforce Investment Act program, District 7 Human Resources Development Council authorized Community Services Block Grant dollars to entirely fund a 2003 Summer Youth Employment Program to employ low-income 14 and 15 year old youth. Through case management, success in the school setting and completion of secondary level education was emphasized. Successful performance in a summer job translated toward commitment in school. Many parents attested to the value of the summer program sponsored by Human Resources Development Council. The following letter was received by a mother of one of the youth enrolled in our program: “This letter of gratitude is long overdue, but as sincere as ever! My son, who is a student at Harlem Jr. /Sr. High School, Harlem, MT, was given the opportunity to work for your Human Resources Development Council Summer Youth Employment Program last summer while staying with his oldest sister in Billings. Up until that time, my son, by my own admission, was an at-risk teenager. He was performing poorly in school and had been into trouble during the school year, requiring him to perform Community Service, meet with a Juvenile Officer, and I was required to pay a $60.00 fine. After having worked the summer program, he came home with a very positive attitude and became an honor roll student. The effect of having had the opportunity to work, be responsible to ride his bike to and from work and report on time, etc., had an amazing effect on my son, to which I give my sincere gratitude to the Human Resources Development Council Summer Youth Employment Program. Should either my son or myself ever be needed to attest to the validity of this youth program, do not hesitate to call upon us, as it is the least I can do in return for the blessing of having my sons' life turned around in such a positive manner.” • One individual that our agency was able to help move from poverty to self-sufficiency in FY 2003 was E. M.; a 26-year-old single-mother of two children aged three and five. When E. M. first came to our agency for services she was on Temporary Aid to Needy Families, was not working and had recently left an abusive relationship. E. M. was eligible for a Section 8 rental voucher and was not required to pay any of the rent at that time. She is currently paying 83% of her own rent. Employment and Training provided E. M. a paid work experience as a clerical aide, through the Work Force Investment Act Adult program. She continued her paid work experience until applying for and receiving full-time employment. E. M. was able to receive childcare assistance, with a starting co- pay of $5.00 per month. With continued success in her job and a promotion, her co-pay amount has steadily increased to $191.00 per month. E. M. is currently at about 135% of poverty and has a full-time job with benefits. She has graduated from all public assistance programs – cash, food stamps and Medicaid. This year E. M. is making enough money that she no longer qualifies for LIEAP services and is able to meet her own heating obligations. E. M. recently put in an application for our Mutual Self-Help Housing Project which would allow her to build her own home. E. M. is definitely an example of an individual that was successfully served by our agency with the use of CSBG funds. These services were not completely funded by CSBG dollars, but without CSBG funds, none of these programs could operate and be successful in providing individuals such as E. M. an opportunity and a pathway out of poverty. • District 7 HRDC’s initial Families Saving for Tomorrow Individual Development Account program was funded with CSBG funding. An Individual Development Account is a matched saving account program in which, for every dollar saved the participant receives two-dollars in match to purchased allowed assets. HRDC enrolled the first group of participants in March of 2002. Clients have received financial education classes and case management by staff. One of the first clients enrolled in the program had some financial problems in the past, debts in collection including bad checks. This participant’s goal was to increase her earning potential by increasing her job skills. She confronted her past, and, using her tax return, paid off all of her old debts. However, because of the bad checks, she was unable to open either a checking or savings account. The Families Saving for Tomorrow Program partners with First Interstate Bank of Billings to provide program participants with savings accounts. The bank allows the participants to open a savings account with a minimal deposit and has waived all services fees for the accounts as long as they participate in the savings program. With the help of the program she was able to open a savings account. Previously to opening her account she was forced to use payday check cashing services and paid substantial fees for those services. She has since met the program requirements and has drawn match funds to go to night school and obtain CNA Certification. After completing her course, she began a new full-time job, which offers her benefits and more room for advancement in the future. She was also able to obtain a car loan through HRDC which allows her reliable transportation to get back and forth to work She has opened a second Individual Development Account savings account and is saving for down payment on her home. Because of the programs available to her, life has improved dramatically for Cindy and her children. Nevada • From the English as a Second Language Teacher: “This program has been beneficial to many of my students, but I want to tell you about a fifth grade student in particular. Before he regularly attended my homework club, his homework assignments were often missing. His parents were always working and they are illiterate in both English and Spanish, so there was no support for him at home with his nightly homework. Since his parents had never really experienced grade school past the second grade, they thought it was okay for their son to do his homework in front of the TV. After just a few weeks, his classroom teacher told me that he was consistently turning in his homework and studying therefore, having more success with his daily class work and exams.” (Douglas County: Tutoring Program) • We had a mother, with two young teenage daughters, in the middle of a divorce. Her husband had moved away and was not paying child support on a regular basis nor consistent amounts. The mother was working less than 20 hours a week at a minimum wage job. Each month she was getting further behind. With CSBG funds, were able to cover her mortgage payment, with CARE funds (local funds from the electrical co-op) we were able to bring her electric bill current. At present, she is current on all her payments and has been able to secure more work hours. Not only did we help her get control of her living expenses, but also we offered her some mental stability by relieving some of her stress, which was exacerbating her medical condition. By relieving this stress she was able to take on more hours at work and able to increase her income by relying on herself. This proved to be a win-win situation. (White Pine County: rent and utility assistance program) • Ms. D. registered for Rewards for Work while she was working part time at the local Wal-Mart store. Ms. D. was trying to attend the local community college, but was struggling with the cost of tuition. With the help of the Rewards for Work Program, Ms. D. was able to afford her college tuition, attend school part time, and remain employed part time. Ms. D. was enrolled in Rewards for Work for 12 weeks when she was offered a full time position with benefits from the local phone company, thus moving from poverty to self-sufficiency. (Churchill County: employment assistance program) New Hampshire • Child Care Resource & Referral Program was contacted by a father with two pre-school aged children. He had had a well-paying, full-time job in retail, working evening hours. After he divorced his wife, who was mentally ill, he received full custody of his two children. Because he couldn’t find adequate care, his hours were cut, and then because he continued to take so much time off he was changed to “on-call” status. He lost his medical insurance and his landlord could “see the writing on the wall” and began to threaten him with eviction. Child Care Resource & Referral gave him listings of providers in his area available to provide evening care. By the time the program called him a month later he had found a provider and been reinstated in his previous position, with full benefits. • On a Friday afternoon, in the middle of a snowstorm, Outreach Program received two separate calls from people facing ‘no heat’ situations going into the weekend. Both households had been illegally denied help through the local welfare office, so both required intervention from staff to educate a new town employee about local welfare law and how RCA and the town could work together to address clients’ needs. As a result, both homes received emergency oil deliveries, one of which was eventually paid through Fuel Assistance and the other by the town of Raymond. • “Janet,” a single mother of three school-aged children, had been homeless for the last three years. Their story is all too common in Rockingham County – unable to afford market rents, numerous families stay in substandard beach housing during winter rental season, and move inland to campgrounds during the summer. When the campgrounds close in the fall, the cycle begins again. Janet tried hard to make the best of it for her children. She made sure to find winter rentals in the same community so her children didn’t have to change schools. She invested what little money she had in a decent tent, cook stove and sleeping bags so her kids would be as comfortable as possible in the campground. She tried to make living in a campground seem like a vacation so the kids wouldn’t know that they were homeless. Then this tentative existence fell apart. Winter rentals skyrocketed and were out of reach for Janet. The family had nowhere to go – the local shelter was full. After numerous attempts, RCAs Homeless Outreach & Intervention located a shelter in another county that had space opening up, and she drove Janet and her children there. By linking homeless individuals like Janet to shelters, the Homeless Outreach & Intervention program enables them to get the range of supports service they need to achieve long-term stability and avoid becoming homeless again. New Jersey • Corrections: Francis is a 40-year old Caucasian female, who was admitted into the P.A.R.T.S. program on 09/04/02 and graduated on 06/25/03. She was homeless and had a history of I.V. heroin and barbiturate abuse. Francis also had a criminal record and served time in prison. She is single with one child who has Cerebral Palsy due to her drug using during the pregnancy. Her child had braces on both legs. Francis came to P.A.R.T.S. reluctantly, because her parents were going to file for full custody of her daughter if she didn’t complete a drug program. Francis suffered from anger issues, and tried to become the program bully. After attending anger management classes and mental health counseling at Raritan Bay Medical Center, she started to participate in her recovery. She began to enjoy attending AA/NA meetings, and whenever possible shared in the groups. Kelly, Francis’ daughter, received physical therapy at John F. Kenney Hospital, which later enabled her to walk. Francis eventually identified anger related triggers that assisted her recovery. After graduation, her former employer gave her another chance and reemployed her as an Insurance Agent. Francis continues to participate in the P.A.R.T.S. graduation ceremonies, and frequently calls in to update the staff on her status. • Paterson: Dorothy Y came to us as a CWEP placed in our employment program for General Assistance (GA) recipients. (Our GA employment program provides work- training slots for those with Work First New Jersey obligations so they can fulfill their Work-for-Welfare requirements, as well as be trained in basic employment skills. At the same time, they have an obligation with us to seek out independent employment.)At the time Dorothy Y began work training as a receptionist at our Employment Center, she said she had some computer skills. However, after the first two weeks, it was apparent that Dorothy only knew how to play computer games and use the CD-ROM for music she brought from home. Our Employment Director realized Dorothy was serious about learning how to use a computer for more than that. She showed Dorothy how to use basic Microsoft Word functions, but she knew Dorothy, with her quick ability to learn, could advance much further if she took a course explaining computer hardware and terminology and then learned basic Microsoft Office programs, including Excel and Microsoft Outlook. Our Employment Director explained the benefits to Dorothy of actually learning to use a computer systemically to advance in job opportunities. She explained that while she did not have the time to do this, Dorothy could learn for free through our Computer Literacy School. Dorothy took the 12-weekcomputer course, electing for evening hours. By the end, she knew how to use Microsoft Office and Windows to their fullest. Our Employment Director had Dorothy prepare a resume featuring her new work experience and computer skills. She then assisted Dorothy to find job openings she felt Dorothy could interview for successfully. She helped Dorothy arrange interviews for the openings and gave her job interview pointers. When the interviews were set, she had Dorothy choose two new business outfits from our Dress for Success program. Before Dorothy had finished her CWEP assignment with us, she was already employed full-time in an office position. Both our Employment Center and our Computer Literacy School receive substantial funding from CSBG. Of the total of $284,726 budgeted for our Employment Center and its related expenses on a two-year basis, CSBG funding is $216,926, while 24% of funding, or $67,800, is provided by the Passaic County Department of Human Services through the Occupational Industries Council. This excludes the $51,206 provided by CSBG for our Computer Literacy Education Center, which, although an independent program, provides openings for GA clients interested in learning or improving computer skills. CSBG funding is vital to the success of the Employment Center. Other funding equals only $33,900 a year. With CSBG funding, we have a complete office with fax, copying and computer equipment, as well as paid staff for client counseling and placement and accurate record keeping. • NORWESCAP: Client of Family Loan Program: A Warren County woman called First Call for Help. The previous night her husband of fifteen years beat her for the last time. First Call for Help gave her numerous referrals for social service programs and counseling that would assist her including some local companies that were hiring. A follow up call determined that this individual found employment at Target and was able to get her and her children into a counseling program that accepted a sliding fee scale arrangement for co-pays. Several months passed and the client contacted First Call for Help again. Her husband stopped paying their mortgage ($850 per month) and she was almost three months late. She was very concerned because she knew if she became homeless that there would be no other housing that would be affordable and she was also concerned about uprooting her children when they were just beginning to feel more secure. First Call for Help staff referred the client to the Family Loan Program for assistance with housing costs. The Family Loan Program was able to grant this individual a loan to stop the eviction process and provide her with terms over a two-year period where she could repay the assistance. The confidence that this woman gained from being able to retain her housing without her abusive husband really assisted this family to the road to recovery. The need to repay the loan helped her focus on the importance of maintaining employment that resulted in sufficient income for her expenses. She wrote, “My house would have been foreclosed and my children and I would have had no place to live without your help. Please continue these programs for people like me who have no one else to turn to for help. I’m still struggling, but with your help, I have a better chance to make it. We are all getting help now and are on the road to recovery.” New Mexico • Eastern Plains Community Action Agency provided federal and state income tax assistance services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) for low-income families located in the rural areas of northeast and eastern New Mexico. The agency covers a service area of seven rural counties. In 2003, outreach workers assisted 522 families from January through April with federal and state tax returns. Approximately $261,349.00 refunds were generated through the Earned Income Tax Credit (ETIC), childcare tax credits and other allowable tax credits and state rebates. These refunds assist families with extra income for household expenses and purchases. CSBG funds covered the administrative cost to operate the program. Without the funding many rural areas would not be served. • The Home Education Livelihood Program assisted a woman who was a victim of domestic violence. This woman was forced to flee her home to a domestic violence shelter for protection. She had no prior work experience therefore seeking employment was difficult. We assisted the woman by placing her in a work experience component through our National Farmworkers Job Program and she received additional services through the CSBG-Migrant Program with training related services and help with clothes for employment. Through the work experience program, she gained self-esteem, confidence and valuable job skills to help her gain employment. She successfully completed the program. This individual has secured a full-time job with benefits and she continues to attend English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. She has moved in to her own apartment with her children and is moving toward self-sufficiency. CSBG funding supports the CSBG-Migrant Program. Without the funding additional services to migrant families and individuals would not be available. • Through the Sandoval County Economic Opportunity Corporation Home Placement Program families have the opportunity to stabilize their lives. A woman with part-time employment and with three children was presented to the SCEOC. She was living with her boyfriend and her mother, but conflicts with both persons resulted in her becoming homeless. Since enrolled in the Home Placement Program, she has obtained a full time job, received her GED and is currently studying for her Certified Drivers License to become a bus driver. She’s involved with family counseling services. She has attended financial literacy classes and is three months away from paying off her credit cards. She is also participating in the Building Assets Program and is working to purchase a home. She plans to use her Earned Income Tax Credit to purchase transportation. CSBG funds partially paid for the staff person who case managed this family. Without CSBG funding we would not have the capability to help stabilize families that are in need. New York • A married father of one came to the Family Support Center when he wanted to secure better employment by getting a GED. He was a high school dropout in his late 30s working part-time in a temporary situation that neither met his family's income needs or his career goals. Our Family Development worker referred him to CAA Literacy Volunteers, which matched him with a volunteer tutor. He and his tutor met once a week at the local library to work on reading, writing, and math skills to progress toward GED level. In addition, Family Support Center staff worked with this family to increase their ability to handle his permanent position and improve budgeting skills so they could survive more comfortably until the ‘better job’ was obtained. At the end of 6 months, he was referred to and entered the local GED class. He continued to work with Literacy Volunteers tutor and Family Support Center staff for additional support and encouragement. He is now well on his way to getting his GED and has already secured full-time employment. He is working with Family Support Center staff and the CAA First Time Home Buyer program to prepare for home ownership. Note: Family Support Center is almost fully funded by CSBG and staffed by Family Development Advocates (FDAs) who all hold an FDC. • Ms. Y migrated from another country 6 years ago. She held a master’s degree – in teaching – in her native country but, unable to communicate in English, had to work in agriculture for several years. Not long ago, a friend told her about the services offered by our agency. Ms. Y made the contact and saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Through our program, Ms. Y obtained her high school equivalency, took English as a Second Language classes, and began work experience raining as a teacher’s aide at a local day care center. Soon her employer noticed her skills and decided to hire her as a Teacher Leader, even before her work experience was complete. Ms. Y now communicates well in English. She has rewarding full-time employment with benefits and, happily, is working in the field she most enjoys. • Mr. X left his job in a neighboring county for a better job in this CAA’s service area. The new job promised housing as well as a decent salary. When he arrived here with his pregnant wife, the employer apologized, but the promised housing was not available. The current tenant was refusing an eviction order, and some time would be required before the issue could be resolved. Mr. X had an out of state driver’s license, but no vehicle, public transportation was not available, nor was housing within walking distance of his new job. This left him homeless, unable to get to work, even if housing could be found, and his wife had no access to medical care. The employer approached the CAA to see if assistance was available. Using CSBG funding, staff helped the family find suitable housing and secured first month’s rent from LDSS. CAA then assisted the family in obtaining donated furniture, linens, warm clothes, and household items. Staff provided transportation for the woman to an initial doctor’s appointment, helping to keep the family together. Transportation through a CAA-sponsored employment program was accessed to assure that Mr. X could reach employment for a 30 day time period. Additional assistance was provided for transfer of Mr. X’s driver’s license to our state. A vehicle donation program operated by CAA secured a vehicle for transfer to the family to assure long-term family stability, permitting Mr. X to keep and succeed in his job, and to allow Mrs. X to receive necessary medical care. The family is now comfortable, accessing needed services, and Mr. X is doing well in his job. North Carolina • A young family attending the local community college in a coastal North Carolina town was struggling with the cost of school tuition and maintaining a household. The couple was referred to the community action agency by the guidance counselor at Carteret Community College with high recommendations. Both the husband and the wife wee receiving scholarships and other financial aid but it wasn't enough for them to maintain their household and their income was below the poverty guidelines for the CSBG project. An application was taken on the couple to assessment their needs and from there Carteret Community Action devised a plan of action to assist the couple. During the two years the family was enrolled in the Self-Sufficiency project they received financial assistance with tuition and books, daycare for their two children, and assistance in paying numerous household bills. Mrs. R maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average during her two years at the community college, while her husband maintained an average GPA of 3.9 during his two years at the college. During their two years in the program while attending college the couple was inducted into the Beta Delta Pi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges. As a Photographic Technology major Mrs. R devised an award winning portfolio. Mr. R entered Information Technology and landed a covenant intern position with the local Electric Cooperative. While he was in an intern position, he was offered a full time position, but elected to complete his education. May of 2003, Mr. R landed an interview with a major university in New York, at the end of June he was offered a full time job with a beginning salary of $35,000 per year, after his graduation set July2003. After Mrs. R graduation date of August 2003, the family will relocate to New York and begin their life. • S.M.; a single mother of two, came to Joint Orange Chatham County Community Action, Inc. (JOCCA) in need of emergency assistance. The Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) Case Manager discovered during the intake process that S.M was in need of food, employment, educational assistance, and housing assistance. The CSBG Case Manager informed S.M. about the CSBG Self-Sufficiency Program. S.M. was eager to enroll. Upon enrollment, S.M. and her CSBG Case Manager discussed goals that would be beneficial for her family. Since S.M. was unemployed and could not afford to buy groceries, the CSBG Case Manager referred S.M. to Chatham Outreach Alliance (CORA) for emergency food assistance. In addition, the CSBG referred S.M. to the Chatham County Department of Social Services for Medicaid, Food Stamp, and Women, Infants, Children Food (WIC) programs. S.M. also had trouble providing adequate living conditions for her children and herself. Therefore, S.M.'s CSBG Case Manager in conjunction with Chatham County Housing Authority helped S.M. obtain safe, affordable housing. The CSBG Program provided S.M. with financial assistance for utility and rent deposits. In addition, the CSBG Program and The Salvation Army aided S.M. with her utility bills. S.M. also received financial assistance from the CSBG Program, which enable her to enroll at Central Carolina Community College (CCCC). S.M. then earned her Certified Nursing Assistance (CNA) certificate from CCCC. The CSBG Case Manager and S.M. created a resume and worked on job readiness skills. The CSBG Case Manager and S.M. searched for CNA jobs with assistance provided through the JOCCA/Joblink Resource Center, and the Employment Security commission. S.M. was able to acquire full time employment as a CNA. S.M. studied diligently, obtained employment, and never lost sight of her goals and willingness to become self-sufficient. The services S.M. received were a result of effective partnership between local community agencies, businesses willing to accept agency pledges, and local and federal government funding. CSBG with the collaboration of other agencies helped to insure that S.M. achieved her goals. • Several years ago Ms Conner a case manager with the Total Family Achievement Program at Gaston Community Action turned on her TV and tuned in to "The Montel Williams Show". At the time Ms. Conner was working with a young lady, a sever stutterer, to help her find employment and keep it. What Ms. Conner saw that day would help give her client a new lease on life. Ms. G., the client had been stuttering her whole life and it seemed the older she got the worst her condition became. Growing up for Ms G. was very difficult. Being socially hindered by a speech impediment beyond her control, she admits she found herself in fights with peers who wouldn't stop teasing her. Doctors told Ms. G that her condition was genetic. We worked with a speech therapist who told her to tap her finger on the table in unison with the words she tried to speak. Nothing worked. Ms G. enrolled in classes at Gaston College, where she earned as associate's degree in phlebotomy. She landed a job at Gaston Memorial Hospital, but communicating was difficult when she was asked to relieve a staff shortage by answering the telephone. She quit her job. She later became a bus driver with the Gaston County Schools but the children teased her relentlessly, and she ended each day in tears. Ms. G could not find a place to fit in. Ms C of Gaston Community Action learned while watching The Montel Williams show that researchers from East Carolina University in North Carolina had great confidence about SpeechEasy device. Ms. C immediately wrote Ms. G. After receiving the letter Ms. G. began to cry and said, "just help me". After discussing Ms. G's situation with the CSBG Director at the agency, it learned that the director's son was a librarian at East Carolina University and from there the help on the way for Ms. G. Gaston Community Action provided funding for Ms. G to begin her new life. Ms. C called The Speech and Learning Center in Greenville, S. C. to make an appointment for an initial consultation. The agency was persistent in setting up the appointment for Ms. G to receive her initial consultation. With a video camera in hand and Ms. G in tow, the two headed for the center that forever changed Ms. G's life. Additional funded was coordinated with the NC Department of Vocational Rehab Services; the $4,000 SpeechEasy device was purchased. After the device was fitted to Ms. G, she was handed a book and read about three paragraphs beautifully. This has changed this young lady's life and now she has the confidence to speak and hold any job she lands. North Dakota • "Caroline" is a 22 year old single woman originally from a small country in Africa. She came to the United States in May of 2002 in pursuit of a better education. She stayed for 8 months with a cousin in North Carolina where she began to explore her educational options. Caroline wanted to get a degree in Computer Networking. Via the Internet, she researched schools that offered such a degree, and located Northwest Technical College in Moorhead, MN. Having no clear idea of how far she would be traveling, and with no idea about the location of the school and the community, she applied to and was accepted to begin classes at Northwest Technical College in January of 2003. She got a list of nearby apartments, and rented a small one-bedroom unit, sight unseen, in Fargo, ND. When she arrived in Fargo, she had only a few hundred dollars and knew no one. She began to look for work and started classes. On her own she quickly learned the city's bus system so she could get back and forth to school and to look for employment. Within 2 weeks of arriving and not having found a job, she began to get discouraged and worried as she had only been able to pay a deposit on her apartment and didn't have enough money to pay her rent. One day while waiting for the city bus, a woman told her about the Self Reliance case management services at the Southeastern ND CAA office, and she suggested to her that the case manager could help her find a job. Caroline contacted the agency, and started to work with the Self Reliance case manager who helped her secure assistance to pay her January rent and helped her find employment. The worker helped Caroline focus on specific types of work that would fit her skills and scheduling needs as they started meeting one or two times per week to address her needs. The case manager provided Caroline with transportation to various businesses to fill out job applications, helped her in writing a resume and in preparing for job interviews. Because of her limited employment history and a competitive job market, it took Caroline two and a half months of steady job search to finally secure a part-time job. Within weeks of securing that position, however, she found a second part-time job and had enough income to maintain herself financially while she continued to attend school. She has now completed her first semester of college and continues to work at her first job. During this past summer she worked full-time at another job she was able to find on her own. She is paying her bills, remains employed and in school, and applying for scholarships to help with her educational costs. The assistance with rent, staff time with her case manager, and general assistance she received from the CAA were paid through the CSBG funds the agency receives. The amount of assistance and time involved were minimal as this individual worked on becoming self-sufficient in a foreign land with no support or assistance other than what the CAA provided. Had the agency not had CSBG funds, this assistance would not have been able to be provided. • The "Johnson’s" were referred to the Community Action Agency through a county social service office in their service area. The Johnson’s identified financial issues as their primary concern during the assessment process. Mr. Johnson had a full-time job, but due to several past due bills, the income he had was not adequate to cover all of their expenses. The majority of their debt was due to court fees they had acquired as the result of several bad checks they had written. They also had pre-existing balances on their electric bill and water bill and risked shut-off of both of those utilities if they were not paid in full at the end of the month. In addition, they were out of propane that was needed to heat their water and run their stove. Medical bills were also of concern. The Johnson's daughter needed to have surgery performed in another city, and the family lacked the necessary funds to cover travel and lodging expenses. A plan was developed to assist the family in addressing their basic needs and to help stabilize their current situation. Partner agencies/programs that could help the CAA and family to address their various needs were identified and referrals were made to social services, Salvation Army and the CAA's Emergency Services Program. Through these sources, the family was able to access financial assistance for gas to and from various appointments, funds for motel lodging and meals while their daughter was undergoing surgery in another community, funds to purchase propane for the home. With these concerns addressed, the Johnson’s could focus on a long term plan to address their financial concerns. Their overall goal was to pay off their past due bills, which would enable them to focus on their current monthly expenses, with any money remaining each month being set aside for future emergency purposes. To prevent future shutoffs, the utility companies were contacted and presented with a repayment plan that was acceptable to them. Once the family's critical needs were met, the family was assisted in developing a weekly budget that would enable them to work on paying off their past due bills. The family was encouraged to utilize the CAAs emergency food pantry as that would provide them with the cash they saved on groceries being able to be applied to their past due bills and court costs. As they continued to work with the case manager on these financial issues, they became more secure with developing and following a budget and paying their bills. They are now working on maintaining their improved financial situation and no longer need services or emergency funds to get them through. CSBG funds were critical to the services provided as CSBG is the core funding for the agency in covering operating costs, and is the funding source for case management services. The emergency services program utilizes CSBG to cover administrative costs, also. • "Jeff" is a 42 year old single man with diabetes who was referred to the CAA by a social worker at the local hospital. He was recovering from surgery on his foot and needed to come to the hospital three times a day for four weeks for IV treatments to prevent the spread of infection, and the amputation that would have to be done if they could not keep the infection under control. Jeff had no family he could rely on, and lived too far out of town to be able to drive in every day for the treatments. Arrangements were discussed with the local convalescent homes, but they turned him down because of his age. He didn't know anyone else in town that he could stay with, so he had few options. The CAA utilized CSBG funding to cover Jeff's expenses in the CAA's transitional house that happened to be vacant at this time. He lived there rent free as he had no income. The CAA also used CSBG funds to issue him a gas voucher so he could get gas for his vehicle, which enabled him to get to and from the hospital for the treatments. The agency had access to a diabetes grant that provided him with a 30 day supply of his insulin and supplies to get through the period until his application for Medical Assistance could be processed and approved. While he was living in the transitional house, his electricity on his own home was about to be disconnected. With the help of the statewide Energy Share program that is managed by the CAAs, the agency was able to cover the outstanding electric bill which ensured that when he was able to return to his home again he would have electrical power and his credit would be in good standing. When Jeff finished with his series of medical treatments, and he was ready to move home, he found himself to be homeless because someone else had moved into his home, which was actually owned by a family member. CSBG funding was used by the CAA to pay his first month's rent in an apartment of his own. CAA staff worked with the county housing authority to secure an apartment for him that was adequate and affordable. Jeff continues to live in this apartment and is back to work and getting along well without assistance. The emergency and case management services provided to him were largely financed by CSBG funds, and enabled him to get the necessary medical care, recover from his medical problems, and relocate and return to work and be totally self sufficient Ohio • Spring 2003, Marie, a nineteen-year-old white female participated in the WIA Summer Youth recruitment drive. Marie at the time was a high school dropout, unemployed, and had just become homeless. Despite all of her obstacles, Marie decided to enroll in the WIA Summer Youth Program. During this time Marie was referred to our Housing Department and our Emergency Services Department. Here she received assistance and secured a place of residency through subsidized housing. She was also assisted with food through our Emergency Service Department. Through the “Life and Work Skills” meetings over the course of the summer, Marie was instructed on resume construction, proper interview attire and conduct, and home skills such as personal finance and managing a checking account. During this time the One Stop Center gave Marie information on attaining her GED, which she has now completed in November 2004. She is now employed at a local nursing home, and is preparing for the State Tested Nurse Aid training. The customer achieved self-sufficiency by self-improvement; she achieved her goals by seeking assistance and following through on the services that were provided to her. The Community Action succeeded in making adequate referrals and provided the customer a range of services that met her needs. • Eighteen months ago Jane walked into our Medina office seeking assistance with her electric bill through the Winter Crisis Program. After meeting with the Social Service Specialist, to process her WCP application, Jane proceeded to tearfully tell the circumstances that had brought her into our office. Jane is employed at a low paying service job and works as many hours as possible just to keep food on the table. Jane’s husband had lost his job and has been unable to find and keep gainful employment. As the parent of three teenage daughters, Jane was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to turn for help. Entering into our CAWM Basic Program, the Social Service Specialist, assessed the needs of this family. Jane was unaware of the kinds of assistance she was eligible to receive. The Social Service Specialist referred Jane to the Medina County Department of Jobs and Family Services for assistance with food stamps and health care for the children and job training skills. Additionally, a referral was made to the Medina Metropolitan Housing Authority, in order to find affordable housing. Budgeting assistance was also provided, as well as other needed referrals. For eighteen months the Social Service Specialist assisted Jane in her efforts to improve her life situation. Ten months ago, Jane and her family moved into a Metropolitan Housing Authority approved home. They are able to keep current on most bills and the children have health coverage through Healthy Start. Before Christmas, Jane came in to see the Social Service Specialist and joyfully announced her husband had found a position that would pay over $30,000 a year. Jane stated, “Just think, next year we will be back to being a normal family” • A thirty-six year old Hispanic female, mother of two children, was referred to the Tremont NOC by the Multicultural Multilingual Education Center. She had left Connecticut and come to Cleveland to leave a life-threatening domestic situation she arrived in the city with nothing but the clothes that she and her children had on their backs and moved in with another family. The Tremont NOC provided counsel and assistance to help her receive financial aid, housing, transportation, clothing, food, personal hygiene, medical services for her and the children, employment referrals, and help to overcome depression. This story demonstrates the importance of information and referral, coordination with other service providers, and family support with case management. The Tremont NOC Family Development Specialist escorted the client to St. Vincent DePaul and Redeemer where she received clothing and shoes for the family. She was referred to the Tremont Health Center for treatment and care for immediate health needs. The FDS assisted her to complete the application process for County cash assistance benefits, food stamps, and health benefits. The FDS referred the client to the CEOGC Family Development Unit’s case manager assigned to Tremont NOC for help with issues of depression. After the client received financial assistance for housing from a family member, she found housing, and the FDS located an area church that donated a refrigerator and stove to the client. The FDS then provided certificates for food and vouchers for hygiene product purchases from a local grocer, all possible with the use of CSBG funds. Also CSBG funds were used to provide winter coats, a school uniform for one of the children, and bed linen for the family. The family also received holiday food and gifts from the Tremont NOC. The client is currently employed part-time as an office manager, has gotten her depression under control with proper medication, and registered to vote after attending a Tremont voter education seminar. Oklahoma • CSBG completely funded Northeast Oklahoma Community Action Agency's 2003 VITA tax preparation initiative. The program focuses on providing free tax preparation services for Head Start families, with activities primarily conducted at Head Start facilities. Primary purpose of the program is to maximize the EITC and CTC for young working families. The following narratives help to show the impact the program had on families served: • Connie, a Head Start parent with three sons utilized the program to avoid paying to have her tax return done. She had received refund anticipation loans in the past and realized the fees were high and you only received about half of your return back, with the remainder eaten up in fees. In the first year she utilized the agency's tax preparation services, Connie had four W-2s and a very broken work history. As a follow-up to tax preparation, Connie was given information and counseling regarding job retention. In 2003, Connie had only one W-2. She was able to save most of the first year's return for her children's educations. • Laura, a single parent with one child had been working her way through college. When she learned how much her EITC and CTC were she broke down and cried. Laura had managed to purchase a home, and used her first year's refund to purchase new carpeting for the home. The money received in 2003 was used to help her finish her education and plan for a Master's degree in elementary education. Oregon • In response to the need for affordable housing Community Action Team, Inc., embarked on establishing a Self-Help Housing Program. In partnership with Rural Development five lots were obtained and families recruited for the project. The project came to fruition during the last six months. In October of 2003 all five homes were completed. Each family contributed 1,600 hours of sweat equity. The sweat equity along with donated materials and a grant from Rural Development lowered mortgage rates to $350 per month for three bedroom and 1.5 bath houses with estimated values of $130,000. Four of the five houses are now owned by single parent, female headed low-income families. All of the families will be able to move out of poverty status due to this program. CSBG funds were used to help pay for the staff person who recruited and trained project participants. All five clients stayed with the project through to completion. This was critical for the project’s success. Without CSBG funds we would not have had the capacity to adequately support clients during the construction phase. This could have cause client turn over and jeopardized project success. • The Money Management Program (MMP) began 14 years ago by Clackamas County Community Action. During the 2002-03 fiscal years, 182 volunteers, serving 9,365 hours, assisted 407 low-income people with bill paying or as representative payees. The volunteer representatives were responsible for $2,914.000 Social Security Administration and Veteran’s Administration benefits for their clients. This program is a partnership between Clackamas County Community Action Agency’s Volunteer Connection, managing the MMP, Clackamas County Aging & Disability Services, Clackamas County Mental Health, 10 Focal Point Senior Centers, Social Security Administration, Veteran’s Administration, US Bank, and AARP National Money Management Program. For client’s to be eligible for service from the MMP, they must have $1,731 or less in monthly income. For the most part, clients served do not have the capacity for increasing their income due to mental or physical disabilities. The goal of the MMP is to help client remain independent and safe, using the limited income available to them. Volunteers receive and distribute client income to insure that their basic needs, shelter, food, and medications, are met. Volunteers are bonded and accounts insured by the AARP’s National Money Management Program. All accounts are monitored on a monthly basis. Approximately 60% percent of the 407 clients served this year are client of Clackamas County Mental Health. Case managers report that the services provided by the representative payee volunteers are as important to their client’s stability as are their housing and medication. Using CSBG funds, MMP is able to pay for an eighteen hour a week position for the only paid MMP staff to recruit, train, problem solve, and supervise 182 volunteers. This staff person also oversees the monitoring of each account monthly to insure proper use of clients’ funds. Without this half time position, impact in the community would be 200 additional people would be at risk of becoming homeless, financially abused, without medication and other basic needs. Following are three real situations in which client’s lives have been improved and protected due to the MMP services that they received. o Client profile: 45 year old Mental Health client. This woman was being evicted from her apartment because of past due rent. Clackamas County Protective Services referred client to MMP. A volunteer was assigned as representative by Social Security Administration, SSA, to be responsible for client’s monthly SSA benefit. The volunteer made arrangements with the landlord to accept payments over 3 months for the past due amount and that he would promise the rent would be paid on time in the future. Without the assistance of the volunteer, the client would have been homeless. o Client profile: Elderly man who is legally blind. This client lives alone and with the assistance of neighbors helping with shopping and chores and a volunteer bill payer, remains in his home. The bill payer established a budget, reviews and reads client’s mail to him reconciles bank statements and writes the checks for the client to sign. He says, “I don’t have to worry about my electricity being shut off and for the first time in my life, I have a savings account all because John helps o Client profile: Elderly woman, slightly confused and very lonely. This woman was referred by a local senior center that delivered Meals on Wheels to her. The Meals on Wheels driver noticed a shut off notice from the electric company on the clients table. The Client Services Coordinator at the senior center learned that the client’s grandchildren were coning her out of money. A MMP volunteer representative payee was appointed by SSA. The volunteer established an account in another bank and arranged for her utilities to be paid automatically. The volunteer insures she has clothes, medical care, and basic needs are met. • A 17-year-old young man, “Sam”, first came to HOME Youth & Resource Center, a day shelter for at-risk and homeless teens funded in part with CSBG, in the summer of 2002. He was homeless, living occasionally with relatives or, more often, living in homeless camps near the Willamette River. He was a heavy user of alcohol, had dropped out of school, and his parents had kicked him out of the house. Sam started coming to HOME, at least once or twice a week, to have a meal, take a shower, and use the computer. As he became comfortable talking with staff, they began to encourage him to become more self-sufficient. At first, Sam wasn’t interested in making any changes. Eventually, he became more willing to seek out assistance. HOME’s (Continuum of Care) Homeless Youth Case Manager began working with him with the goal of eventually obtaining housing. This prospect was the beginning of a turnaround for Sam, giving him hope and an enthusiasm that had not been seen before. He enrolled in the Oregon Health Care plan, and was referred to HOME’s on-site Substance Abuse Counselor. He began outpatient treatment. As a result of these changes, Sam’s relationship with his parents was restored and he now both lives and works with them. He is taking anti-depressant medications regularly and has been clean and sober for several months. Pennsylvania • Westmoreland Human Opportunities, Inc. (WHO). M. R. enrolled in Westmoreland Human Opportunities, Inc.'s Supported Work Program in September 2001 after he quit his job with Delta Airlines to care for his three young sons. While employed by Delta, M.R. worked outside the state and returned home on weekends to be with his wife and children. His wife was struggling with some very difficult times due to her own mother's battle with terminal bone cancer. She was also living with her mother as the primary care giver. M.R. was surprised when he learned that his wife had a substance abuse problem, was unable to care for their boys properly, and that they no longer had a home in which to live. Subsequently, M.R. took his young boys and moved in with his parents while he looked for work. Once M.R. started in the Supported Work Program, he was referred to WHO's Next Steps Supportive Housing Program and the Family and Youth Program. The family had already been receiving services from the Westmoreland County Children's Bureau. Within two weeks of beginning Supported Work, M.R.'s parents insisted that he and the boys move out because of insufficient space. The Supported Work case manager referred M.R. to the Bethlehem Project, where he received assistance with hotel lodging until Next Steps Supportive Housing had an available apartment. The Supported Work case manager also submitted special allowances to the County Assistance Office for clothing, car repairs, car registration, mileage reimbursement, and childcare. On a daily basis the Next Steps Supportive Housing Program provided M.R. and his family with intensive case management and assisted him in obtaining additional community resources. The program also supplied him with transportation when his vehicle was not working, so he could access these resources. With his mechanical background, M.R. soon found employment at Rocky Mountain Garage. At this point, he did not continue to maintain contact with the Supported Work Program believing it unnecessary since he had employment and housing. Several weeks after terminating from the Supported Work Program, he quit his job at Rocky Mountain Garage and accepted employment at Williamhouse in Mount Pleasant. A few months later, he was laid off from Williamhouse. After being laid off, he became very depressed at the loss of his job and not having access to a working vehicle. M.R. did not want to return to Public Assistance; however, with the help of the Next Steps Supportive Housing caseworker, he did obtain Public Assistance and began setting goals for himself. He returned to the Supported Work Program in September 2002 and this time he promised to stay in contact and complete the program. He began looking for work using the Supported Work computer lab by enrolling in CareerLink, Monster.com and hotjobs. He was able to obtain a new car through the County Assistance Office to ensure that he would have reliable transportation. In November 2002, M.R. located a job more suitable to his skills at Nash-Elmo Industries in Elizabeth Township as a pipe fitter. He earned $23,232 a year. At the end of October 2003, M. R. and his family, including his wife, will be exiting Next Steps Supportive Housing Program. They are in the process of securing permanent housing in a three bedroom home in Greensburg. Their oldest son is a starting defensive lineman on the little league football team. M.R. did complete his six months with the Supported Work Program and demonstrated the knowledge of available community resources and tax credits. He now has a better understanding of himself and his family. WHO's Supported Work Program is funded through a grant from the Department of Public Welfare and the Department of Community and Economic Development. The Next Steps Supportive Housing Program is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with match monies from the County of Westmoreland. All administrative expenses for WHO are paid out of Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds. Therefore, none of the agency's programs would be able to exist to meet the needs of the county's disadvantaged individuals without the support of CSBG. • County of Chester, Department of Community Development. El, her husband, and small child, came from Morocco for the opportunity of a better life. They came to this country with no money and little knowledge of English to communicate their needs. Additionally, prior to leaving Morocco, El's husband suffered a massive stroke that left him with substantial brain damage. After being in the United States for only seven months, El and her family gained temporary shelter at St Mary's Franciscan Shelter in Phoenixville, PA, an agency which is partially funded by Chester County's Community Action Agency. In early 2001, while at St. Mary's, El worked in the Housekeeping Department at a local nursing home. She took a bus to work, while taking driving lessons. She eventually passed her driver's test. El also participated in the Family Savings Partner Program (FSPP), a countywide savings program administered by Open Hearth, a CSBG-funded agency, located in Spring City, PA. The program allowed her to save money toward the purchase of a home. The shelter staff helped El apply for homeownership through Habitat for Humanity of Chester County. From the shelter, El and her family moved into an apartment that was subsidized through Open Hearth's Goal Achievement Program (GAP). El wanted to learn how to better manage her money, improve her English skills and become a homeowner! It was during this time that El learned she was pregnant with her second child. While pregnant, El worked vigorously on her "sweat equity" hours with Habitat. The staff at Habitat reported that no one had ever completed their hours as quickly or was as committed to meeting their goal. When the year was over, the family became homeowners through Habitat for Humanity. El secured a home through Habitat before the birth of her son. El quickly returned to work as a Nurse's Aide and soon realized that she needed to generate more income to support her family. This very determined woman convinced her supervisor that she would be more of an asset if she provided direct service to their residents. She became a nursing assistant. Another accomplishment during El's participation in GAP and FSPP was to improve her English skills. She was connected with the Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Chester County, a CSBG funded agency, where she received tutoring and El's exceptional motivation earned her a "Rising Star Award" for achieving the goals set with OIC. In July 2002, El went to the Community, Youth and Women's Alliance (CYWA) seeking support. El and her Case Manager explored schools where she could receive training to become a Certified Nurse's Assistant. El enrolled and completed her education, graduating with Honors. Certification as a Nurse's Assistant allowed El to receive a substantial raise in salary. Additionally, the Case Manager and El investigated employment options for her husband. The Case Manager referred El's husband to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in Chester County for evaluation and job training. El's husband has now found work in a local restaurant. El also secured a Family Advocate at the CYWA Family Center. El's family was new to the community and the Family Center provided assistance in enrolling their oldest son in school and in obtaining child care services for the baby. Today, Ms. El is saving again in Open Hearth's Family Savings Partner Program. Her next goal is the purchase of a reliable car. And there is no doubt that she will accomplish this goal according to plan by the end of April 2004. El's determination to seek support when needed and her unbelievable drive to accomplish goals has allowed her family to become self-sufficient. She has faced many obstacles in attaining these goals, including language barriers and her husband's illness. Her perseverance and the support of all of the programs funded by the Chester County Community Action Agency helped her to succeed. • Community Progress Council, Inc. H. M., a 26 year old single mother of two children had been working to care for her family but after a brief stay in the hospital, she was diagnosed with a tumor. Since she had to take time off work to get treatment, she fell behind on her bill payments. H was faced with a family crisis and went to the Red Lion Community Center to seek help. H applied for the Emergency Crisis Fuel Program but the staff at the Red Lion Center assessed her situation and found other areas of need. Their goal was to help her once again, attain self-sufficiency. The agency paid for her past due heating bills and had kerosene delivered to her residence so the family would have fuel. With the holidays quickly approaching and funds being limited, the agency arranged for her family to be "adopted" by another family who provided Christmas gifts for H and her family. This included toys, clothing, household items and a food basket. It also allowed time for H to focus on re-establishing herself. H had to overcome many obstacles to reach a new level of independence. She received encouragement from friends, family, neighbors, and our agency. This helped to build H's self-esteem. She then realized how attainable her goals were for herself. In her effort to become independent, H set several goals for herself. She wanted to return to the workforce, obtain a driver's study materials. Although H still had to rely on others for transportation, she returned to work. During this time, she obtained a driving permit and began practicing the skill of driving. Once she obtained a driver's license, her next goal was to acquire a car. H continued to work with the staff at Red Lion and applied for a car through the Grace Ministry Car Program. H came to the agency with the goal of applying for the Energy Crisis Program when her family was in turmoil. Through the program's assistance, H established goals to help her achieve a self-sufficient lifestyle. Her quest to attain her driver’s license, establish employment, and obtain a car, was all a part of H's desire to become independent. H has reported to the agency that she is totally independent. Without the help of the Community Progress Council and the Community Centers, H does not believe she would have achieved her goals. She has said that it is agencies like the Community Centers that make it possible for low-income individuals and families to move towards a more thriving and self-sufficient life Puerto Rico • Sixty percent of the Island's population is under the poverty level, thus the need for adequate and safe housing is of most importance. Last year through the Housing Improvement Program, 1,152 houses with family unit comprised by children, handicap people and or elderly person obtained the services to restore their home and the essential supplies to make progress in their quality of life. • The CSBG funds contributed to lower the high unemployment rate of Puerto Rico, by means of the Employment Program, to 550 jobless persons with the experience of on the job training and job opportunities, therefore increasing their auto-sufficiency. • In the course of the Programmatic Year the goal was to attend and assist 10 communities in Puerto Rico under the levels of poverty. Through the Economic Development Program 790 participants received technical and financial assistance for the development and strengthen of their owned businesses. Rhode Island • Joe, a Hispanic bilingual man in his late twenties responsible for a wife, children and his Mother, came to the agency one day on the advice of his employer, a local drug chain store. Joe was eligible for a promotion to store manager and because of his language skills and work ethic the company was very eager to promote him, but he had no secondary credential, a requirement for advancement. The Blackstone Valley Community Action Agency provided GED presetting, tutoring in subjects he needed assistance with, and scheduled and facilitated testing. Joe completed his GED and was promoted. • A family being evicted from an apartment due to the sale of their house was on the verge of homelessness. The family could not find an apartment it could afford on their wages. Both adults were employed but the mother was experiencing medical problems. They were moved into an affordable housing unit where they pay only 30% of their income for housing. The family has a place to live, they continue to work and are not on financial assistance. CSBG and Community Development Block Grant funds provide for this program by Westbay Community Action Agency. • "Jane Smith" was referred to a Comprehensive CAA Social Services Case Manager for rental assistance through the Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP). Ms. Smith had received EHAP in the past and additional financial help was contingent on her participating in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. After several FSS meetings, Ms. Smith improved her skills in three different areas. Her money management skills improved. She was able to discipline herself to keep to her budget and save money each week for her housing costs. She enrolled in adult education classes that helped her gain additional work skills. She revised her resume, attended job fairs and finally obtained suitable employment. Her involvement in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program at Comprehensive Community Action lasted about four months. Ms. Smith later found a better paying job and she reports her employment is both personally and economically satisfying. She pays her rent on time and has not had a housing South Carolina • Aiken-Barnwell. Number One. Ms. B is a single mom with three young children. She was devastated when the company she worked for laid her off; she worked for them for eight years. Ms. B. was struggling to hold her family together and the emotional toll was taxing her very heavily. She had always been able to provide for and meet the needs of her family; she was embarrassed that she had to ask for help. Aiken/Barnwell CAA helped this family in a number of ways. Assistance was provided by the Agency to prevent termination of household utilities. Ms. B was enrolled in the CSBG Case Management Program. She was referred to the One Stop Career Center for help in finding a job. Three months later, Ms. B. is working full-time with the County Transportation Department. She continues to work and is able to support her family. She’s happy she no longer needs the Agency’s services. CSBG funding played a critical role in helping this family regain stability. Number Two. Mr. R was a 69 year old man who had worked and supported his family until he was diagnosed with cancer five years ago. He & his wife have been living on a fixed income of Social Security and Disability since then. His cancer spread and it was determined that he had little time left. Following the news that he would not survive, his wish was to return home for his last days. His wife was referred to Aiken/Barnwell CAC by the hospital and explained that Home Health Services and Hospice had made a home visit and determined that based on her husband’s condition and the condition of their home; it would not be a suitable environment for Mr. R. This household was referred to our Weatherization Program and within a matter of hours the application had been taken and a home visit was made to determine what work was needed in the home. Since the weatherization component could not do all of the repairs needed, a partnership was formed with United Way in order to complete all the work necessary to bring this home up to suitable living conditions. Plumbing was repaired, a water heater and bathtub installed, flooring replaced, some minor electrical repairs were made and new windows and doors were installed. Following a return visit by the Hospice representative this terminally ill man was allowed to return to his newly refurbished home. In addition to his joy at being able to return home, he stated his happiness was highlighted by the knowledge that his wife would be left with a decent place to live when he was gone. Sadly, he was only able to enjoy the home for a few hours. Mr. R. passed away the next day. Through the diligent work and coordination of the Weatherization Program and the United Way, both of Mr. R's wishes came true, he was able to die in his own home surrounded by the people and things that meant the most to him and his wife’s standard of living was upgraded, so that she is now able to remain in their home to live out her years. Number Three. This young lady was 21 years old when she came into the Aiken/Barnwell CAC office. Patricia was unemployed, had just graduated from high school and had no job skills. She had been raised in foster care and had grown up in a very troubled environment. She became aware of the Workforce Investment Act Project through friends when she determined that she needed assistance in furthering her education in order to support herself. She applied for and was enrolled in WIA in August of 2001. She began classes in Nursing at the local Technical College and worked part- time while attending school. In spite of encountering numerous obstacles; such as transportation problems and having to leave her foster home, she persevered and continued to pursue her nursing degree and in May of 2003 she graduated. Upon graduation she was offered a job in Georgia and through coordinative efforts and the help of DSS she was able to move into a place of her own. Presently she is working at the Medical College of Georgia and earns $18.00 per hour. CSBG funds provided a crucial role by providing supportive services and facilities for the WIA Project, essential in moving Patricia to independence. Patricia continues to thrive; she is working and has returned to school on her own to pursue an advanced nursing degree. • Beaufort-Jasper Economic Opportunity Council. Ms. Roberts is the single mother of four (4) children and was trying to make ends meet with a small amount of income. One of the children was receiving social security. Of course this amount of money alone coming into the home could not secure a family of five. Ms. Roberts who is unemployed with four children depending on her to supply there needs went out to seek assistance from other sources. Ms. Roberts came to the Beaufort /Jasper EOC office for assistance with her electric bill in the amount of $115.08. This amount would assure her electricity from being terminated but the household was still at risk of not having the other family necessities. When Ms. Roberts came to the EOC office she explained that she was out of work for almost a year and had put in employment applications at a number of places but had no results. She also explained that she had followed up on the places that she had placed applications but said no one was hiring at the time. Ms. Roberts was desperate and was trying to be the best parent that she could possibly be while in the situation that she was experiencing. Beaufort/ Jasper EOC assisted Ms. Roberts with her electricity through the LIHEAP program and referred her to Jasper County One Stop so that she could find other job sources. Ms. Roberts followed up on some leads she had found on the computer at Jasper One Stop. One of the leads was Wal-Mart, which is where she desired to work. She went and filled out the application at Wal-Mart as soon as she could. Ms. Roberts was case managed. Therefore her case manager needed follow up documentations concerning her seeking employment. Ms. Roberts came into the office and her case manager had Wal-Mart to fax the information to her. At that time one of the Wal-Mart supervisors spoke to Ms. Roberts and told her that she had the job and to come to orientation on that Friday. Ms. Roberts was very excited and pleased about her effort in seeking employment. Ms. Roberts is now employed fulltime at Wal-Mart. This job was a dream come true for Ms. Roberts and her family because now she has a secure job with benefits. Now she and her four children are moving toward self-sufficiency. CSBG funding is in part responsible for the positive outcome. Berkeley-Dorchester Counties Economic Development Corporation. Sandra, a married, but separated mother of three (3), came into our Moncks Corner Office to inquire about the Weatherization Program. The program was explained to her, afterwards, an application was taken and the necessary documents were obtained. A Weatherization Program Staff went to Sandra’s home on 9/11/01 to conduct an assessment. Upon arrival, the staff once again explained the procedures of the Weatherization Program to her and then proceeded (inside first) to conduct the room to room assessment. The assessment revealed the following: Master Bath - the commode sat on top of ¾” plywood, with only • SHARE, Inc.. Ms. S left an abusive spouse and moved back home with family. Knowing that her family could not support her and her son, she came to SHARE for help in finding employment and/or training opportunities. With our assistance she successfully completed the Certified Nursing Assistant Program. Ms. S now has a full- time job, has had her car repaired, and has her own apartment. This customer’s self- sufficiency was made possible through the CSBG funded Comprehensive Case Management Project and the WIA funded Ladder Program which is operated by SHARE. In the summer of 2003 Angela come to SHARE seeking energy assistance. She was unemployed at that time because she had no child care and no means of transportation. The case worker resolved the energy crisis using LIHEAP funding. The customer was given a referral to Head Start and assisted in preparing the application. The child was accepted into the Head Start Program and began school in September 2003. The case worker continued to work with Angela to assist her with her transportation problem. Currently, Angela is working part-time and working toward her GED. CSBG was critical in providing staff for case management services to this customer. This service provided access and coordination of services which benefited both mother and child. Alice came to SHARE after she had undergone a mastectomy due to breast cancer. She had applied for disability six months earlier but had not been awarded disability. Alice had no income at the time and had not been well enough to go to DSS to apply for food stamps and was about to be evicted. She was still quite ill. The CSBG case manager resolved the eviction crisis using CSBG funds. She then secured paperwork from DSS for a food stamp application and made a home visit to assist Alice in preparing them. She returned them to DSS and arranged for a DSS case worker to do a telephone interview with Alice. Alice was given food stamps. During this process, SHARE provided Alice with food including Ensure which her doctor has recommended. The initial disability request was denied. The CSBG case manager assisted in the appeal process and monitored one toilet bolt keeping it in place; the floor beneath the bath tub was rotted beyond repair, so, it was not in use; Kitchen- the Alice for other ways she could be assisted including LIHEAP, and other Partnership Projects. After two years of struggle and ceiling was about 5 to 6 inches above the staff’s head (he came very close from touching it). The staff asked Sandra about the stress, the disability was approved. CSBG funding was critical in providing assistance to Alice. South Dakota • JT was homeless after his family had abandoned him. He was sleeping in old cars or on city park benches, existing from pillar to post with no direction in his life. He came to Northeast South Dakota Community Action Program (NESDCAP) as a protective payee, where a caring and understanding staff began to help him sort out his life. All attempts to locate housing arrangements ended in failure. While filing an application for housing through the Sisseton Housing Authority, a staff member contacted the South Dakota Department of Human Services, Division of Developmentally Disabled Person. Working together, staff members from both agencies contacted staff from ATCO enterprises (an agency serving developmentally disabled individuals). Together, they were able to place JT in a home care facility, whose mission is to provide a place for homeless, developmentally disabled persons. Today, JT ahs rebuilt his life and is employed at a part time job. But most significant is that he has rekindled his creative talents, that of making Native American beadwork jewelry allowing with drawing pictures and doing leatherwork. CSBG funds were used to underwrite all the personnel and non-personnel costs of NESDCAP’s part in rehabilitating this client • Community Service Workers (CSW) worked with another couple aged 73 and 78. Their total income in 2001 was $565 per month, and they were paying $293 for their medications, leaving them $272 per month for food, energy and all other bills. The CSW helped them to apply for SSI and Medicaid, both of which they now receive. Their income in 2003 was $837 per month, a 48% increase, and their medication costs have been lowered to $35 per month, providing them $802 per month to live on. This is almost a 300% increase in their disposable income. While their income is still slightly below the poverty level, this drastic increase in disposable income has greatly improved their lives. This examples demonstrates the drastic impact of medical costs, especially for prescription medications, on the lives of low-income persons. While this example addresses households with members age 60 and above, younger households (especially children with disabilities who require medications) are affected as well. These examples also demonstrate the value of Inter Lakes Community Action Community Service Workers, who have the knowledge, expertise and compassion necessary for them to provide this kind of assistance to persons in need. • Many low income people do not get jobs because of job requirements-example tools, steel toed shoes or must be a licensed certified nursing assistant. The Western Community Action Agency has developed two programs to meet these needs. They are the employment assistance and the employment enhancement loan programs. The employment assistance program serves people who have secured employment but need tools, uniforms to get a job. Western Community Action will assist the person with up to $150 to get the accentual items. The money is paid directly to the vendor. The employer is asked to payroll deduct $10.00 per pay period to repay this loan. The employment enhancement program can assist a client with up to $250 for such things as classes- Certified Nurse Assistant, gaming license etc. The individual is asked to repay the loan when employment is secured. 141 people were assisted through these two programs. Tennessee • CSBG agency staff has provided us with many examples of how their staff assisted clients with CSBG as well as through collaboration with community partners. Much of the work undertaken by the CSBG program is in the form of encouragement, advice, and creative solutions. Many of the clients come to the agency requesting Crisis Intervention but are encouraged to find long-range solutions from agency staff in the form of life-long solutions to their problems whether they be elderly or an unemployed or underemployed individual. The first example of CSBG intervention is provided by South Central Human Resource Agency in Fayetteville, Tennessee. Roy Tipps is the Executive Director. Pat Johnson is the CSBG Director for the agency: In a very rural county in Tennessee, a woman came into one of our local offices for assistance. She had attempted to leave her husband on several occasions due to domestic violence within the home but always found it necessary to return home because she could not support herself and her two children. When the situation got to the point of being impossible, she knew she had to do something. She came into our office, and we referred her to a local shelter for battered women temporarily until we could work out something. We checked with the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program and the local Public Housing Authority to seek out available housing. We were able to obtain a subsidized rental unit for her, and through the CSBG Crisis Program and help from some of our partners, we were able to make arrangements for the deposit and utility deposits necessary to move into the unit. Again, with the help of our partners, we were able to secure some used furniture. We referred her to the Department of Human Services to see if she would qualify for Families First. She would not be required to pay any rent at this time, so with the help of Food Stamps, she would be able to maintain a home for her family. She had no real work experience, as she had gotten married and had her children right after high school. She needed a work skill she could depend on to make a living for her family. She expressed a genuine interest in the nursing field, and we felt that through Families First she could possibly realize her dream. With the help of a grant, she was able to apply and be accepted to study nursing at a vocational school. We helped her work out a child care plan suitable to her schedule and she was able to arrange for payment of the child care through the Certificate Program. She has almost completed her schooling. From time to time she has needed either financial or emotional help. We have continued to check on her progress, offer her encouragement, and help her find help when financial assistance was needed. Upon completion of her training, she will have no problem getting a job since nurses are so badly needed in this area. Her main goal from the beginning was to become self- sufficient, and through hard work and determination and a helping hand now and then, she will be able to accomplish her goal. • The second example of CSBG intervention for the elderly is provided by Knoxville Knox County Community Action Committee in Knoxville, Tennessee. Barbara Kelly is the Executive Director. Sue Campbell is their Community Services Director: A new home means dignity, safety, and the chance to live independently: Mr. and Mrs. P. are both in their 80's. They have complex health problems and take a lot of medication. Mr. P. has memory loss due to a stroke and Mrs. P is his only care-giver. The CSBG case manager made a home visit when she learned that Mr. and Mrs. P. were doing without needed medication because they could not afford it. She found that lack of medication was only one of many problems. The house was falling apart due to termite infestation and lack of repair; the roof was leaking and the floor had fallen in. The couple had many unmet health and safety needs. The CSBG case manager was able to put together a comprehensive plan: Medicine was arranged free of charge through the Knox County Health Department. Volunteers were scheduled to deliver medicine, run errands, and grocery shop. Mobile Meals started to deliver a hot lunch everyday. Eye exams and new eyeglasses were secured through the Gift of Sight and Hearing. The Memory Loss Support Program provided a Senior Companion two days a week and arranged for respite for Mr. P. when Mrs. P was hospitalized. When it was determined that their home was beyond repair, the CSBG worker helped them secure assistance through a city program to have a modest, but affordable home built on their property. This is an example of how CSBG dollars for staffing made it possible to leverage and arrange the services needed to meet this couple’s complex and multifaceted needs. Mr. and Mrs. P. are now living safely and independently within their limited income in the neighborhood that they have called home for more than 50 years. • The third example of CSBG intervention is provided by Metropolitan Action Commission in Nashville, Tennessee. Cynthia Croom is the Executive Director. Charles Jones is their Community Services Director: Ms. Z. was a successful Respiratory Therapist in Nashville. After the death of a close family member, she slipped into a major depression. She was unable to maintain her affairs while receiving psychological treatment. Due to excessive her excessive absence, she was eventually terminated from her employment. She then lost her home as she could no longer pay her mortgage. Ms. Z came to the Metropolitan Action Commission Self-sufficiency Job Training Program in order to prepare to re-enter the job market. She had been unemployed for approximately one year and was residing at the Nashville Rescue Mission Women’s Shelter. We assisted Ms. Z in re-applying for her state licensure as a Respiratory Therapist. We assisted Ms. Z in building her resume and rebuilding her confidence. After participating in the Self-sufficiency program for several weeks, she was able to re-enter the health field. She was hired full time at a local hospital. Her base pay rate is currently $20.22 per hour plus shift differentials. She is also eligible for full medical benefits through her employer’s health insurance program. Due to this client’s hard work, determination and participation in the CSBG/Self-sufficiency program Ms. Z is no longer living at the Women’s Shelter. CSBG provided funding for the instructions, transportation and uniforms for the customer to wear to work. Texas • The case management component at Cameron & Willacy Counties Community Projects, Inc. in Brownsville assisted a family of six (6) to transition out of poverty. The family initially requested utility assistance in 2002, but was enrolled in case management after the intake process disclosed that the head of household had lost his job and the spouse was only working part-time. The agency began working with the family by providing job referrals for the husband and information about college education for the wife. The family also received budget counseling and attended home-buying seminars. The husband was able to find full-time employment through a job referral and eventually moved to a higher paying job. The wife also found full-time employment and is attending night classes. The family was transitioned out of poverty in 2003 and they are in the process of completing the purchase of their first home. CSBG is used to partially fund the case management component of Cameron & & Willacy. • Panhandle Community Services (PCS) in Amarillo was awarded a CSBG discretionary grant to assist families in the 26 counties they serve with basic needs. The families selected for assistance are those who participate in their Families in Training (FIT) program. These families are provided with a "house-warming" basket full of house cleaning supplies, basic linens, and other goods that cannot be purchased with food stamps. In addition, funding for transportation (minor car repairs, limited travel/gas vouchers and car inspections), hygiene products, clothing for school, diapers and school supplies for parents attending college was also provided. PCS assisted 704 families with a total of 3,215 family members. • Greater East Texas Community Action Program (GETCAP) in Nacogdoches utilized CSBG funding to initiate and support a fan drive throughout their 11 county service area. They partnered with a local radio station to provide advertising for the project and at the same time inform individuals about the agency and the services they provide. Wal-Mart matched donations in three counties, and another partner conducted a benefit show with all proceeds going towards the project. Approximately 400 fans and 36 small air conditioners were collected and distributed to needy families. Utah • This agency serves the Dagget, Uintah & Duchesne Counties of Utah - Continuing the Emergency Work Program - Working in conjunction with Department of Workforce Services, the food pantries have provided a work/learning environment for emergency work program participants. The individuals are required to work 32 hours per week. This leaves ample time for clients to perform job searches to improve their situation. The experience they gain and the feeling of accomplishment for helping those in need has proved to be priceless. Currently the Duchesne County Food Pantry employs a former emergency work participant as a assistant manager. • This agency serves the northern area of Utah - Weber County Utah - OWCAP partnered with Ogden City for Neighborhood Career Center. The Center helps individuals with resumes, job search, and eliminating barriers to employment. Many of our low-income people have a great comfort level coming to the Agency and they receive many services to assist them in finding and sustaining employment. This program works in conjunction with a youth connection program we received a grant for. This youth connection program help to provide after school care for children who range in ages up to 12 years of age. This program enables the agency to develop a curriculum and to receive staff training for working with young and older children in our ESL program. The children receive health and safety information, computer literacy and mentoring help with their school work. They also receive information on drug awareness, gang and violence information, as well as other topics youth are concerned about. Vermont • CSBG Discretionary funding provided to support a position of veterans' caseworker to work with veterans who are homeless and connects them with mainstream resources. • Funded homeless prevention mortgage intervention position in two counties for families at risk of eviction. Of the families served, over 80% remained in housing. 50% of funding from CSBG. • Assisted in leadership change at an essential food shelf/drop-in center in one county to prevent hunger and homelessness. Virginia • People Incorporated’s “Homeownership” program assists low-income individuals and their families in the transition from poverty to self-sufficiency by providing housing counseling, finance and budgeting counseling, homeownership classes, loan application assistance and processing, and other vital services to prepare them for homeownership. CSBG funding covers the salary of the Housing Coordinator/Counselor who last year leveraged over $300,000 in other funding, served 370 low-income people, and assisted nine individuals to finance, purchase, and move into newly constructed homes. “Pam,” a single mother who was basically homeless and having to depend on the kindness of various family members, was one such individual. As a result of her participation in People’s “Individual Development Account” program, Pam was able to save approximately $3,600 toward a down-payment. People, Inc. staff also assisted her in addressing her credit problems that resulted from the bankruptcy she had been forced to declare during her divorce. Thanks for People, Inc.’s Homeownership program, Pam developed financial literacy skills, secured a Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE) loan, purchased a house, and is now building wealth through the equity being accrued by her new home. • During the 2002-2003 program year, the Lynchburg Community Action Group (LynCAG) administered an ex-offender program that served 579 individuals. Of that number, 217 individuals received career counseling, 671 job leads were provided, 176 individuals were provided clothing, 173 individuals were assisted in finding long term housing, 684 bus passes were provided to individuals seeking employment and other critical services, 54 individuals received family-guidance counseling, 51 individuals were referred to the Social Security Administration for disability benefits, 78 individuals were provided emergency food assistance, and 73 ex-offenders were placed in and retained jobs for a minimum of three months. CSBG funds were critical to maintaining the staff and resources necessary to effectively and efficiently run this challenging program. In addition to CSBG funds, LynCAG’s program receives funding and technical assistance from one of Virginia’s three statewide community action organizations, the Virginia Community Action Re-Entry System (VaCARES). Incidentally, Virginia CARES is itself partially funded by CSBG State Discretionary dollars. The road to successfully placing ex-offenders in the local workforce begins while the ex-offender is still incarcerated. LynCAG’s Virginia CARES program offers the Department of Corrections Pre-released Life Skills curriculum, consisting of 17 component sessions covering employment motivation, anger management, money management, family matters, and parenting. After their release, LynCAG’s program works with ex-offenders to develop a long-range plan for education, employment, and housing and then assists them in securing and retaining employment, their first step out of poverty and toward social and economic independence. In addition to support groups that address employment, substance abuse, healthy relationships, and the many challenges ex-offenders face in adjusting to life outside of a correctional institution, LynCAG also provides emergency support services such as shelter, food, clothing, and transportation and appropriate referrals. • Tori was pregnant, unemployed, had dropped out of high school, and was in an abusive relationship when she was first referred to the New River Community Action (NRCA) Children’s Health Improvement Partnership of the New River Valley (CHIP) program. CHIP seeks to promote health education and access to health care providers for families of children from birth to age seven who are Medicaid or FAMIS eligible. Utilizing CSBG funding to leverage Title IV-E funding, NRCA’s CHIP program assisted Tori with referrals to the Department of Social Services for financial assistance; the local Health Department for WIC, Baby Care, and the Car Seat Program; and New River Community Action’s Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program for needed services. Two years later, Tori was left penniless and a single mother after the father of her child died unexpectedly. With the assistance of NRCA’s CHIP program, Tori attended GED classes, moved into adequate housing, and secured insurance and a medical home for her daughter. Tori has been employed for over a year now and accesses public transportation for herself and for her daughter to go to child care. Tori stated, “CHIP was there for me when no one else was.” Through in-home intensive case management by a Family Case Manager and a Registered Nurse, NRCA’s CHIP program strengthens families with young children, improves community health, and increases family self-sufficiency. During FY 2003, NRCA’s CHIP program assisted 441 persons from 175 families in receiving improved health services. Washington • Coastal Community Action Program: A female client was referred to the Community Jobs Program from the State Department of Health and Human Services with the expectations of gaining skills to help her obtain unsubsidized employment. She was homeless living with family members when she began the Community Jobs Program. She was placed at Grays Harbor College for temporary job placement. At the end of her time with the program, she was hired by the College in an unsubsidized position. She was able to use the program to gain work skills and self-esteem, which resulted in her being hired at a livable wage. She was also able to obtain housing for her and her children. • Community Action Council of Lewis, Mason, and Thurston Counties: After 10 years of marriage, “Sheila” and her 13-year-old daughter were thrown out of their house and totally abandoned by Sheila’s husband, a substance abuser. While they struggled to sustain on Sheila’s part time job, Sheila discovered she was pregnant with twins. Sheila enrolled in WIC and First Steps, a case management program for pregnant moms. These services provided support throughout her pregnancy through home visits from her case manager, her case worker and a registered nurse. Sheila’s pregnancy was difficult but she successfully delivered beautiful, healthy twin girls. Without any family support, she relied on the encouragement provided by her First Steps workers and her own inner determination to provide her girls with a stable home. By the time the girls were 6 months old, Sheila was attending school full-time and was employed part-time as a nursing assistance, ending her TANF participation. Throughout Sheila’s transition to self-sufficiency, she has worked hard at getting over her guilt for a failed marriage, depression and her sadness at being a single mom. Sheila strived to show her children that they could make it on their own and could be strong as a family. Now when Sheila comes to the office for services with her twins, she is a little tired - but smiling. She knows her family is going to be okay. • Yakima Valley Opportunities Industrialization Center: Educational services were provided through EXCEL High School to a student who had formerly dropped out of school. This young lady was the last of six children born to a drug addicted mother and in foster care since she was five. One brother was killed because of drug related issues, one is in jail, and all other siblings are still tortured with drugs, including her mother. This young lady completed her secondary education is now in college and away from her tragic home environment and out of poverty. West Virginia • Mountain CAP of WV, Inc. tells us the story of Mr. And Mrs. Short who have been working with the agency for over two years and have now been able to purchase a new home in the area. The couple completed the Homebuyers Education on 10/31/01 but was not credit ready. After years of repairing credit, the couple was able to be placed on a waiting list for a new home and home financing was acquired. The family moved into their newly constructed 1,104 square foot home in November 2003. The couple had originally rented housing with HUD voucher assistance. The Short family has several medical conditions that made living in rental property difficult. In addition, their utility bills were very high due to weatherization issues. They live on a fixed income of social security and SSI. Under the HOME program, the couple now makes a mortgage payment based on the family's gross income. Presently that amount is $165.62 including escrow for insurance and the couple is tax exempt. Their income is re-evaluated every two years. Because the Short family is paying about the same amount for home ownership as they were in rent and because their utility bills are now much lower, the Short's are able to meet all their financial obligations each month. Therefore, the HOME program took someone from subsidized rental to home ownership. CSBG contributes to the administration of the HOME program and has funded case management training which enabled staff to help this couple become independent, like many others. Also, Mt. CAP follows the family to ensure they are caring for their homes and the property. Just because a home is purchased does not mean that Mt. CAP doesn't want to continue helping ensure the community improves through individual successes. • North Central WV CAA, Inc. reports that the Group Work Camp coordinates 400 youth and their adult supervisors to volunteer their time, energy, and resources to the needy homes. Group Work Camp provides $15,000 for the purchase of building materials (i.e., lumber, paint, caulking, roofing materials, door, windows, etc) for the project. The combined total for the project will bring over 12,000 hours in labor and over $65,000 in resources to get the job done. NCWVCAA identifies the homes for repair, assess the kinds of repairs that are needed, and raise $15,000 in matching funds. Over the past few years that the agency has been hosting Group Work Camp, CSBG dollars has supplemented the efforts (around $5,000 per year) to eliminate a condition of poverty in which low-income people live. • CHANGE, Inc. has let us know that The Lighthouse, a domestic violence shelter serving two of our states most northern counties, has been successful in gaining licensure in 2003. The communities and residents in Brooke and Hancock counties rallied to support the Lighthouse and it’s efforts. CSBG was implemented as a grass-roots effort in obtaining self-sufficiency. This was demonstrated through the 2 years of fighting for the system to be changed to better assist victims of domestic violence. Through funding from the CSBG, the Lighthouse has survived the ups and downs of obtaining licensure and in July 2004 will be able to wean itself from CSBG dollars. For 2003, the Lighthouse sheltered 54 victims for 663 nights, with 23 of the 54 being women - the remaining innocent children. Of the 23 women, 22 sought alternative living arrangements. The Lighthouse is beginning to make a difference. • Southwestern CAA, Inc. tells us about the WV Career Center Satellite Site: a customer who had recently been laid off from a manufacturing-sector job had applied at the Work for WV Career Center for a posted job order for a lucrative manufacturing-sector job and was referred to the Satellite Site to take the Work Keys exam, a screening tool for job applicants. He tested low in one section of the test and received intensive tutoring from Satellite Site staff and the WIN Instruction Solution computer system, re-tested at two levels higher than his first attempt and as hired at a higher wage than the job from which he was recently dislocated. CSBG assists in funding centers, staff and training in case management and career opportunities. Wisconsin • A twenty-year old adult with multiple barriers enrolled in ADVOCAP's Fresh Start Program. A felon with an extensive criminal record had no where to live, no money and no family to help him out. During the twelve month period in the program this participant received his HSED, earned a $3,000 education scholarship and enrolled in a Graphics Arts Program at the local vocational school. He also obtained employment and has had no police contact. • West CAP-(all programs are CSBG programs, because all are at least partially supported by CSBG in the shared administrative costs category). A weatherization crew was dispatched to install a furnace for an elderly lady who had been without a reliable heating system for several years. Her furnace was non-functioning and although she had a wood stove, she was too frail to maintain a wood fire by herself. • With the assistance of CSBG funding, Northwest CSA was able to initiate a Rural Community Development Imitative using the CSBG funds as a match source to provide the first year of funding. This project has been working to address the needs of the Bad River Reservation, Environmental Concerns in the Lake Superior WaterShed, as well as in the assistance of new and expanding business owners.
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