Community Action Program Highlights

Here is a recap of our programs or services as highlighted in our weekly posts.

New Hope Program Highlight- Part 5

The Community Action Promise states: “Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.”

 

Every day, Ashtabula County’s Community Action Agency is doing just this!  With programs like New Hope, we are helping individuals and families transition into affordable housing while providing additional supportive services that improve and change their lives.

 

In 2014 our New Hope program has successfully assisted more than ten households by providing a monthly rental subsidy for up to six months.  With the burden of rent removed, our clients are able to focus on finding jobs, obtaining transportation, enrolling children into Head Start, Early Head Start and Help Me Grow programs and so much more!

 

Many of our clients stay in touch with our New Hope case managers long after the six month rental subsidy ends. In fact, we are proud to say that as the needs of our clients change, they are comfortable reaching back out to “check in” with us to see what other offerings exist to assist them in their personal and professional lives. 

 

Ashtabula County Community Action Agency looks forward to providing our New Hope Housing Program again in 2015 and to celebrate the successes of each of our clients, their families and our community.

New Hope Program Highlight- Part 4

Homeless: “Living in a place not meant for human habitation.”  This is the definition that guides our work with the New Hope Housing Program.  Many of our clients are introduced to New Hope while living outside under a bridge or in a park; living in their car with children, or wandering from one abandoned house to another.  Or, we may meet them when they have found temporary

assistance at a homeless shelter.

 

Once enrolled in the New Hope Housing Program, these very same individuals (once housing is identified) are able to accomplish many things and obtain a level of independence and self-sufficiency that helps to move them forward day after day. 

 

Through the New Hope Housing Program, Ashtabula County Community Action Agency has found a way to assist homeless individuals in transition by paying for up to six months of rent.  During each of these six months, every client meets with a New Hope representative and together, they revisit short and long term goals.  Our clients have obtained employment, enrolled in G.E.D. classes, paid off drivers’ license reinstatement fees, attended empowerment workshops, and so much more!  Our clients have taken GIANT action steps that lead to putting the pieces of their lives back together.

 

If you or someone you know is homeless and ready to join a program that focuses on community and self-sufficiency, call 2-1-1 today to learn more.

New Hope Program Highlight- Part 3

Ashtabula County’s Community Action Agency introduced the New Hope Housing Program over a decade ago. While the program has seen a few internal changes, the focus and goal of assisting individuals through transition has not. 

 

Our clients face difficult situations and circumstances and represent diverse populations.  This year alone our program has provided rental subsidy to individuals who were: exiting treatment or incarceration, families who lost their homes, men

and women escaping abuse, and many, many others. 

 

Through the New Hope program, Community Action works with individuals, meeting them where they are, to obtain safe, affordable housing, and begin the work of putting their lives back together.  Once housing is identified, our representatives work with each individual and family to find employment,  obtain support services (such as signing up for food stamps and health insurance), and work on getting utilities started and back balances paid.

 

If you are living in a place not meant for human habitation or know someone who was homeless before entering treatment or incarceration, please call 2-1-1 today to learn more about the New Hope program.

New Hope Program Highlight- Part 2

So now you’ve heard of New Hope and we are sure you have lots of questions. If you have not yet called 2-1-1 to learn more about this program for individuals who are literally homeless, here’s a “Quick Reference” to help you learn more:

The New Hope Housing Program...

 

* Provides a comprehensive case support plan that helps you transition safely into stable, affordable housing.

* Pays temporary rental assistance for up to 3 - 6 months, alleviating one of the biggest financial burdens while you focus on finding/expanding employment and obtaining additional supportive services.

* Assisted by program staff, you will develop short and long term goals and action steps that lead you to self-sufficiency  

* Helps you transition away from the factors that led to homelessness towards independence and long-term self-sufficiency.

* Provides a catalyst for personal change.

* Helps to empower participants to free themselves economically of public assistance and dependence through personal growth and vocational development.

 

So go ahead and call 2-1-1 today to learn more about the New Hope program offered by Community Action.

New Hope Program Highlight- Part 1

During this colder time of year, many Ashtabula County residents find themselves in need of shelter. While many of us have access to a house or apartment where we can lock the door, turn on the heat and run hot water, few people realize the sheer number of our friends and family members who have no access to such comforts. Ashtabula County Community Action Agency responded to the need for shelter by creating the New Hope Program. This program is available to individuals and families who are living in places not meant for human habitation i.e. in a car, under a bridge, in a park etc.

 

Because of the New Hope program, individuals who meet the definition of “literally homeless” described above now have help when it comes to being able to afford a place to live while they search for jobs, work more hours or obtain additional support services that help move people and families towards self-sufficiency. And that’s what this program is all about!

 

 Regardless of whether you are working or un-employed, have a family or are the only person in your household, you can qualify for the New Hope program and enroll in a process where you become co-author of short and long term action steps

that help to move you forward.

 

 Our research has found that while individuals transition back into communities, the biggest burden we face is the cost of rent. In response to this reality, for individuals who qualify (income-based qualifications do apply) and remain engaged in the process of Empowerment and Self-Sufficiency the New Hope program has the potential to pay up to six months of rent.

 

 To learn more about the New Hope program of Ashtabula County Community Action, please call Tiffany at 440-997-5957 ext. 522.

Action In Motion Academy- CDL Truck Driving School- Part 4

Currently there is a need for more than 45,000 drivers in the US right now, some estimates have the need at over 250,000 new drivers in the next 5 years. Today the average age of a truck driver is over 58 years old, nearly 60% can retire within the next 5 to 10 years. Driver wages for new (beginning) drivers are between $30,000.00 to $50,000.00 for major national companies; $23,000.00 to $35,000.00 for local drivers.

 

The economic impact to our community can be tremendous, 10 new drivers can bring $300,000.00 to $500,000.00 or more in new wealth to the community annually, then consider the multiplication factor. Most new drivers will work for a company headquartered outside Ohio, bringing new wealth to the state, region and local community, but coming home to their current residence.

 

Truck Driver Training (CDL) can be “Fast Track” done in as little as 3 weeks but more commonly 6 to 8 weeks, long programs of 20+ weeks are price prohibitive. Our program is 4 weeks of instruction and testing on the 5th week. Ohio has the highest standard for CDL training,

making Ohio students the most sought after in the nation.

 

The Action In Motion Academy, Truck Driving Academy, gained community support working with the Ashtabula County Growth Partnership; to date over $40,000.00 in donations have been received, including 2 trucks from companies that because of insurance requirements can’t hire our students for at least 2 years. They have done this as an investment in the future for their company’s growth. Program cost is all inclusive at $5,000.00 which gives students and funders a defined cost for training.  Training is based on a 160 hour training model: 40+ hours classroom; 40+ hours of Behind the Wheel control of the vehicle; and 80 hours of observation time, which is critical for adult learners. Training is 4 weeks with testing on the 5th week for the Weekday classes, Night and Weekend classes are 8 weeks with testing on the 9th week.

 

Job search is started before the student even registers for class. Most students will have between 3 to 5 job offers before the class starts. We are working with Ohio Department of Job and Family Services for funding low income and unemployed, as well as under employed. We are working  with Ohio Bureau of Workers Comp for funding for returning workers.

 

To date 7 class starts and 9 students have graduated the program (3 more tested on 11/20/14) total of 20 students have enrolled so far.

 

We have students with jobs at:

o 1 @ Pepsi Cola in Silver Spring, Maryland

o 2 @ Schneider National in Green Bay, Wisconsin

o 1 @ US Xpress in Chattanooga, Tennessee

o 1 @ Werner Enterprises in Omaha, Nebraska

o 1 bought his own dump truck and is working at the Port of Ashtabula

o 1 @ CRST in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

o 2 are waiting on the Ohio Department of transportation for hiring approvals.

 

All nine of these students had job offers before registering for class. Only one student left the area for a job, 8 have employers outside the area but will live, work and enjoy Ashtabula County as their home, 2 are likely to work for the State of Ohio staying home every night and having a 30 year career potential. Income potential for these students will be over $35,000.00 their first year. The two at Schneider National will make over $45,000.00 per year and get a sign-on bonus on certain accounts. Werner Enterprises and US Xpress will make over $40,000.00 their first year. 

If you would like more information or would like to enroll- call 440-261-9721.

Action In Motion Academy- CDL Truck Driving School- Part 3

Fast Track Training

Action In Motion Truck Driving Academy provides; Fast Track, high value training for success. Student success is the most important for us, small class size and individualized training style provide the start, but who else might find success with every new driver we put into a new and exciting job? Our community will receive a great benefit from the program. Truck drivers can’t be outsourced, they can’t be replaced with machines, and they are our neighbors, friends and loved ones. So a truck driver has community ties. Most truck drivers aren’t gone for weeks at a time but with the regionalization of the transportation industry most truck drivers are home on weekends and many are home during a day or two per week. Yes some like the open road and there are options for drivers to find the job situation that fits their likes and needs.

 

How do truck driving jobs change a family or community even a region?  Great Question, there are many parts to the answer. First driving for a living is a good paying job. Most new drivers will start somewhere in a range of $35,000.00 to $55,000.00 per year. Yes those are starting wages. Truck drivers don’t need to move away, we here in Northeast Ohio live in an area that has such great potential for transportation growth. Did you know that over 60% of the US and Canadian populations can be reached from right here in a 1 day trip in a truck? We need to realize and understand this area has roads, rails and water transportation capabilities that are not available anywhere else in the Great Lakes. Manufacturers are always looking for a region with those strengths. But one of our secrets to success is that the major national and international carriers (trucking companies, railroads and ship lines) are not headquartered here. So when they hire a person form Northeast Ohio they send the paycheck here and the job is based here so the wealth from that region or city is now coming to Ashtabula and surrounding counties. The large trucking companies need people in this area to move freight, goods, materials and agricultural products. A driver here isn’t moving to Green Bay, Wisconsin or Chattanooga Tennessee. Their job is based here in this region. So the money the driver makes, is sent here, is spent here and improves the community wealth not just a re-shuffle of the community’s money, new money that improves the area with new dollars to help pay for better schools, better roads and growth in the community bringing other opportunities here. For every new driver we graduate the potential of $50,000.00 in new monies for the community is there. Not all of them are going to find that level of success but if they average $40,000.00 per year and we graduate 100 students the potential is $4,000,000.00. If over the years we add 1000 drivers to the region that number could be as much as $40,000,000.00 just for the drivers we graduate. If I were an accountant, I’m sure the real number would be much, much higher when you figure the growth effects. These driving jobs also lead to other good jobs for local CDL drivers to do the local pickups and deliveries and provides great jobs in other areas such as warehousing, maintenance, and other direct support jobs. But for me personally, it support the local stores and vendors like Dairy Queen, I love Dairy Queen and can’t resist the chocolate cherry blizzard. (Back on point, sorry) With new money coming in the community housing values improve and new homes are built. Stores and shops have a better bottom line and can hire new employees and grow their businesses. Everybody wants to be part of the success of the community, including outsiders.

 

Sometimes it just takes a spark to light the fire of change, the fire takes off and the warmth and light make the changes quickly. The Truck Driving Academy is one of many “Sparks” for Ashtabula right now, you can be the flame that provides the light and warmth to grow this community to a new great future. I know you can.  For more information call 440-261-9721.

Action In Motion Academy- CDL Truck Driving School- Part 2

Skills Training---

How are you at Backing Up? How about parallel parking? Do you have trouble backing down the street or driveway?

Well think about the truck driver and the maneuvers they need to make Safely, to do their job.

 

The way we teach the backing maneuvers is so simple that we can parallel park a tractor trailer in just 4 turns of the steering wheel. Can you do that with your car? Backing straight is a real challenge for truck drivers as the trailer is guided by a King Pin that is 2 inches in diameter and is round. Steering right and left to keep the trailer straight is the only way to keep the trailer straight. We also teach a reverse lane change that moves the truck and trailer from one lane 12 feet into another lane while backing up. Again this is a maneuver that takes thought and precise steering and judgment. The hardest of the maneuvers for most, (the easiest for me) again this takes time, patience and the get it done attitude. You move the truck and trailer into a 12 foot lane that is 90 degrees from your start. When finished you are in a 40 foot box and the trailer bumper must be in a 3 foot box at the back. 

 

The CDL practical tests include 5 backing maneuvers, but you only do 3 for your test. Tests are varied so that we need to teach all 5. But before you can do the backing maneuvers you need to pass a Pre-trip Inspection test.

 

The Pre-trip is 90 items that must be inspected in 30 minutes including an Air Brake test that must be completed with no mistakes. Tires, brakes, coupling parts, lights, suspension parts, exhaust and engine parts must all be inspected to determine the truck and trailer is safe to drive on the highways.

 

The On-Road driving test is the last of the tests you will take. The examiner will check your turns, mirror use, intersections, 

shifting and on road safety.

 

Can’t shift? It makes it easier for us to teach you how to shift a big truck. Double clutching is easy once you understand the concepts. If you can shift a car or pickup it is harder to learn the rhythm needed.

 

Stop out at the Mall to see what we do and how we do it. Our office hours are Monday through Thursday from 8am to 5pm. You are always welcome!  For more information call 440-261-9721.

Action In Motion Academy- CDL Truck Driving School- Part 1

Kreigh Spahr, Director of Vocational Services provides an introduction to this program in this segment...

Can you name anything in your life that isn’t touched by a truck? Many times people have given me so many things they think may not be on a truck. Many don’t realize the impact a truck can make. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, the water, electricity and natural gas or other fuel is all related to trucking. Even if the goods themselves aren’t delivered by truck the infrastructure is in place because a truck hauled the pipe, poles or gravel, railroad track and asphalt to get it to you. Do you can or freeze your own vegetables? Where do the jars and bags come from? How about the seeds, fertilizer, shovels and other gardening tools- where did they come from? Did you make them? How about the mattress you slept on last night? Medicines, home health items (toilet paper) and everything we use in daily life at some point was connected to truck transportation.

 

So if everything is connected to truck transportation, all you need to figure out is just what you want to haul. Home daily, weekly, bi-weekly or even less often are other decisions you need to make. Local jobs are the most plentiful but they are the hardest to get. Part of the reason local jobs are so difficult to find for the new driver is that the insurance is much higher on a new driver than on an experienced driver and many local companies can’t afford the high insurance bill. New drivers can get the experience level they need in as little as 6 months of regional or over the road driving. Companies like Schneider, US Xpress, Werner Enterprises and Valley Trucking have great opportunities for new drivers. These companies have experience with new drivers and have a training program just for new drivers to make them successful in the trucking industry.

 

I saved money for last. When I come to work, it’s because I enjoy my job, but it’s also because I have a family to support. Truck and bus drivers can make great money! From $35,000.00 to $55,000.00 per year first year! Not bad for training 5 to 10 weeks and investing in yourself tuition of $5,000.00. The companies I mentioned above will pay the tuition back if you pay this yourself, normally at about $150.00 per month. There may be funding available if you qualify through Ohio Department of Job and Family Services or other agencies. These would be grants that don’t have to be repaid. (Free Money!) There is a catch, you must have job availability to qualify. The secret we use is our admissions packet. Our packet includes the job applications for many of the companies mentioned above and the information we need to qualify you for a CDL license.

 

For more information or to check out the opportunities please call or stop out at:

 

Action In Motion Academy / Truck Driving Academy

3315 North Ridge Road East (Ashtabula Town Square Mall)

Suite 500-A, Box 315

Ashtabula, Ohio 44004

440-261-9721

 

Home Weatherization Assistance Program- Part 5

In this final highlight post, we will continue explaining the process of what happens when a home is weatherized. 

Beginning where we left off with ...Step 2: Build a Working Partnership with the Customer

The inspector will discuss with the client what the initial inspection identified and what the weatherization assistance program will address. The inspector also explains actions the customer can take to gain the maximum benefit from weatherization including creating a personalized energy management plan.

 

Step 3: Schedule and Complete the Work

The inspector will write a work order of the items to be addressed (to be completed by weatherization providers’ in house crews or by outside contractors). A weatherization crew will typically spend from one to four days in a customer’s home before the work is completed and quality assured.

 

Step 4: Final Quality Assurance Inspection

After the work is completed, a final quality assurance inspection is scheduled to be performed on the home. The inspection may be accomplished by the original inspector or by another individual. This final quality assurance inspection will repeat the testing performed during the initial inspection to ensure that all components of the home are completed according to the Weatherization Program Standards. The final inspector will review the completed work order (or invoice if contracted work) to verify that all work has been completed appropriately (this may include but is not limited to a “dense pack” of 3.25 to 3.75 lbs. per cubic foot of sidewall, and that combustion analysis of flue gases are within appropriate range for the heating fuel). The final quality assurance inspector will discuss the work performed by the program with the client to ensure that the client is satisfied.

 

For more information or to apply for Weatherization, please call 440-998-4996.

Home Weatherization Assistance Program- Part 4

What happens when a home is weatherized?

 

Step 1: Initial Inspection

When a household is determined to be eligible for the program, an appointment is scheduled for an initial inspection of the dwelling. The purpose of the inspection is to determine where and how much energy is being lost. An inspector will visit the home and will, as the housing conditions dictate, perform some or all of the following activities:

  • Introduce themselves and discuss issues with the client, determine approximate age of home (this will assist in determining if LEAD Safe Weatherization practices are needed);

  • Perform combustion efficiency tests on combustion heating appliances (furnaces, boilers, space heaters, water heaters);

  • Gas leak detection

  • Visual inspection

  • Combustion analysis of the flue gases and temperature

  • Other safety checks

  • Worst case depressurization draft test of combustion appliances

  • Test and/or visually inspect the heating and cooling distribution system for missing or blocked sections, adequate sizing, leaks in hydronic systems;

  • Carbon monoxide test of combustion cook stoves (stoves and range tops);

  • Inspection of insulation levels in attic, sidewalls, and floors/perimeter (if living space is over an unconditioned space such as a crawlspace or unheated basement);

  • Visual inspection of interior of the home to see if existing problems may cause problems with insulating( these problems may include, but are not limited to, mold/mildew issues, missing plaster, plumbing leaks);

  • Identify areas where electrical base load measures can be installed to lower the electrical consumption of the home (this may include but is not limited to refrigerator metering and possible replacement, and installation of compact fluorescent bulbs);

  • Visual inspection of outside of the dwelling to see if existing problems may be causing damage (for example drainage, gutters/downspouts and missing exterior siding); and

  • Conduct an air infiltration test using a blower door

To be continued next week.

Home Weatherization Assistance Program- Part 3

HWAP has weatherized more than 304,000 dwellings in Ohio since 1977. This will result in a reduction of 376 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, 840 thousand pounds of nitrogen oxide, and 2.3 million pounds of sulfur oxide. Statewide, HWAP has created approximately 403 skilled jobs that provide energy conservation services. Numerous other subcontractors and suppliers benefit from this work. HWAP has served as the model for the development of energy efficiency programs offered by Ohio’s utility companies.

 

 If I want additional information for receiving assistance, who do I contact? Additional information about HWAP can be obtained from the local weatherization provider in the area where you reside. You may also contact the Office of Community Assistance at (800) 282-0880 for the telephone number of the local provider. Who are the local HWAP providers? As provided in the federal regulations, Ohio‘s HWAP is carried out by Community Action Agencies and other public and nonprofit entities. A list of the local providers is available.

Home Weatherization Assistance Program- Part 2

This week we will answer a few commonly asked questions regarding the Home Weatherization Assistance Program and the benefits it can provide.

 

Are there any cash benefit payments involved with the weatherization program?

 

No. the HWAP Program provides direct service to dwelling units. No cash benefits are passed through to the eligible households.

 

What types of services are available under HWAP?

 

The HWAP Program is NOT a rehabilitation program or maintenance program. The following weatherization measures may be done to your home if you are eligible for services. A home inspection is completed to determine the most cost-effective weatherization services for each home.

 

   Safety Inspection, tune-up/repair, and if necessary, installation of heating units

   Insulation of Attics

   Insulation of Sidewalls

   Insulation of Heating Ducts

   Insulation of floors

   Insulation of Water Tanks

   Reduction of Air leakage from major sources

   Personalized energy management plans

 

Is there a deadline for applications to be submitted?

 

No, but there is a limit to the number of households that can be assisted because of the available funding.

 

What is the state’s role with the HWAP Program?

 

HWAP is administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Office of Community Assistance (OCA). The OCA Weatherization Section oversees the weatherization program. The Department contracts with providers across the state to ensure that citizens in all 88 Ohio counties receive weatherization services. The OCA monitors the weatherization providers for compliance with regulations and established policies and procedures, evaluates actual accomplishments against planned activities, and determines the effectiveness of the HWAP policy. Monitoring provides objective reporting to and from sub-grantees and when appropriate, makes recommendations to address program and administrative needs. .  For more information call Community Action Housing and Energy Services at 440-998-4996.

Home Weatherization Assistance Program- HWAP- Part 1

The Ohio Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) is a no-cost energy assistance program designed to increase the energy efficiency of dwellings owned or occupied by income-eligible Ohioans, reduce participants’ household energy expenditures, and improve participants’ health and safety. HWAP is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and provided to Ohioans at no cost for customers whose annual household income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Ohio’s HWAP is administered through the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Community Services Division (CSD) and its Office of Community Assistance (OCA).

 

Households at or below the federal poverty guidelines or households receiving Supplemental Security Income qualify for this no-cost program. After weatherization, households that heat with natural gas reduce space heating consumption by an average of 24.7 percent, and electrically heated homes reduce usage on average of 13 percent. HWAP participants increased the percentage of utility bills that they pay, and the rate of disconnections of utility service for this group, decreased by 50 percent.

 

Any individual, homeowner, or renter with an income that falls into the federal government’s poverty guidelines can apply for services under the HWAP. As required by the federal government, HWAP providers give priority to people over the age of 60 and those with disabilities. The local agency’s review of your application will determine your eligibility for services.

 

All families who have received assistance any time during the last 12 months under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Home Energy Assistance (HEAP) (does not include emergency HEAP) are automatically eligible for weatherization services. Households that are not located in federally subsidized housing and do not supply their own primary heat source (i.e., owns a gas well or cuts its own wood) will generally be eligible for services if they meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services income guidelines.

 

For more information call Housing and Energy Services at 440-998-4996.

Home Repair- Part 4

Throughout the last 3 weeks we have given information about the home repair programs available through our Housing and Energy Services office. Emergency Home Repair, Area Agency on Aging-Elderly Home Maintenance, and United Way Minor Home Repair are all a means to help with small home repairs for homeowners that are having problems and cannot afford the cost. Our repair programs are not used for the rehab of homes that have been purchased and are not fit to live in. For example, we cannot re-plumb houses that have had all the water lines stolen, nor can we re-wire homes that have had all the electrical lines removed. Our programs are here to help, but with repairs not rehab work. Please use caution when purchasing a home, if the deal seems too good it usually is.  For information or applications, call Housing and Energy Services at 440-998-4996.

Home Repair- Part 3

The third program that falls under our Home Repair-Special Programs is the United Way Minor Home Repair Program. This is for any Ashtabula County resident who needs a small home repair or handicap modification. The income guidelines fall at 150 % poverty. Documentation of one year of  income for all adults 18 years or older in the household will be submitted with application, along with proof of homeownership.

 

This program is for minor home repair, the average job cost is $500.00. We clean and tune furnaces, help with water tank issues, install grab bars in the bathroom, any small type of job that is needed.

 

 

1……………………..$17,235.00

2……………………..$23,265.00

3……………………..$29,295.00

4……………………..$35,325.00

5……………………..$41,335.00

6……………………..$47,385.00

7……………………..$53,415.00

8……………………..$59,445.00

 

For more information call Community Action Housing & Energy Services at 440-998-4996 or just dial 2-1-1.

Home Repair- Part 2

Another program highlighted under our Home Repair Special Programs is the Area Agency on Aging-Elderly Home Maintenance. This is for Ashtabula County residents who are 60 years or older. The income guidelines fall under a sliding fee scale called a “cost share”. Services will not be stopped because the customer is not able to donate the agreed upon amount. The older adult that is actually receiving service is the only one to submit income for this program. It does not go by total family income. Income for the past year for the adult will be submitted with application, along with proof of homeownership.

 

This program covers minor home repair, the average job cost is $500.00. We clean and tune furnaces, help with water tank issues, grab bars in the bathroom, any small type of job that is needed. For more information call Community Action Housing & Energy Services at 440-998-4996 or just dial 2-1-1.

Home Repair- Part 1

The Housing Services Division has a Home Repair Program that is actually made up of 3 different programs that pull their funding from distinctive sources. The first highlighted program will be the Emergency Home Repair Program.

 

The Emergency Home Repair Program is the most difficult to qualify clients. For this program you have to be a homeowner, and the income limits for one person is $12,994 gross. What that means for Social Security clients is we have to take the amount they make before Medicare has been removed.

 

2 people…………………………….$14,853

3 people…………………………….$16,713

4 people…………………………….$18,550

5 people…………………………….$20,038

6 people…………………………….$21,525

7 people…………………………….$23,013

8 people…………………………….$24,500

 

This program is also available for Geauga County residents. Their income limits are a little higher because the median income for Geauga County is higher. Emergency Home Repair is a two year grant. The repair cap is $7500.00 per job which allows us to do repairs on a larger scale. We do have to have 50% match on all jobs that are worked, but Weatherization dollars do not count as match monies.

 

The scope of repairs can be handicap accessible items like grab bars and showers to health & safety items like a roof replacement and electrical upgrade. We cannot paint or put siding on a home that is considered cosmetic. We will have a qualified inspector write up a work order. Any qualified applicants please call 440-998-4996.

Head Start/Early Head Start- Part 4

Welcome Back!

 

ACCAA Head Start/Early Head Start will resume classes and home visits starting September 2.

We have many exciting changes for the new program year including:

  • New Site at Jefferson Elementary

  • New Classroom Options for Early Head Start (our program for pregnant moms and children birth to three years old )

  • More Family Fun Nights

  • Full Day Classrooms

  • Family Resource Room (located at the Main Ave site)

  • And much more!

 

We are able to serve families throughout the county with classrooms in our main office at 4510 Main Ave Ashtabula, Michigan Primary (Ashtabula), Cork Elementary (Geneva), Jefferson Elementary (Jefferson), Rock Creek Elementary (Rock Creek), Pymatuning Valley Primary (Andover), and Good Shepard Lutheran Church (Conneaut). Our staff will continue serving families enrolled in the Home Based option in the comfort of their own home – anywhere in Ashtabula County!

 

If you would like more information about ACCAA Head Start/Early Head Start or would like to apply for our program, please call 440-993-7716. We are always taking applications!

Head Start/Early Head Start- Part 3

It takes a community!

Each year, ACCAA Head Start/Early Head Start has to raise almost $800,000 worth of donations, volunteer hours and discounted services to support our program. These donations are called "In Kind". The more buy-in we have from our community members and families, the better! There are many ways that you can help support Head Start such as:

 

  • "Adopting" a classroom by committing to volunteering regularly, sending in donated items etc.

  • Volunteering to read books, play games, help with meals times or just spend time talking with the children.

  • Performing necessary tasks such as making and folding brochures, washing dishes, or helping set up for events

  • Recruiting for our program

  • Donating your skills by giving a presentation, fixing things around the building, or making items for our classrooms

  • Giving us discounts on services we purchase such as consultations, food, office supplies, or advertisement

  • Inviting us to your nearby business or organization for a fun field trip

  • Serving on Policy Council – our family and community run governing body

 

Do you have other ideas on ways you would like to be involved at ACCAA Head Start/Early Head Start? Let us know!

Contact us at 440-993-7716

 

Head Start/Early Head Start- Part 2

Happy 20th Birthday, Early Head Start!
In 1994, Congress extended the traditional Head Start preschool program to include services for pregnant women, infants and ...toddlers. Everyone was beginning to realize how crucial the early years of life really are! Nationwide, Early Head Start serves more than 150,000 women and birth to three year olds every year.

In Ashtabula County, ACCAA Head Start/Early Head Start is now able to provide Early Head Start services both in the home and in our new center-based classroom we are unveiling this year! This classroom will serve as an important stepping stone for children getting ready to transition into the Head Start program.

Did you know that…
• EHS children generally scored higher on assessments of cognitive development and receptive language
• EHS parents were more likely to be emotionally supportive, more likely to read to their children daily, and less likely to engage in negative parenting behaviors
• EHS programs had some impacts on parents' progress toward self-sufficiency
• Programs had favorable effects in several areas of fathering and father-child interaction

Citation: "Happy Anniversary, Early Head Start!" Angie Godfrey. http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/hs/news/blog/anniversary.html?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=OHS+New+Content+e-blast+-+July&utm_content=OHS+New+Content+eblast++July+CID_9e956875848acd48ce5f00ffe7d6c2c8&utm_source=CM+Eblast&utm_term=Happy+20th+Anniversary+Early+Head+Start

Head Start/Early Head Start- Part 1

Head Start was created in 1965 as part of Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty. Since its start as an 8-week summer program to help disadvantaged children become "school ready" Head Start has served 30 million children throughout the United States and its territories. In our county, ACCAA Head Start/Early Head Start helps the children in our community have a "head start" on their education, too! Our program provides a quality classroom experience; helpful, interactive home visits; family support; tracking of health needs; and a wide array of assessments and screenings to make sure our children are on track, healthy and ready to learn. To learn more about the history of Head Start follow this link: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/hs/about/history

 

To learn more about our local program or to apply for services please contact the
ACCAA Head Start/Early Head Start office at 440-993-7716.

2-1-1 Ashtabula County

Let’s Play a Game!  Can you spot a FALSE answer?

 

  • Ashtabula County 2-1-1 Information & Referral Service’s biggest challenge is getting the community to know we exist

  • Community Action is currently celebrating a 50 year anniversary

  • Ashtabula County 2-1-1 offer support and assistance when one of life’s emergencies occur

  • In Ashtabula County alone, 2-1-1 has received more than 165,000 phone calls since 2002.

  • The calls we receive represent the changing needs of our community over time and reflect the issues that many Americans struggle with on a daily basis

  • All of our operators are trained and Alliance of Information and Referral Service (A.I.R.S.) certified, meaning they are prepared to handle every call and are eager to assist fellow community members by connecting them with available resources and information

  • 2-1-1 is for everyone and can be remembered by everyone

  • 2-1-1 is free and confidential

  • 2-1-1 is the number to call to give help and to get help

So, how’d you do?

If you had trouble trying to figure out which fact about the 2-1-1 service was false… don’t feel bad! “They are all TRUE!”

 

2-1-1 Ashtabula County- Part 4

“2-1-1…that’s only for low-income people right?”

 

This is usually one of the first questions we get when we meet people in the community while performing outreach on behalf of Ashtabula County’s 2-1-1 Information & Referral Service.  Many individuals are under the impression that 2-1-1 is a service available only to people who make below a certain wage or income.  THIS IS NOT TRUE.

 

As of February 2013, the national 2-1-1 Information & Referral service has assisted over 283 million Americans (which reflects 90.6% of the entire population). Our very own Ashtabula County 2-1-1 service has received more than 165,000 phone calls since 2002.

The calls received by our operators 24 hours-a-day represent the changing needs of our community- THIS IS TRUE. 

 

It is also true that the need for food, shelter, assistance with utility bills and rising fuel costs are being experienced by everyone in Ashtabula County without regard to religion, race, income, or zip code.

 

In fact, here are a couple of different ways our 2-1-1 operators have been able to assist fellow Ashtabula residents on any given day:

  • Making a referral to the St. Vincent DePaul Society to obtain a voucher for a birth certificate and driver’s license

  • Finding a car seat from a partner agency for a new mother who didn’t realize that she needed one in order to bring her baby home

  • Setting up transportation with Faith-in-Action for a disabled veteran so that he could keep an appointment with a doctor that had been on the calendar for months

  • Providing information to a caller who needed assistance with preparing her taxes

 

Now you know who’s calling 2-1-1 and now you know why.

 

Do you have a problem or a question that we can help you with? Call 2-1-1 today and let our operators connect you with the information or resource you need and be one of the many people that have received our help when calling Ashtabula County’s 2-1-1 Information & Referral service.

2-1-1 Ashtabula County- Part 3

“Thank You for Calling Ashtabula County 2-1-1. How May I Help You?”

 

This is the greeting that over 165,000 people have heard when calling Ashtabula County’s 2-1-1 Information & Referral service.  Our 2-1-1 operators take calls 24 hours-a-day and are trained and certified to handle all types of situations and needs. 

 

While Community Action celebrates 50 years this year, we got a chance to look back over the years and reflect on some of the many ways we have been able to serve our community members and residents.  Besides offering immediate support and assistance when one of life’s emergencies occur, Ashtabula County’s 2-1-1 service continues to be the #1 resource to individuals seeking access to food, shelter, clothing and assistance with utilities.

 

Since our 2-1-1 service is part of a national initiative, we are able to track trends and work with partner agencies to meet the ongoing needs of people living in Ashtabula County.  Check out the graph above to see the Top 10 reasons why people called 2-1-1 in the month of May.  If you know someone who could benefit from knowing more about any one of the services shown on this list, please don’t hesitate to call 2-1-1 to learn more.

 

Whether it’s your first call to 2-1-1 or your fiftieth, Ashtabula County’s 2-1-1 Information & Referral service continues to connect people with resources and information that have the potential to save lives. Will the next one be yours?  Call 2-1-1 today and let our operators assist you. Who knows, maybe your story will make it to the “Miracle Monday” section of our agency Facebook page.

2-1-1 Ashtabula County- Part 2

As we noted in our last post, the calls we receive represent the needs and issues that many people in our community struggle with on a daily basis including, the need for food, shelter, assistance with utility bills and rising fuel costs.

 

While our 2-1-1 operators receive an average of 75 calls per day- we know there are many more individuals who do not know we're here to connect them with resources that could help assist with their need. We want to encourage people to make that call before things turn into a bigger issue. Often though, when a person calls to see if there is help for one problem, our operators find that there is more than one need or issue that the caller is facing. Everyone experiences unexpected situations- call 2-1-1 Ashtabula County for information regarding the nearest food pantry or hot meal site, transportation to a doctor's appointment, assistance with utility bills, help with home repairs, rental assistance or shelter, emergency financial assistance, employment assistance, and more.

 

 Three simple digits- one call - 2-1-1. Call 2-1-1 today and let our operators assist you with your needs.

2-1-1 Ashtabula County- Part 1

The Number to Dial for Life’s “Other” Emergencies

 

It’s hard to give something away for free if no one knows it exists, no matter how AWESOME it may be.  This remains our challenge with Ashtabula County’s 2-1-1 Information & Referral Service too.

 

While Community Action celebrates 50 years this year, we continue to search for creative ways to remind our community that 2-1-1 is here (has been here for 11 years in fact,) to offer support and assistance when one of life’s emergencies occur.

 

As of February 2013, 2-1-1 nationally has served over 283 million Americans (90.6% of the entire population) in all 50 states plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico (39 states plus DC and PR enjoy 100% coverage).  In 2012, 2-1-1 services in the United States answered more than 15.8 million calls.

 

In Ashtabula County alone, 2-1-1 has received more than 165,000 phone calls since 2002. The calls we receive represent the changing needs of our community over time and reflect the issues that many Americans struggle with on a daily basis including, the need for food, shelter, assistance with utility bills and rising fuel costs.

 

Nationally, the mission of 2-1-1 is to ensure that 2-1-1 is Excellent, Everywhere and Always. Ashtabula County remains committed to this motto as demonstrated by the fact that all of our operators are trained and Alliance of Information and Referral Service (A.I.R.S.) certified, meaning they are prepared to handle every call and are eager to assist fellow community members by connecting them with available resources and information.

 

The essence of 2-1-1 is in its simplicity:

•             2-1-1 is for everyone and can be remembered by everyone.

•             2-1-1 is free and confidential.

•             2-1-1 is the number to call to give help and to get help.

 

Starting next week, we will begin to share real stories from real people who have called Ashtabula County’s 2-1-1 Information & Referral service.

 

But you don’t have to wait until then to check us out. Call 2-1-1 today and let our operators assist you. Who knows, maybe your story will make it to the “Miracle Monday” section of our agency Facebook page.

My Neighborhood- Part 4

Sun, Seeds and Fun….that’s what we had last Saturday at our My Neighborhood Community Garden, located at Clifford Kadon Presidential Park (West 58th & Madison Avenue, Ashtabula). More than 20 adults and children came together to plant seeds and seedlings donated by Saybrook Feed & Garden.  

 

While most of us played in the mud for hours on end, others built a brand new picnic table from scratch, and members of the Skate Park cut wood for new ramps and jumps.

 

We had the best snacks made by the most amazing baker (yes, Desiree, we’re talking about you!) our volunteer who brought lots and lots of goodies: chocolate chip brownies, cream cheese cupcakes with cherry filling AND a variety of homemade cookies to boot!!

 

Even the kids jumped in on the fun AND I MEAN LITERALLY!!!  If you don’t believe us, check out the photos on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/myneighborhood.ashtabulacounty

 

We came, We saw, We conquered aka We planted, We built and We cleaned the Park.

 

Indeed, a GREAT day was had by all.

Thanks to everyone who came out and made it a beautiful day to remember! 

 

Now comes the weeding!!!!!!

 

If you would like to learn more about My Neighborhood efforts or our Community Garden, please contact Tiffany Reid at 997-5957 ext. 522 or e-mail us at myneighborhood@accaa.org.

 

And of course, you are always welcome to join us at our monthly My Neighborhood meeting held on the Second Thursday of every month at 7pm at St. Peter’s Church (4901 Main Avenue, Ashtabula)

 

We have some great things planned for this summer.  Hope to see you soon.

My Neighborhood- Part 3

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary.  How does your garden grow?”

 

For everyone who signed up for a 10X10 foot plot in the My Neighborhood Community Garden, please note, THE GARDEN IS OPEN FOR PLANTING!  The ground has been plowed…….And plots have been assigned……

 

Our Community Garden, located at Clifford Kadon Presidential Park (West 58th & Madison Avenue, Ashtabula) offers garden plots to area residents who would like to have a garden space to grow flowers or vegetables.  This year, Master Gardeners, Rees Davis and Lori Albrecht are guiding our efforts and recently led a workshop that offered suggestions on what to plant, when to plant it, and how to maintain our garden year round.

 

During our My Neighborhood community meeting, many of our gardeners came out, eager to catch a glimpse of their assigned plots and learn about the condition of the ground which needed an extra tilling or two. With all of the recent activity at the Park, our monthly meeting attracted local skateboard enthusiasts who are interested in celebrating National Go-Skate Day this coming Saturday, June 21st on the skate ramps located within Presidential Park.

 

If you would like to learn more about My Neighborhood efforts or our Community Garden, please come out this weekend and join us from 1:00-3:00pm for our Garden Day at the Park.

 

If you cannot join us this Saturday but are still interested in learning more about all of our fun and community-based programs, then contact Tiffany Reid at 997-5957 ext. 522 or e-mail us at myneighborhood@accaa.org. 

 

And of course, you are always welcome to join us at our monthly My Neighborhood meeting held on the Second Tuesday of every month at 7pm at St. Peter’s Church (4901 Main Street)    Hope to see you soon.

My Neighborhood- Part 2

My Neighborhood ~ The Heart of the City!

 

Since 2011, Community Action, St. Peter’s Church, and Imagine Ashtabula/ ADDA have been working together to continue enhancing the conditions within a designated local neighborhood in Ashtabula.  The designated area was the South Main Avenue Area – West 48th Street to West 57th Street - Main Avenue to Madison Avenue including Riverside and Grove. 

 

With this designated area, now officially known as My Neighborhood, a plan was put in place to strengthen and enhance the accomplishments made over the years by local churches, businesses, civic organizations and community groups. The Mission was clear: “My Neighborhood” is bringing people and resources together to help revitalize and rebuild a stronger neighborhood where people want to live, work, play and prosper.

 

To this end, six goals were created:

Beautify the Neighborhood

Bring People Together

Connect Resources with Needs

Strengthen Families/Create a Sense of Security

Promote Pride of Place and a Sense of Belonging and,

Increase Involvement

 

If you want to be a part of this amazing movement, please join us at our upcoming My Neighborhood meeting.

We will meet this coming Thursday, June 12th at 7pm at St. Peter’s Church (4901 Main Avenue)

All meetings are open to the public and we welcome anyone interested in working towards positive and productive change to join us!

For More Information call Tiffany at 997-5957, OR e-mail us at myneighborhood@accaa.org.

And of course, you can always follow us on Facebook at:

My Neighborhood- Part 1

My, Oh My, My Neighborhood!

 

In official terms, My Neighborhood is a community development program created by the Ashtabula County Community Action Agency with a program goal focused on beautifying the neighborhood, bringing people in the neighborhood together, and connecting resources with needs.

 

Officially, and on paper, this appears to be a lofty task indeed. But in person, when one spends time getting to know all of the people and things associated with My Neighborhood, one begins to realize that My Neighborhood is a combination of what makes Ashtabula, Ohio an amazing place to live, love, and learn.

 

On the outside looking in, people can pass through Ashtabula and comment on the crumbling buildings, the high unemployment rate, and the condition of our pot-holed strewn streets, evidence of a cruel and cold winter, reminiscent of years past. But the individuals, who volunteer for and read about My Neighborhood, experience and see something more profound and powerful.  Whether volunteering during a Community Clean-up event: picking up trash and debris at Clifford Kadon Presidential park, or spending time at St. Peter’s Church for a family day of fun, movies, and popcorn, people associated with the My Neighborhood group get a chance to be a part of the movement that is creating a sense of security for families while promoting pride of place and a sense of belonging.

 

In a single afternoon, years of neglect are erased as the old is scraped away, making room for the new. This year alone we have seen an increase in the number of individuals living within the My Neighborhood zone come out to help spruce up their lawns and parks. Families are feeling it too! On Saturday, May 10th members of the My Neighborhood group were joined by area children and their families for a Mother’s Day Planting where each child was able to decorate a planting cup and plant a flower to give to their moms as a Mother’s Day gift. 

 

This past weekend, community gardeners of all ages and skill levels were joined by Rees Davis and Lori Albrecht, OSU Master Gardeners and members of St. Peter’s Church to celebrate the launch of My Neighborhood’s Community Garden. Individuals who registered for plots in the Community Garden previewed the garden layout, picked out seeds for planting and learned all they could to get started. 

 

There’s just too much information about My Neighborhood to share in one post, so be sure to check back next week to learn even more about some of the upcoming summer events we have created just for you. If you can’t wait until next week, feel free to contact Tiffany for more information at 997-5957, OR e-mail us at myneighborhood@accaa.org.

 

And of course, you can always follow us on Facebook at:

Senior Nutrition Program- Part 4

A vital component of Community Action’s Meals on Wheels Program is the Safety and Wellness check provided by the Delivery Driver each day.  Every Monday – Friday, Meals on Wheels customers get a hot lunch and a visit from a familiar delivery driver.  The driver is able to perform a quick assessment of the customer’s health, behavior, and condition of home.  Any signs of alarm are immediately reported.  We are able to provide quick notification to working or distanced relatives in times of need, and get immediate assistance from emergency services when necessary.

 

To find out more about Community Action’s Meals on Wheels Program, contact (440) 998-3244.

Senior Nutrition Program- Part 3

Ashtabula County Community Action Agency’s Meals on Wheels Program has teamed with the County’s Cleve-Net Libraries  to provide a Lunch ‘N Library Program.  The Lunch ‘N Library Program brings library materials directly to the homes of those who receive home delivered meals as part of the Meals on Wheels Program.  The customer chooses the type and number of materials to receive; a local library fills the request and brings the materials to a Meals on Wheels kitchen; and the Meals on Wheels Driver delivers a bag of library goodies with a hot lunch!  When the customer is done with the materials, the bag is swapped with a new batch of materials!  Materials include regular-print and large-print books and magazines, audio-books, and even DVDs!

To find out more about the Lunch ‘N Library Service, or  ACCAA’s Meals on Wheels Program, contact (440) 998-3244.

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