Saturday, July 02 2011 13:02


Written by  Randy Weldon

Efforts to develop timely service offerings that alleviate the causes of poverty and meet the ever-changing needs of the impoverished in Southwest Georgia are ongoing. Although service emphasis may differ from county to county to meet the diversity of local needs, services fall under three major service categories:

Community Services

Community services encompass a variety of services for individuals of all ages.  Examples of services include emergency rent and utility bill payment assistance, case management, congregate and home-delivered meals for senior citizens, transportation, surplus commodity distribution, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and a children's summer camp.  Funding is provided through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and a variety of other sources such as FEMA, USDA, United Way, WIA, churches, businesses, local government, and competitive grants.

Child Development

Head Start is a federally funded comprehensive child development program that serves children prenatal to age five who are in families earning income at or below the federal poverty level.  Head Start actually consists of two programs:  Head Start (serving families with children ages three and four) and Early Head Start (serving children prenatal to age three, pregnant women, and their families).  Funding goes directly from the federal government (Department of Health and Human Services, DHHS) to local grantees.  The federal government provides 80 percent of the annual cost to operate the program, and the remaining 20 percent must be generated locally.

Housing & Energy

Housing and Energy programs are designed to provide housing repairs with a focus on energy conservation.  Reduced energy loss, which yields lower home fuel/utility costs, is achieved by preventing infiltration of the elements through measures such as weather-stripping, insulation, sealing, caulking, and minor home repairs. Other grant and low/no-interest loan programs are designed to assist with repair of deteriorating housing conditions, including major renovation of homes. All services are dependent on funding source guidelines such as various home ownership requirements and income eligibility.  Funding is provided through Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), USDA Rural Housing, and other sources as they become available.

Last modified on Monday, July 25 2011 14:56