Outreach, financial aid and referral services from Beaufort-Jasper Economic Opportunity Commission help low-income residents of both counties access the services that are available to them. The non-profit community action agency strives to maintain a knowledgeable staff dedicated to helping clients navigate the complex and often cumbersome social service system. Or the agency can offer their own forms of cash assistance.
Examples of services available in the region are as follows. The agency can refer residents to these programs. They include the Senior and Disabled Outreach Program, which provides special services to particularly vulnerable individuals. This helps clients live independently in a safe and healthy environment through home visits and referrals. There is also food, housing, and applications to government aid arranged across South Carolina.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) as well as Weatherization Services are available in counties in the Jasper and Beaufort service area, subject to funding availability. The federally funded programs provides qualifying applicants with once-per-year financial assistance in order to offset increasing home heating energy costs. As another form of help, there are free conservation measures made.
Though often an overlooked area of need, Weatherization is a critical program serving low-income, disabled, and seniors in South Carolina. Government grants are used to improve conditions in the homes of eligible low-income clients by adding energy-efficient measures that reduce home heating and cooling costs and improve the homes' health and safety.
LIHEAP offer cash grants or credit on utility bills. A focus is on keeping the heat on during the winter, or even keep electricity on during warmer summer months. Beaufort-Jasper Economic Opportunity Commission case workers can offer intake on the application process in the state of South Carolina.
Beaufort-Jasper Economic Opportunity (EOC) is involved in advocating for low income people and the working poor. They may also offer referrals to direct financial aid, often in partnership with other agencies such as the United Way. This can include everything from rent help to prescription medication vouchers.
Programs available from the community action agency can address issues such as utility rates as well as lack of affordable housing. Low income families or that on Medicaid seeking medical care are also some of the key clients, and they are often requesting vision or affordable dental care for Medicaid recipients. Other need help with water bills or food to prevent hunger.
Case managers provide information as well as referrals on local Beaufort County, state of South Carolina and federal government benefits as well. They will be working with people who face these issues daily, and hopefully direct them to source of grants to help with those bills or rental costs.
In addition to providing referrals to local food pantries, other hunger prevention programs are available. They can cover all situations, ages, and needs of income qualified clients. Some are government run, such as SNAP food stamps, and others are administered by charities.
The Summer Food Service Program for children and lower income students provides free, nutritious meals for children from one to 18 years of age during the summer, when school is not in session and free school lunches are not available. It is paid for mostly from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as the state of South Carolina Department of Education’s Division of School and Community Nutrition. These hot meals or small snacks are served to children at a number of locations throughout Beaufort or Jasper.
The Head Start Program is one of those located in the state of South Carolina to be honored with the federal government’s Certificate of Excellence Award. It provides children the assistance they need. The Head Start service was offered as a high-quality, comprehensive educational as well as educational/nutritional program for preschool-aged children, along with their families.
Parents who are working to fulfill individual and family partnership agreements are offered the following.
-There is job-search assistance.
-Classes in counties such as Beaufort include General Educational Development (GED) and English as a Second Language (ESL).
-Topics covered include financial literacy, debt reduction education and support.
-the community action agency can coordinate various health and wellness services; and opportunities to volunteer in the community and within the program.
Head Start fathers as well as single moms are encouraged by Beaufort-Jasper Economic Opportunity Commission to participate in trainings that provide them with tools for gaining a greater level of engagement with their children, whether they share a home or not. As noted, there is also assistance for non-English speaking parents. These individuals are given the opportunity to learn English, and are then able to go on to earn degrees, find employment and otherwise improve their quality of life.
The Economic Opportunity (EOC) administers a workforce development program that features regularly scheduled job-readiness workshops for Beaufort and Jasper County residents. These multiple day workshops include mock interviews to help participants gain the confidence needed to secure employment. Clients also work with a counselor who will assess their job skills, improve and/or prepare their résumé, and the person will also learn how to properly apply and interview for a job.
Individuals receive an electronic copy of their updated résumé on a mobile computer drive. They can also use the internet for free at local computers. This will allow them to print their job applications or resumes as needed. Upon completion of the workshop, participants are referred to Beaufort County area job placement program to being their search for local employment.
For more information on resources from Beaufort-Jasper Economic Opportunity (EOC), the main office is at 1905 Duke Street, Beaufort, SC 29901-0009. Call (843) 255-7223 for referrals.
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