A number of social services and public assistance programs are available in Brown County from the county. Staff are on site, including social workers, that can help very low income families apply for help. Some of the more commonly requested benefits include food stamps, WHEAP low income energy assistance, and of course section 8 housing. However, there are many other resources for residents, and those are just a few examples.
Using federal government funds from the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), there are some homeless prevention programs available. While most are run by non-profits or charities in Brown County Wisconsin, the Economic Support Team may have linkage to them.
What ESG can provide is emergency funds for people that are behind on their rent and facing an eviction. In some cases, the money provided to the tenant may be in the form of a loan, but this is a last resort. The goal is to ensure the family remains housed over the short and long term, while they participate in case management.
The currently homeless in the county can also get help from public assistance. There are groups that partner with the county Low Income Services group on offering solutions such as assistance with a security deposit (using ESG funding above) or that can provide accommodations in transitional housing. There may be some low income public housing available as well for qualified residents.
Other housing programs may include free motel or hotel vouchers, and these are a last resort, generally when the local shelters are full. There may also be dedicated solutions for victims of domestic violence, or veterans in Wisconsin from SSVF.
Cash assistance is provided under TANF, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. This is a public benefit that tends to be for very low income families, even those at poverty level. The government will offer limited funding, provided the client is in job training or working, for a period of months. The money can help with basic needs, such as say for parents to buy food for their child or a household to pay their rent or utility bills.
Public assistance can be used for paying energy bills too, as part of WHEAP. There are government grants available, or the household may receive a credit on their bill. The enrollment period will start in September or October of each year, and all funds are paid out on a first come and served basis to those families that qualify, and the funds can pay for heating, gas, and similar bills.
The food stamp program, or SNAP, is the areas main public benefit. It was create to improve the nutrition and overall health of working-poor individuals, with a focus on children as well as the elderly. This is also known as FoodShare in Wisconsin, and Brown County can pass out so called Electronic Benefit Transfer cards which participants can use to buy food at their local grocery stores or retailers, even including locations such as Wal-Mart or Target. So the use of food stamps in widely accepted.
There is help in paying for child care expenses too as part of Wisconsin SHARES. Parents that meet income qualifications, and that are either in job training, school, or working can receive public assistance in the form of a voucher to pay for their day care bills. This is administered by Brown County Economic Support.
The programs will only subsidized the cost, and parents still need to pay a portion of the expenses as well. In addition, there are databases on which day care providers participate and the quality ratings on them, so this can be another tool for parents to use to help them select a provider.
Medicaid is available for health and medical needs, including from BadgerCare Plus. The Economic Support department, using federal funds, offers this for people that are very low income or completely lack health insurance. This can be combined with resources such as the Affordable Health Care act to address the needs of struggling residents. There may be support such as medications, basic check ups, and other care provided.
Job placement or training is part of Work First. This will also generally provide participants with some form of cash assistance, and the client will both be able to receive financial help for some bill while they work towards self-sufficiency and a stable income over the long term.
As part of employment, Economic Support will strongly encourage education. There are workshops such as General Educational Development (GED) as well as ESL classes. These can help clients gain long term stability by an increased educational level.
The Economic Support department in the County concentrates on finding solutions for low income and working poor families. The main address is 111 N. Jefferson St., Green Bay, WI 5430, or call 1-888-794-5747.
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