East Central Illinois Community Action Agency offers support to many individuals on a daily basis. Staff will partner with individuals in the Iroquois, Ford, and Vermilion County community for an extended period of time. In some cases, assistance is offered on an ongoing basis as long as they are working on a goal moving them towards self sufficiency.
The non-profits uses a combination of full time staff and a number of volunteers to clients. They are focused on eradicating poverty. Staff also help individuals locate financial aid programs for their bills, they help people do employment searches and locate low income housing, have sessions on how to operate a computer, enroll into GED preparation classes, and locate government aid such as SNAP food stamps or details on the Affordable Care Act. All of this is coordinated by East Central Illinois Community Action in an effort to stop the crisis and help families gain financial literacy.
The federal government funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can be applied to at East Central Illinois Community Action Agency. It offers financial support for paying high winter utility bills to residents who meet program eligibility criteria. Priority is given to those who are elderly and/or disabled, as well as to households with young children in Vermilion and other counties, in the form of additional credits against utility bills. Other support is arranged too.
-Program staff members also perform outreach activities.
-Free information on conserving energy.
-They will visit individual homes and senior centers in an effort to assist those with applying for LIHEAP in need who may not come to the office. This includes visiting senior centers and the homes of homebound elderly and/or disabled clients to assist with the application process.
LIHEAP runs from November 1 through April 30, or until all funds are exhausted. Limited grants for utilities as well as heating bills may remain available in Iroquois or Vermilion at the end of the program year; these are used to prevent disconnections.
While the LIHEAP program from East Central Illinois Community Action Agency is available to all residents meeting the above eligibility criteria, there is a specific mandate to serve the disabled, elderly and households with young children. These families receive an additional credit on their annual benefit. Outreach efforts across Illinois will also try to reach these target groups in other ways as well.
The Weatherization Assistance Program is a free conservation service that often has a long waiting list at ECICA. It was created to help low-income clients reduce their home energy costs and make their homes efficient for winter and summer months. In addition, eligible homes become a safe dwelling for clients. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes that receive weatherization save more than $400 dollars a year on fuel costs. In addition the property is now safer, healthier and more comfortable for participating families to live in.
East Central Illinois Community Action Agency Head Start and Children’s Services is the largest early childhood education program in Vermilion County and Ford. This program helps the youth from low-income families prepare for school. There are many ways in which it does this.
The organization fosters children’s emotional, intellectual and physical development through high-quality education. It also incorporates individualized curriculum, mental health services for children and families, family case management, disability services and support, free meal plans, and health screenings at clinics.
The databases and information at East Central Illinois Community Action Agency facilitates access to public assistance, government benefits and long-term solutions. Through a Clinic Model, the program assists clients with the application process for SNAP Food Stamps; Medicare; the free or reduced lunch program; the Affordable Health Care Act; and Medicaid.
Case managers from the ECICA agency also offer information and guidance on these benefits. They may have details on Food Stamps, SSI disability, SSID, TANF grants, and Earned Income Tax Credit Services (EITC). This and more is generally available through East Central Community Action as it helps make public assistance and long-term solutions for families living in poverty more accessible.
East Central Illinois Community Action Agency helps with financial challenges as a member of local non-profit credit counseling agencies. They also partner with a group of local nonprofits and community organizations providing low-income residents with high-quality financial services. There are also partnerships with community action agencies, the VITA program from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and others.
Free tax preparation services, provided by trained volunteers, cover issues such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It emphasizes ensuring that clients receive all state of DDDD as well as federal tax credits to which they are entitled, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). To be eligible, annual household income cannot exceed $49,000 per year for a family or $16,000 per year for an individual. Other workshops provide budgeting to help clients stretch their dollars or they can get free education on why Tax Credits are important.
East Central Illinois Community Action Agency employment services from are for adults or the unemployed that are looking for steady work. The assistance is available through The Employment and Training Department which offers a broad range of services. Examples include the following.
-Job placements and summer jobs during school breaks for low-income youth.
-On the job training.
-Help with school.
-Programs for finding jobs in Ford, Iroquois or Vermilion County.
In general, staff members from ECICA work with clients to prepare them to meet the demands of the current job market.
The poverty fighting programs from East Central Illinois Community Action Agency are extensive. Or referrals may be given from their office. The phone number is (217) 443-2705, or stop by 56 N. Vermilion Street, Danville, IL 61834-1335.
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