The Gulf Coast Community Action Agency provides services to low income families in the Harrison, Hancock, George, Greene, and Stone County region of Mississippi. The non-profit is one of the leading anti-poverty organizations in the region and can direct residents to short term emergency assistance and other services.
Case managers are always committed to working with those facing poverty and helping them overcome barriers. A key to do this is increased education and employment, and these often go hand in hand. So resources for that are offered and some of the other programs offered by the non-profit are noted below.
Utility bill assistance is available from the federally funded Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP. This is available both across the nation and the state of Mississippi. LIHEAP is probably the Division of Community Services (DCS) both most well-known and also the most highly utilized program.
When funding is available, LIHEAP can provide grants and other forms of financial assistance to low income eligible households and the funds are used to help them pay for their home energy bills as well as other utility costs. The application period is usually open once per year, but there is also a crisis component as indicated below.
The amount paid out will change depending on the applicants income, number of children, and other conditions. Seniors and the handicapped in Harrison, Greene and other counties are always given priority for financial aid. In addition, qualified low income clients are required to participate in case management, such as budgeting, in an effort to help them improve their lives. Staff from the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency will also assist people with applying for other non-profit resources and assistance programs to address their specific needs.
LIHEAP also has a Crisis Intervention Program, or ECIP. The federally funded Energy Crisis Intervention Program provides financial assistance and cash grants for paying natural gas, wood, electricity, heat, liquid petroleum propane/butane gas and other energy related costs when a customer in Mississippi is faced with a crisis.
Employment services are offered by the Workforce Investment Act. This can help people gain new skills, find employment, and gain other support. Education is a key component of that as well.
Another resource is the Gulf Coast Action Agency’s Working on Winning GEC Program. This is freely offered to residents under the age of 21 years who are interested in getting their GED. Those who enroll will receive technique such as resume writing, job searching assistance, interviewing practice and classes on work ethics. Many businesses in Harrison County and nearby towns may have job openings.
The Head Start Program is available at the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency in partnership with other agencies and schools. It will promote school readiness by enhancing the cognitive and social development of low-income children. Head Start will provide them with educational, health, nutritional, social and other services that will help the child and family gain success.
Since parental involvement is key to the success of any Head Start program, the community action agency program will work closely with parents to develop and utilize their strengths in order to meet personal and family goals.
Education is available as part of Head Start. It encourages emotional, cognitive, social and motor development through an integrated program that provides each child with opportunities to achieve success. It requires parent involvement and provides nutrition and health components.
Social Services is another component. This will help families build on their strengths and show and encourage them to use their own resources to resolve issues facing them. Staff from the agency will help families in Harrison and Hancock assess their needs, provide information about community resources, make referrals to them, and offer other appropriate services.
Head Start Health Services stress the importance of prevention, treatment , and early diagnosis of medical and health problems. The program offers every child and student with a comprehensive health program, including dental, medical, and mental health services.
Children with disability can benefit from Head Start. In addition, those with a mental health condition may enroll as well. The program knows of the importance of providing psychological and mental health services to children from low income families in order to encourage healthy emotional and social development.
Food and nutrition is offered from Gulf Coast Community Action Agency and the Head Start program. Students will be provided a minimum of one snack and two hot meals each day. There is also an assigned Nutrition Specialist that provides education to teach parents how to select and buy healthy foods and prepare well-balanced meals.
The locations of the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency, Inc. are as follows.
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