Providing assistance across Franklin County, the community action agency known as IMPACT administers various programs and services for the less fortunate. Clients include low income families, the working poor, seniors, and others, and they may receive funds for a variety of bills as well as employment and job placement services.
The goal of the programs from IMPACT is to break the cycle of poverty, so short term aid is available, but clients will need to agree to long term self-sufficiency. This includes enhancing computer skills, obtaining employment, and rebuilding credit, among other steps. Families need to work towards independence and financial fitness.
Grants for paying heating bills is provided from the Winter Crisis Program, or WCP. This is a state of Ohio seasonal program that runs from November to March of each year. Essentially, WCP in Franklin County will make a payment for utilities to low income households within the region, and applicants will generally need to have an income at or below 200% of the federally established poverty guidelines. However priority is for seniors and families with young children.
To summarize the benefits of this program, eligible families will receive bulk fuel heating bill assistance, be enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) Plus Program and also receive a one time grant for other utility bills.
To prevent at-risk households in the Columbus Ohio region from experiencing a disruption in their energy service, HEAP was established to address this. Financial assistance comes in the form of restoring disconnected services and, if needed securing seasonal heating and cooling energy needs based on individual assessments of households.
Families as well as individuals who participate in the federally funded program are offered information and resources to help them on their journey back to energy independence. In addition, another goal of HEAP is raise awareness regarding conservation and efficiency use of electricity.
Emergency Assistance is for Franklin County families facing homelessness. Or there may be help from IMPACT for those that need need home furnishings or help with essential transportation, no interest loans for approved expenses, and there is also assistance for food needs.
As resources allow, Emergency Assistance offers applicants financial and material support in the form of loans or government grants. This is done while they work on a resolution to their crisis. This assistance program prevents homelessness, helps with rent expenses, disruption of utility services and prevents evictions. Help is provided via a central information base that local non-profit community service agencies access to find the help needed for their clients.
Food programs are offered in collaboration with Mid-Ohio Foodbank and other charities. Another option is IMPACT’s Free Farmer's Market resource, which provides fresh fruits and vegetable at no-cost to low-income, qualified individuals and participants within the community. So various forms of groceries and other items are provided to the needy, including children.
The Central Case Management system serves as the conduit through which all IMPACT programs and services are utilized. They are made available to struggling, working poor families and individuals. The main goals of Central Case Management and of all the community action programs include teaching these families and individuals self-discovery through identification. There is also help in addressing and resolving the multiple barriers that have led them to financial struggle and crisis.
Home Weatherization Assistance (HWAP) was created to offer households with free energy efficiency services. This is provided to income qualified households in Franklin County. Services include home insulation, housing unit inspections, and air-leak detection. Also, heating system repairs and replacements are made utilizing energy-efficient appliances.
The goal of all of these services is to lower home energy costs on low-income single and multi-family homes/units in Franklin County. Additional services from IMPACT’s HWAP include furnace repairs or replacements, air leakage detection, attic and extra wall insulation, installation of compact fluorescent light bulbs, and maybe even the total replacement of inefficient appliances.
Finding and sustaining long term employment is an essential part of helping lower income, disadvantaged individuals become independent again. The Workforce Development and related Employment Plus Program offers them a number of solutions. There is job training for careers on the cutting edge through an accelerated curriculum over a 5 week time period.
This covers a broad spectrum of topics including resume writing, teaching computer literacy, mock interviewing, academic course work and financial literacy. Those who graduate from the employment program also receive coaching from a specialist on a one to one basis to sharpen interpersonal and technical skills. This is all done in an effort to heighten the chances of attaining gainful, long term employment somewhere in the Columbus region.
Computer literacy is a requirement in this day and age when it comes to finding employment. Through the IMPACT Computer Literacy Program, individuals are taught the basic to intermediate workings of using a system. They will also be provided with software knowledge and training on the latest applications.
In addition, use of the internet is taught to individuals so they may search for jobs on websites. All of this education and teaching is done through tutorials online, hands-on repetition and through individualized instruction from specialists.
For more information, case managers are at IMPACTs main office. The address is 700 Bryden Road, Columbus, Ohio 43215. Call 614.252.2799 for intake.
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