Education, rent assistance, job training and more is available from the non-profit Committee for Economic Opportunity in Jefferson County. They are the local community action agency and are focused on helping the poor and low income overcome their challenges.
While resources are limited, some of the key programs include LIHEAP energy bill assistance, rent and security deposits from JCCEO HEARTH, Head Start centers and weatherization. More details on these various services are below.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) from Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity and Alabama Charitable Trust provide heating bill and cooling assistance. Crisis assistance is available too, however it requires that at least one member of the residence has a documented health problem, and it is a requirement of that person to have a controlled environment. A current seasonal utility bill (power, gas, propane, etc.) and proof of homeownership and income are required to apply for help. JCCEO's Energy Services locations are:
Rent, security deposit and eviction prevention is all part of the JCCEO HEARTH (Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act) - Emergency Solutions Grant Program. The non-profit provides homelessness prevention, and assistance to rapidly move people who are either homeless, facing eviction or are otherwise at risk of becoming homeless.
Some of this housing assistance can include emergency rental assistance, utility bill payments, credit repair, and funds or a loan for paying security deposits. Other support from HEARTH may be free legal assistance, moving and storage costs assistance, and temporary housing in a shelter type unit. Beyond offering immediate homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing, the JCCEO program seeks to achieve long-term housing stabilization for clients by offering them with guidance and intensive case management.
The education and learning program known as Head Start provides educational services to hundreds of children from the County. They need to be between the age of three and five. Their parents and adults can also benefit. Its well-trained staff help in implementing the curriculum that encourages children to grow, develop and study.
Aside from providing education, JCCEO Head Start Program strives to meet the nutritional and health care needs of the community’s families. It also aims to protect the child’s health and safety at all times. To help in the development of the entire community and state of Alabama, this program trains staff members as well as parents to enhance their overall abilities and skill sets.
Head Start classrooms are located at centers in many towns. They are in Birmingham, Midfield, Bessemer, Fairfield, Warrior, Homewood, Jefferson County, Leeds, Tarrant, and other public schools.
Early Head Start provides comprehensive services that are similar to the above mentioned Head Start. But in this case it is offered to infants, pregnant women, toddlers and their families.
The program gathers resources from local agencies in its efforts to provide extended day care services for working families. It also supports families involved in vocational education, and provides opportunities for skill development that will help them lead fulfilling lives. Parents of the child can benefit as well s they are trained in several classes focused on budgeting, computer literacy, home improvement, exercise, basic adult education, and GED.
EHS also has a prenatal component that delivers home-based services to women from Jefferson County and Birmingham. Families participating in the home-based services receive weekly visits and they can also visit the main center up to twice a month to engage in activities.
When women participate in the prenatal component when giving birth to their babies, the assigned Health Specialist visits the home within at most two weeks of the baby's birth. They can provide support, guidance, and information on government programs such as WIC or free diapers. All of this is done in an effort to ensure the vigorous health and well being of the mother and her child. JCCEO Early Head Start is committed to make a difference in the lives of pregnant women, children and their families. EHS is located in seven centers, and in several Community Partner Centers in the region.
Seniors and the elderly can benefit from JCCEO Wylam Adult Day Health Care Center. This provides a caring, safe, and secure environment for older adults coping with conditions that require daytime supervision or assistance. It serves as an alternative to care giving in hospitals or nursing homes.
In addition to offering clients activities, the Day Health Care site is a safe, affordable and lively environment that cooks nutritious meals for lunch, breakfast and dinner. Door-to-door mobilization and transportation are also key tasks done by the center. Participants will highly benefit from the activities of the Day Health Care Center as their isolation is reduced. They are heavily involved in gaining social interactions with other adults. They can also participate in many activities and workshops that are organized by the center.
Caregivers of the senior person will also benefit from helping as they gain a greater ability to focus at work. Most caregivers or takers have experienced tremendously from the assistance offered at this community action agency run centers in the Birmingham area.
Run by the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity and partly sponsored by the Alabama State Department of Children's Affairs Office of School Readiness, the Alabama First Class Pre-K Program provides pre-kindergarten education to children aged four or younger, if they qualify. If they are successful, this may also lead into placement into a Head Start Center.
Food and nutrition for seniors is another program offered. Jefferson County's Alabama Senior Gardens Program is the main resource available. Services ranged from free transportation, legal services to counseling, information and assistance, education classes, health screening, and wellness programs. All of this, and more, is offered through local senior garden centers.
JCCEO's St. Joseph's Senior Nutrition Center is one of dozens of nutrition centers throughout Jefferson County that assists those economically, socially and emotionally deprived. It provides free meals for seniors, fellowship and activities, and transportation to the location is available as well as needed.
589 Bessemer Super Highway, Midfield, Alabama 35228, telephone number is 205-426-8636
Another senior center is at 3901 4th Street West, Birmingham, Alabama 35207, call 205-324-1302
Financial literacy, budgeting, and credit repair are all part of the JCCEO Asset Building and Housing Counseling Program. This assists low to moderate-income families in achieving long term self-sufficiency through trainings and education. The list of trainings that participants may attend are the following. Mortgage Delinquency and Default Resolution, Homebuyer Education Programs, Pre-Purchase Counseling, Eviction Prevention, Various Outreach Initiatives, Individual Development Accounts (IDA), Post-Purchase Counseling, Home Loan Modification, Rental Assistance, Predatory Lending, and Fair Housing Assistance.
The state of Alabama Home Weatherization Program puts conservation improvements in houses to make them more energy efficient. It will utilize the weather condition to increase the home’s proper ventilation. This helps make the house cooler during summer and warmer in winter.
Other strategic steps are devised to effectively lower gas and electric bills through the home weatherization program. This project may include repair or replacements of windows and doors, furnace repairs, caulking, extra weather stripping, and/or adding ceiling insulation. Dial 205-212-9603.
Effectively using the funds sponsored by CSBG and WIA , young participants with high-risk barriers for success will improve their long-term job search and placement prospects in the center’s multi-level strategy ACHIEVE Program. They may qualify for educational training, internships and placement with a Birmingham based business. Credentials, GED prep work, case management, and supportive services are offered to the participants so they can overcome substantial risk factors. Through their active participation, achieving established goals is easier.
JCCEO is an organization committed to helping the less fortunate with a main office at 300 Eighth Avenue, West Birmingham, Alabama 35204-3039. The telephone number is 205-327-7500.
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