The working poor in Johnson County can turn to Outreach Services from several different Multi-Service Centers for help. The charity will try to offer one time financial aid as well as outreach to residents that are in a crisis. There are also more unique programs such as medical equipment and prescription vouchers. Some of the main clients of the services include senior citizens as well as families with children or the disabled.
The funds are meant for one time expenses, therefore the applicant should have some source of income and be able to achieve self-sufficiency. The agency will require proof of expenses and income, whether from a job or some type of government entitlement such as disability or social security. The family seeking help also needs to have been paying their bills on time in the past, and not shown a history of financial mismanagement.
Even if someone does not qualify for the resources above, others from the Johnson County Kansas community may be able to get general advice though. This can include referrals to food banks or maybe government programs, so there are always some form of options available to needy individuals.
The food bank as well as soup kitchen run by Multi-Service Centers provides healthy, nutritious food items. The aid is focused on income-eligible households and individuals, with some special items for senior citizens or children which can meet their diets. The Food Pantry supplies groceries and items to clients on an eligibility basis that includes several different data points, including income. There are also some seasonal programs available, such as baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas for meals for those particular holidays.
Due to the weak economy, the number of meals and boxes of food distributed continues to rise as economic conditions in the area stagnate or maybe slowly improve. In order to continue to help families and individuals, the non-profit is seeking both non-perishable food and monetary contributions, and the goal is to keep people from being hungry.
The Summer Food and Summer Meal Program was established to ensure that students, infants, and children continue to receive free nutritious meals when school is not in session. This may also operate during extended holidays or even weekends, and in those cases it is known as the backpack program.
What will happen is free meals, that meet USDA Federal Nutrition guidelines, are provided to all children at approved sites, of which Outreach Services will have information on them. The service operates during school vacations, primarily in the summer months from May to August. This is a federally and state of Kansas funded and is also sponsored through the Department of Human Services.
There is help for the elderly too, mainly through the Senior Nutrition & Wellness program. It will address the needs of older people in Johnson County through nutrition education and well as serving them balanced daily congregate meals. The aid may also be offered in the form of a weekly grocery bag from the food bank referenced above, or in some cases, volunteers from Multi-Service Centers will coordinate free home delivered meals to home bound seniors every week.
At the congregate meal sites, which are run in partnership with agency on aging offices, seniors age 60 and older partake in various social and educational activities as well, so there are other benefits to participating. There may also be health fairs held or information sessions on applying for government benefits.
Commodity Supplemental Food works to improve the health of elderly people at least 60 years of age. It meets this goal by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA commodity foods. Qualified households receive a monthly distribution of free products which may include canned meat, cheese, vegetables, fruits, grains, cereals and juices.
The Outreach Program is committed to advocating on the behalf of various low income individuals, including women, veterans and their families. Staff provide information and referrals to align the low income with service connections or employment assistance. It will offer referrals to a wide range of services within Johnson County.
There are programs that can pay out grants for expenses such as rent, or offer other support including mediation and advice. Staff will meet with tenants and landlords to discuss eviction problems and hopefully find some type of solution. There are both one on one sessions and workshops held. In order to get help, the applicants total monthly rent cannot exceed a defined portion % of gross income, so in other words the home needs to be affordable over the long term.
Government grants, such as ESG, are to provide financial assistance to families. They can use money for relocation assistance as well as a security deposit as a form of rapid rehousing. There may also be funds for paying a portion of back rent. Other housing programs in Johnson County include emergency shelter or permanent supportive or public housing.
There are other solutions available as well. Case managers provide assistance in identifying apartments for families to move into as well as developing relationships with landlords. The staff also collaborate with area homeless or domestic violence shelters or other services that interact with homeless families to identify households in need of help.
ESG may also provide financial help for utility bills, and this can include electric as well as non-typical expenses, such as water. There are various funding sources, such as LIHEAP, and the intent of this Multi-Service Center service is also on homeless prevention. So if family may have their water shut off, or heat is disconnected, then this is when there may be grants for utility bills.
A Medicine Cabinet is run by the non-profit. The service provides durable medical equipment, assistance for dental emergencies, diabetic supplies, and optical needs. There may also be vouchers for prescription medications and some other low cost medical supplies for a crisis.
Any type of support will require clients to participate in case management, such as Employment Assistance, life skills training, budgeting, and more. The intent of this is to help qualified residents in securing and maintaining a livable wage. So workshops are set up that will teach employment skills and conduct, vocabulary/language, and offer participants other information to better current employment and end the cycle of poverty.
There are several locations in Johnson County, as indicated below. Appointments are needed.
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