Low income families in Clinton and Franklin County are supported by the Joint Council of Economic Opportunity community action agency. The non-profit offers help for paying energy bills from HEAP and weatherization. There is also free food, school supplies, and self-sufficiency administered. However the focus is on assisting with job placement and training, and help people gain self-sufficiency.
JCEO Community Outreach services are available to low-income families, senior citizens, the working poor and the disabled. There are several different centers located throughout Clinton and nearby counties.
The Outreach Program helps clients receive one-on-one support services and assistance with filling out applications for government benefit programs such as HEAP and the Christmas Bureau. Center visitors may also access information in regard to various JCEO community service programs that offer clothing, food baskets and other basic necessities. Additionally, each Outreach Center operates a free Food Pantry to help local residents in need of nutritious foods like diary items, pasta, fruits, canned goods, and much more.
Family Development Program’s New York State-Certified social workers provide free, confidential services. All of the advice and guidance available is directed toward the goal of assisting families with working toward achieving financial stability and also self-reliance.
Help is for seniors in the region. This is offered in cooperation with the Clinton County Office for the Aging and the New York State branch. The JCEO Senior Outreach Workers provide a wide range of services to assist area seniors with learning about and accessing appropriate programs, completing necessary paperwork and applications for programs such as Medicare, and other aid.
Senior Outreach Workers from Joint Council of Economic Opportunity also receive training in advocacy, to help those who are having difficulties with Food Stamps, Social Security, Disability, Medicaid, Health Insurance, and other programs. The focus is on ensuring the elderly get the support they need.
For assistance in getting to critical medical appointments, there is the Rural Transportation Program or the MTP - Medicaid Transportation Program. There may also be rides arranged by volunteers for shopping trips and other local transportation needs.
JCEO partners with local companies in Franklin and Clinton to provide help with various household tasks, such as home repairs, yard work, general housekeeping, and personal assistance. The service matches each client with a pre-screened provider, who works either for an affordable suggested fee or in some cases the help is provided for free.
The Head Start early childhood education program is for children from low income family. Teachers and staff from community action promote healthy physical, emotional, and cognitive development for children and students aged three and four, combined with comprehensive support services for their families.
Program staff members work with parent to help them recognize that children have varying individual rates of development, as well as diverse cultural backgrounds and differing learning styles. The focus of Head Start in New York State is on providing an educational environment that meets the unique needs of each student, including children with special needs and disabilities.
Joint Council of Economic Opportunity has the objective of thoroughly preparing children for kindergarten. This may include referrals to fellow community agencies in Clinton County to provide added services to effectively meet the unique needs of each child. Head Start support services also include the following, such as free Nutritious Meals and Snacks, Preventative/Primary Health Care, and also the Continuing and Consistent Access to Health Care.
The annual JCEO Back to School Supply Drive helps students from low income families with obtaining basic school supplies. Support in the form of money and school supply items (such as clothing and notebooks) comes from a number of businesses, churches, and organizations, and individual community members.
ESP - Energy Services provides free energy-saving home alterations to income eligible residents. The programs from the non-profit community action agency are designed to help households save money on their utility or heating bills, while at the same time improving the comfort level of homes and supporting a healthy environment.
Weatherization Assistance, or WAP, provides additional cost-saving energy efficiency services to income-eligible households in both Clinton and Franklin Counties. Homeowners and renters are welcome to apply for this free resource from JCEO.
Once approved for upgrades, a home undergoes a comprehensive energy audit that helps contractors determine which services and alterations will be most cost-effective and energy efficient. WAP may pay for Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms; Repair or Replacement of Refrigerator and/or Other Appliances; Insulation, Caulking, and other improvements.
Other assistance for energy bills include HEAP applications. This is when the federal government will provide people with cash grants to pay their heating and gas bills, with a focus on fall and winter months.
In addition to all of the programs above, Joint Council of Economic Opportunity also administers the Empower NY Program for income-eligible residents, with a focus on senior citizens. Services and products provided by Empower New York include water tank wraps, installation of compact fluorescent lights (CFL), night lights, shower heads, aerators, free refrigerator, freezer, heating system, and adding extra insulation. Other safety issues of the homeowner may be addressed as well, as needed.
Home Performance with Energy Star also provides free energy audits. The client will be given a written report which is made available to the homeowner at a reasonable cost. Homeowners who hire Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) certified contractors to perform the energy conservation alterations are entitled to a refund for that expense.
There are several offices of this community action agency, as noted below. These will be the main outreach centers and other sites.
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