Residents of several counties can get both financial help and other support from Mid-Iowa Community Action. The non-profit supports families in Marshall, Poweshiek, Hamilton, Hardin, Story, Tama, Benton, Humboldt, Boone, Calhoun, Greene, Jasper, Kossuth, Mahaska, Marion, Pocahontas, Warren, Webster, and Wright County. There is one main office to apply at, but referrals can also be provided to some local satellite offices.
There are many assistance programs run by MICA. Some are for solving an emergency and some are focused more on long term support. A sampling of the services include the following, but there are many more. The staff can help people pay for the Affordable Health Care Act, WIC vouchers, and LIHEAP energy bill help. They also operate housing and rent assistance programs and help coordinate loans for struggling households. Much more detail is below.
New mothers or pregnant women can learn about food as well as other assistance from WIC. Some residents, including Greene, Humboldt, Marion and many others think as WIC as just offering nutritional aid. While it does this, Mid-Iowa Community Action can offer much more as well.
There will be an appointment made with a new parent (mom or dad) or someone that is prenatal. During this session the client will learn about healthy eating, cooking, and referrals to diaper programs. They can also learn about Early Head Start in the greater Mid-Iowa region. There will also be some basic health care checks for anemia and other conditions.
When it comes to the USDA Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), this will provide the household with a voucher. They can use this at their local store to pay for juice, eggs, cheese, milk, dairy, pasta, fruits and vegetables as well as much more. Mid-Iowa Community Action can refer residents to this.
Free food is distributed by the MICA pantry. The non-profit agency has a wide variety of goods that can be passed out. It includes, but is not limited to, the following. There may be Canned Fruits or Meats, bananas, Corn, Dried Beans, Vegetables such as Tomatoes, baked Potatoes, rice, Spaghetti or Sauce, Vegetable Soup, Applesauce and much more. The free food pantries are only based in the counties of Hardin, Poweshiek, and Story.
The groceries as well as food from the pantry come from donations. There is also support from Feeding America in Hamilton as well as Marshall County as well as the USDA Department of Agriculture. Not only that, but money may be contributed to the non-profit, and these funds are used to pay for a wide variety of nutritious foods with the funding available. Any clients of Mid-Iowa Community Action can only get one or so boxes of free food every several weeks.
The Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) subsidy is provided to needy persons from Mid-Iowa Community Action who are suffering from mental illness or a physical disability. There may also be rent rent or loans for single mothers. The amount of financial aid provided cannot exceed the difference between standard rent expenses in the marketplace based on unit size and 30 percent of a family’s monthly adjusted income.
The TBRA subsidy from MICA is designed for as an income based program. There are no other criteria set in place by TBRA other than income. It also offers counseling that helps clients with money management, debt reduction and supportive services that focus on the rights and responsibilities of tenants. In addition, referrals are made to other community resources.
The state of Iowa Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps income-eligible households offset the rising costs of heating a home. Participants of the program, which MICA can help people apply for, are served on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to seniors, those with disabilities, and families with children aged five and younger.
Any grant from LIEAP is not an entitlement. The applicant needs to meet the goals around income, savings, and more. To be eligible for financial assistance for paying utility bills, household income must be at or below 175% of the federal poverty level income, with consideration for the number of family members.
Staff help WIC approved clients apply for government health care too, mostly Medicaid. Based on the fact that the family is already qualified for WIC, there is a presumption that the individual will be eligible for Medicaid as well. This is a federal government health insurance program for very low income families and MICA can help already eligible WIC clients.
A Dental center, which operates across the middle of Iowa, offers low cost dental screenings at various sites in the community. This preventive health-care program from the clinics was create for those with limited incomes. Other patients of Mid-Iowa Community Action may be underserved and uninsured individuals. From the location at 226 SE 16th Street in Ames, it offers them low cost basic dental care, with referrals to a specialist when needed. Or if this site does not work, then find other Iowa free dental clinics.
Head Start serves income-eligible families with preschool-aged children. Center-based child development services are provided in the Head Start centers. Those sites are based in the non-profit’s core five counties of Tama, Poweshiek, Story, Marshall, and Hardin. Those are the only regions covered by Head Start, and sessions are offered four to five days a week, with an emphasis on child development and education. Mid-Iowa Community Action will also arrange for programming and social support services.
All of the Head start activities are provided by the Head Start Centers' family service workers. There may be free transportation to and from Head Start Centers in Mid-Iowa; free Health Screenings; Nutrition Education; Dental Exams and Follow-Up Care; Parenting Programs; and workshops that enforce Parental Involvement in Advisory Groups.
Maternal Health is a MICA program for new or expectant moms. It combines advice/counseling along with more practical support. So not only will a case manager give advice on what to expect or hold parenting classes, but they coordinate free medical or dental care, refer clients to diaper programs, food or victim services and even emergency financial aid. The non-profit will also help the new parents navigate the difficulties in holding down their job or applying for child care vouchers to help them maintain their employment.
Mid-Iowa Community Action Case management covers some general needs too. This is often called Project Home Mission by the non-profit, and is based in Poweshiek County. There is both financial aid and stabilization run by the agency as well as local churches that partner with the agency. There is both respite for Warren, Boone, and Greene County unemployed as well as homeless. The clients can be given free bus passes; offer Drinking water and use of computers too.
They can drop in for support as part of the Project Home Mission. As part of case management, social workers conduct one-on-one assessments to gather information on needs, goals, and expectations. The case management may address all of this, with a focus on employment, both jobs for working from home and full time roles.
In addition to Project Home Mission, Mid-Iowa Community Action does one-on-one work with families through the Family Development and Self-Sufficiency program (FaDSS). The non-profit will not necessarily focus on working from home in this program. The case manager from MICA will assess where a family is in their development and help them create goals in a variety of areas.
Steps to Success from Mid-Iowa Community Action provides support such as Self-sufficiency such as Adult Basic Education (ABE), training for General Equivalency Diploma (GED), and English as a Second Language (ESL) is arranged by MICA. Some of these services will be provided for free to the client, but in other instances MICA may offer financial support or a grant to pay for some of the costs. This program is run from Story County.
Depending on the program, the person is placed in a classroom with a certified teacher or matched one-on-one with a volunteer. Programs such as the GED have minimum age requirements, and that is 18. There is assistance for immigrants, Spanish speakers, and those looking for new skills or experience. Steps to Success not only covers employment needs, but there is also substance abuse services as well as goal setting.
MICA has several centers to contact. They include the following.
1001 S. 18th Ave., Marshalltown, IA 50158, phone (641) 752-7162
Story County - 230 SE 16th Street, Ames. Phone: 515-956-3333
Poweshiek County MICA center - 611 4th Avenue, Grinnell, dial 641-236-3923
Hardin County office is at 637 S. Oak Street, Iowa Falls. Phone – 641-648-5036.
Marshall County Mid-Iowa Community Action office is at 6 S. 2nd Street, Marshalltown, phone 641-753-5523
Tama County families can stop at 105 S. State Street, Tama. Phone 641-484-4713.
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