Providing resources across Marion, Morrow, Richland, and Crawford Counties, the Ohio Heartland Community Action Commission is one of the region’s leading non-profit organizations that is focused on the needs of the poor and low income. They also provide help to the unemployed, seniors, and disabled.
Everything from emergency financial aid to budgeting and job placement is provided. The agency and its case managers are committed to helping families regain self-sufficiency. The primary programs administered are below.
The OHCAC Homeless Prevention Service, which is sponsored by government grants, assists households in crisis situations. There are a number of eligibility requirements that must be met in order to receive benefits, including having an eviction notice or some type of unexpected crisis. The program staff members are trained to guide clients through the application process for a loan or direct financial aid for paying rent.
Ohio Heartland Community Action is the area’s administrator for the federally funded Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides year-round support to low-income residents in Richland or Marion who are struggling with high home energy costs. The HEAP Winter Crisis (WCP) and grants for paying cooling bills provide financial assistance to those who have had service disconnected or whose service is about to be shut off.
In some cases, there may also be help for those who need to establish new service or transfer their utilities to a different address. There are also cash grants from HEAP for those who have 25 percent or less fuel remaining in their fuel tanks or that are out or propane.
The Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus, or PIPP Plus, from Ohio Heartland Community Action provides financial assistance with paying home energy bills as well. This resource is for working poor and income qualified customers of an electric or gas utility company that is regulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
In addition, total household income of the family seeking help must be at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level and this is a last resort, so people must apply for all energy assistance programs for which they may be eligible first. Also, certain utility companies may have payment plan programs available for their customers, so those need to be applied to first as well.
Save energy from weatherization. The state makes use of US Department of Energy funding to provide repairs and alterations to the homes of low-income Marion, Richland and Crawford County households, with the goal of improving energy efficiency. It will also make utility and heating bills more manageable and easier to pay over time.
HWAP’s professional, certified staff and contractors perform a home audit for free. This will include heating system inspection, tune ups, and electric baseload analysis to evaluate lighting and appliance efficiency. The results are used to determine which measures are the most appropriate, and then the government will pay for those updates. These may include the sealing of air leaks, insulation of attic and sidewalls, weather stripping, and other similar services.
Head Start from OHCAC serves hundreds of children in dozens of classrooms in the cities of Galion, Marion, Mt. Gilead, Cardington, Mansfield, Shelby, and Bucyrus Ohio. It is operated as a comprehensive, developmentally appropriate education and socialization program for income-eligible children.
The Head Start environment and the classrooms are safe and welcoming, and it is also for children with special needs. Nutritious meals, boxes of food and free snacks are served throughout the day to students. In addition to the community action agencies child-centered services, they also provide supportive programming for the entire family, in the areas of family partnership, transition, education, health and nutrition, intervention, mental health, and transportation. The program operates according to applicable Head Start and Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services regulations. In Morrow, call 419-947-9575, Crawford dial 1-800-854-4020, Marion (dial 740-387-1039) and Richland call 419-589-3337.
In response to the decline in the Ohio economy, and the resulting difficulties faced by residents of Crawford, Marion, Morrow, Richland Counties, OBB or Ohio Benefit Bank counselors are available to provide low and moderate-income residents, as well as the unemployed, with connections to tax credits, government benefits and employment-related services.
Applications from Ohio Benefit Bank are for SNAP Food and Nutrition Programs, Medicaid for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled, SSI disability, WIC (Women Infants and Children), Extra Help for Medicare Part D Ohio’s Best Rx, as well as USDA Child Nutrition Programs.
Ohio Heartland Community Action Commission, or OHCAC, operates from several centers. The main ones include the following.
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