Everything from emergency financial assistance to job placement is offered from the Economic Opportunity Authority for Savannah-Chatham County Area. This is the local non-profit community action agency for the region. Case managers are focused on helping the poor, low income, and less fortunate make it through a crisis and gain self-sufficiency.
The EOA Savannah agency will take a holistic approach to addressing the reason for the hardship. So case managers work with clients to address the root cause, all the while providing short term support. While limited, they may have referrals to programs to pay rent, energy bills, groceries, or maybe certain fees such as security deposits.
Emergency financial aid, referrals, and other support is part of what is available at Neighborhood Services Center. Or many people from the community may get referrals or information on public aid from this center.
One main program is for Energy Assistance. This assists low-income residents and the working poor of the larger Savannah/Chatham County region with meeting the extreme costs of their summer cooling and winter heating bills. There is a one-time cash payment available from this that will go towards helping clients to pay for the cost of their utility bills. Clients can also apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), including the crisis component.
Other Crisis Intervention Programs are available at the EOASGA Neighborhood Centers. The sites may offer cash assistance or low interest loans to qualified households in various emergency situations. For example, there may be help for paying rent, vouchers for prescription medications, or assistance for security or utility deposits. The NSC also has a food and clothes pantry.
Of course, if EOA Savannah can’t meet your needs or satisfy your request, then the non-profit can often refers clients in need of help to other local churches, charities or human service agencies within the community.
Transitional Housing, Shelter and Homeless Services are available from Economic Opportunity Authority for Savannah-Chatham County Area as well as partner agencies. Some of the resources are the Duffy Street SRO Homeless Shelter. This is for men and provides them a place to stay, food, and access to social services. There is also permanent housing as part of this and it offers basic needs such as laundry services, bed, computers, stove, and other household needs. Rent is due from guests, but it will be subsidized based on the resident’s income as part of aid from the Housing Authority of Savannah.
Another transitional housing facility is the Tom D. Austin House. It is for the recently evicted and formerly homeless families. Guests of the center, whether women, men, or children, will also receive comprehensive case management, day care services for infants and toddlers, career development, transportation, after-school tutoring, and access to weekly life skills workshops. The primary goal of the programs available at the Chatham County Georgia Austin House is to Break the Homeless Cycle. When it is ready to move out, clients may receive financial support for paying expenses such as rent or a security deposit.
Economic Opportunity Authority for Savannah-Chatham County Area provides clients a number of housing and tenant counseling services. They include free foreclosure prevention, rental counseling, eviction prevention services, reverse mortgage counseling for seniors, and information on emergency rental or deposit assistance.
Across Georgia, the Weatherization Assistance Program allows low-income families to permanently save money and reduce their energy bills. It works by making their homes more energy efficient. The community action agency will coordinate smoke alarm installation, non-vented space heater replacement, gas heater repairs, gas stove repair and replacement, or hot water heater or furnace repairs. This is accomplished by adding more insulation, modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment, and sealing leaks.
Head Start, a form of early childhood development, is available across Savannah Georgia. The program is paid for using grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of Head Start is to address the psychological, educational and health care needs of children under the age of 6 from low-income families. Whenever possible, the program will offer them free high quality early childhood education, assistance for a disability, medical care, nutritional support, and mental health. There is also information on social services and government support for their parents.
Similar to above is the Economic Opportunity Authority Early Head Start program in Chatham County. It is for newborns and children from age of “birth” to two years of age. It can also support still pregnant mothers. Since the child’s development starts so early, the agency works to offer educational opportunities that encourage brain development.
Both of these are for immigrants, Hispanic children and families, the disabled, and children of all races. Bilingual staff and teachers from Chatham County and EOASGA are employed in schools and as part of these various Head Start services. In addition, having children learn about different cultures and languages helps stimulate their growth over the long term.
Home Buyer Education is offered by local HUD approved agencies, the EOA community action agency, the City of Savannah, and other partners. The main goal of this service is to help participants understand the steps required to becoming successful, long term homeowners. Components of it are noted below.
Clients can also enroll into money management, budgeting and financial literacy workshops that are held by EOASGA. These programs also provides information on home loan and mortgage modifications. Funding for the various housing and rental counseling programs is provided by the United Way (FEMA-Rent and Mortgage Assistance), Community Services Block Grant, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and also directly by the City of Savannah as part of the Emergency Shelter Grant-Rent and Mortgage Assistance program.
Work Force Development from EOA Savannah consists of Computer Literacy Services as well as Job Development. The unemployed or those seeking new skills benefit from referrals to jobs and the agency works to reduce the so called digital divide. So staff work with families and the larger community in obtaining employment by keeping pace with technology.
With the challenging job market and increasing competition, the Job Development Program may help clients meet that challenge. The community action agency has been placing clients and the formerly unemployed on jobs in the Savannah-Chatham County community.
There is a free computer lab on site. The staff work with individuals to help them develop new skills and/or find employment. The computer lab is used to enhance skills, assist people with finding jobs by focusing and preparing them to pass software tests, and learn applications such as Microsoft products.
The Economic Opportunity Authority is based at 618 West Anderson Street in Savannah, Georgia, 31415. To learn more of their services, dial (912) 238-2960.
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