Find help from ACCESS assistance programs
Information on the ACCESS services can be obtained at their Outreach and Referral department. This location will not only offer individuals details on their assistance programs, but also provide linkage to other non-profits in Jackson County or offer guidance on applying for government benefits.
There are many valuable programs, services and financial aid resources available to low-income residents in the community. They range from grants for paying heating or energy bills to foreclosure counseling and groceries from the Food Share program. Trained staff from ACCESS are dedicated to assisting residents of the county through the cumbersome and complex social service system in Oregon and really across the nation.
The outreach service will also put priority on the Senior Citizens and Disabled in the community, as they are considered the most vulnerable. By offering both referrals and home visits, the organization helps people apply for SSI, senior food programs, and other aid. The goal is to help them live independently in a healthy and safe environment, and ideally their current home.
Utility programs in Jackson County
Energy bill assistance programs in Oregon were created in an effort to help low-income households pay for a portion of their summer cooling or more likely winter heating bills. The goal is to help households save money, keep their power on, and otherwise alleviate unmanageable utility bills.
ACCESS relies on various state of Oregon, federal government and other private sources for the money for the utility grants. Funds are limited, and issued on a first come and served basis to those that qualify. Any financial aid paid out is done so as an equal opportunity service, and all applicants are protected against discrimination on the grounds of race, age, color, religion, primary language, disability, or national origin.
As part of LIHEAP, eligible households in Jackson County can receive a one-time cash payment toward their utility bills, or winter heating expenses. This is also operated as a fuel blind program and financial help from LIHEAP is available for all heating types, including natural gas, electric, propane, home heating oil and even wood.
Free weatherization is for residents of the county, and qualified families can apply for this government benefit in an effort to have their home weatherized. This is provided for free, and it can help households save money for many years to come.
There is often a waiting list in place by ACCESS, and once an applicant is contacted, a crew will need to visit their home. They will then perform a free energy audit, and based on the results, the staff will determine the best home improvements to take based on the existing condition and age of the home.
What may be completed includes, but is not limited to, installation of CFL bulbs, ceiling, wall and floor insulation; infiltration reduction; energy related minor home repairs such as patching of a roof; heating duct improvements; and energy conservation classes for the homeowner. For more details, call 779-6691.
Help from ACCESS housing programs
ACCESS is also a HUD approved Housing Resource Center. Staff from the non-profit can help both tenants and homeowners, and they provide guidance, counseling and assistance to people who need help addressing with their housing situation, whether it is late rent or a foreclosure notice.
The site is known as the SOHRC, or Southern Oregon Housing Resource Center, and it is a clearinghouse for families and individuals to locate information on products and services to help. Staff cover residents of both Josephine and Jackson Counties. Some of the resources and workshops are below.
Seniors can learn about Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, or HECM. This is a government approved mortgage product available to persons age 62 and older, and they can cash out their equity to pay for bills and basic living expenses.
ABC’s of Homebuying is approved by the state of Oregon. The agency is involved in providing information on the process of purchasing a home.
Buyers Assistance Programs helps clients, namely first time home purchasers, improve their credit, apply for affordable mortgages, and address other barriers. Foreclosure counseling is available too from ACCESS.
Emergency food is passed out from a network of pantries and other partners of ACCESS. The main resource is known as Food Share, and it helps feed hungry families, children and individuals in Jackson County. There are a few dozen pantries that participate and work to feed those facing poverty and struggling families. One key partner, Fresh Alliance, also helps distribute dairy items, milk, meat, fruits, and similar goods to the needy.
Seniors, as well as families with very young children, can apply for the government funded Commodity Supplemental Food Program. This USDA supported resource supports those facing poverty in Jackson County Oregon. Boxes of food with non-fat dry milk, cereal, juice, evaporated milk, rice, pasta, canned meat, peanut butter, dry beans, canned fruit and vegetables may be passed out.
Gardens with fresh fruits and vegetables also operate in the county too. Volunteers from charities and churches are heavily involved in keeping the ACCESS Food Share program running, and they plant, harvest, and maintain the crops as needed. The items are available for eligible families in the community.
The location of the agency is at 3630 Aviation Way, Medford, Oregon 97504. Call them at 541-774-4320 for more details on their programs.