ADVOCAP assistance programs.

Residents of Fond Du Lac, Green Lake, and Winnebago Counties in Wisconsin can turn to their local community action agency, ADVOCAP, Inc. The location provides assistance to the low income, poor, unemployed, and seniors. Several social services are administered.

One of the focuses is on coordinating housing assistance programs, including homeless prevention and weatherization. The non-profit has information on possible home improvement assistance programs, job training and more. Other needs such as heating bill assistance and food may be available as well.

Low income housing may be offered from ADVOCAP owned rental properties. They are located in Winnebago, Fond du Lac, and Green Lake Counties. Seniors and others can apply for the units.

A Home Buyer Program offers income qualified residents of Fond du Lac, Green Lake and Winnebago Counties assistance at several levels. Clients can receive education and guidance that can put them into place to acquire a home of their own. Some people also get assistance with down payment and closing costs in the form of government grants. The ADVOCAP program is supported by local banks and real estate professionals.

ADVOCAP's home improvement and repair resource, which is called Housing Rehab Program, offers assistance to eligible home owners, including the disabled. Funds and loans can be used only for housing rehab based on safety, health or accessibility issues. The funds cannot be used for any other purposes.

Assistance for homeless will help households to achieve self sufficiency by identifying and implementing steps needed towards establishing independence and long term self-sufficiency. Staff work with clients on creating the appropriate plans with that goal in mind.

Assistance includes shelters, transitional housing and offering assistance with finding appropriate permanent housing for homeless. There may also be funds to pay for first months rent or the portion of a security deposit. Also work with a specialist on assessing employment skills and connecting to employment resources as well as ongoing case management.




The Fond du Lac office Wisconsin office operates Fresh Start. This focuses on building self-sufficiency in young adults under the age of 25. The program helps individuals identify challenges and self-sufficiency barriers. Staff and teachers also work with them and help them gain experience in successful employment training. The program includes a structured curriculum that includes employment readiness. There will also be individualized education and social services offered to address the personal barriers. Those who are successful earn a scholarship towards continued education at the end of the term.

Weatherization services from ADVOCAP help program participants to save money. It will conserve energy, reduce energy consumption and help homeowners cut back on energy costs. The weatherization services in Winnebago and other counties will both keep homes warmer in the winter and cooler in summer.  The extent of weatherization services necessary in each home varies depending on the age of it as well as the way the home is constructed and its condition.

First, an evaluation by an energy auditor will occur. This determines what energy improvements need to be done to improve the home's energy efficiency, the needed improvements are done by a crew of trained employees. Examples of free improvements made from ADVOCAP include Sealing Bypasses, weatherstripping, insulating walls, water heaters, pipes & hot air ducts, Replacing or Repairing & tuning up furnaces, and even installing compact Florescent Light Bulbs.

Loans for Business Development is for individuals with limited incomes who either currently own or are planning on launching a small business. They may be eligible to receive assistance from this program. For most of the low interest loans under this program, income is measured at or lower than 150% of the Federal Poverty guidelines during the previous 90 day period. The request range is up to $15,000 and the term is limited to less than 5 years.

To get a loan, applicants need to have a good credit record and no liens or judgments against them. These applications are the only type that will be considered. The business must be located in Green Lake, Fond du Lac or Winnebago Counties.

When applying for the Job & Business Development (JBD) program, residents with disabilities, seniors, single parents enrolled in the W-2 program, the unemployed and workers who were recently laid off are given preference to receive the loans.

Also, ADVOCAP's Business Specialists are on call to offer guidance and support. They can even assist with completing applications required by various state and federal agencies for identification numbers, and completion of various income tax forms.

The Business Development Program helps individuals become more self sufficient through self employment and is run in partnership with the US Small Business Administration for the Micro Loan Program and by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).





Funds for paying fines is when ADVOCAP helps low income and working poor individuals pay off certain fines such parking violations and/or traffic citations. The fine needs to otherwise result in a suspension or revocation of driver's license, prevent the person from getting to work, suspension of vehicle registration or even loss of employment.

ADVOCAP partners with the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to manage a placement and supported employment program. It operates in Fond du Lac, Green, and Winnebago Counties. Through this employment program, employees get various career counseling, work experience opportunities, on the job training and job coaching. Individuals from the region that are diagnosed with various mental or physical disabilities can avail themselves of job placement.

Work Force Development Centers from ADVOCAP provide training, job development, advice, and case management services for dislocated Workers, those impacted by business and/or plant closings who wish to retrain and renew their skills for future employment opportunities. Training is run in partnership through local colleges and technical schools. There is an office in Winnebago County, 181 E. North Water Street, Suite 210, Neenah, WI 54956, (Phone 920-420-5617), the Oshkosh Office, 2929 Harrison Street, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901  as well as Fond du Lac County, 19 W. First Street, Fond du Lac, WI 54935. Dial 920-922-7760 Ext. 3566.

Another program from ADVOCAP is Job Skills Enhancement. This helps working adults earn higher wages by providing necessary experience and skill building learning opportunities. Some of these Educational Opportunities may include GED and HSED assistance and instruction in completing their basic educational goals at the student's own pace; free educational materials; help with basic literacy; assistance with basic reading, writing and math skills and testing.

The federally funded Head Start Program focuses on overall child development and aims to prepare children under the age of 5 to succeed in elementary school and in all of life's experiences. It provides Winnebago County children from lower income families with a wide range of growth and learning experiences. Family Reading Head Start serves children and families living in Fond du Lac and Green Lake Counties and includes services for children with disabilities.

Head Start uses the highly rated Creative Curriculum to provide developmentally appropriate activities that promote learning in the following areas. This will be language and Literacy, science and nature, math, creative arts and more. Not only that, but ADVOCAP affiliated Head Start also has a comprehensive health services program that focuses on dental needs, well-child care, preventive health and safety, health care follow ups and a screening program for detecting vision and hearing problems.

Mental health services are for the entire family. They offer counseling and guidance for the household, including parents. Children get a nurturing and supportive environment and parents get counseling and advice on good parenting and child growth and development.

Nutrition Services are also part of ADVOCAP Head Start. The community action agency participates in the Child & Adult Care Food Program, a federal government program that provides healthy meals and snacks for the whole family.




The program also focuses on the entire family. It works closely with parents of the child, providing assistance for developing and using individual strengths to accomplish personal and family goals. This can include employment and more. Parents are also encouraged to become involved in all aspects of Head Start and can also participate in making decisions regarding policies and programs that govern program operation.

The regional Senior Nutrition Program gives seniors who are 60 years old or older a couple different options for receiving a free nutritious and tasty meal. Those who are able to travel can partake of their meals at a congregate meal site whereas those who are confined to their homes and cannot travel can get their meals delivered to their home for free or a low cost. Anyone living in an apartment building where a meal site is located is eligible regardless of age. Disabled dependents of eligible seniors are also eligible.

All meals served at a site or delivered will be prepared keeping in mind the nutritional needs of seniors and offers at least 1/3 of the Recommended Dietary Intake for older adults. While there is no provision for specials diets, the meals are usually salt-free. All fruits provided are either fresh or canned in natural fruit juice.

As noted, there are three counties served by ADVOCAP, Inc. The addresses are as follows.

Fond du Lac Office, 19 West First Street, P.O. Box 1108, Fond du Lac, WI, 54936-1108 Call 920-922-7760 or 800-631-7760.
Oshkosh Office is located at 2929 Harrison Street, Oshkosh, WI 54901. Dial 920-426-0150 or 800-323-0150
The Neenah Office, 181 E. North Water Street, Suite 210, Neenah, Wisconsin 54956 at telephone 920-725-2791 or 800-631-2791.
Berlin Office of ADVOCAP, 237 Broadway, Suite C, Berlin, WI 54923, call 920-361-9880 for intake.
Prairie View Head Start, W911 State Highway 44, Markesan, Wisconsin 53946, Telephone number is 920-398-3907 or 800-631-6617.


By Jon McNamara

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