Assistance programs from Indian River Economic Opportunities Council.

The Economic Opportunities Council of Indian River County supports both that county as well as nearby Okeechobee. A number of services are administered that resolve around case management. The community action agency may also have limited cash assistance for qualified families in a crisis. However any financial support will be very limited and come with restrictions. The demand is also very high for any form of aid.

When facing a crisis, emergency assistance may be available for rental needs, food, and other crisis situations. No matter what someone applies for, it comes with conditions, including the following.

Any financial aid paid out is one time only and is for resolving a crisis, such as unexpected lost job, medical expenses, or car repairs needed for work. Applicants need to meet certain government poverty guidelines as well. If Economic Opportunities Council does provide aid, then the client needs to pay the bills on their own in the future, so they need to be on the patch to financial stability. Other proof is needed too, such as of income, copy of a lease, food stamp application and more.

LIHEAP - Low Income Energy Assistance is processed by Economic Opportunities Council. The organization processes applications for eligible households. The funds are used for offering assistance in meeting the cost of home energy bills and preventing disconnections. Grants and aid is offered once per year, and funding priorities are a disconnect notice or final notice received. Priority target groups include a family with at least at least one child under 5 in the home, someone age 60 or over, or someone with a disability.

The REACH program, or Rewarding Education Through Action in Community and Home was created to assist motivated adults and older teenagers to achieve self-sufficiency. All clients need to be low income and be highly motivated. They need to want a job from improved education or vocational skills training.

If enrolled into REACH, participants get financial assistance or low interest loans towards vocational skills training and/or education. Case managers help people by coordinating support for barriers towards employment and offer referrals to other, non-profit community services. The non-profit community action agency also holds educational workshops on money management, budgeting, job readiness, parenting and other important daily living skills.




Head Start is offered by Economic Opportunities Council (EOCOFIRC) in both Okeechobee and Indian River. The government programs focus on helping children learn by coordinating programs as part of Head Start. This includes Social and Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Early Math, Fine and Gross Motor Skills, Physical Health Practices, Dental and Medical Care, Food, and other services.

The majority of children entering the government created Head Start program are found to be below the average developmental scores of their peers. But they get assistance when they participate. The program has been successful as shown by Indian River County Head Start children performing better than the National Average in areas such as early math skills, comprehension of spoken directions, or letter recognition. The children from the region flourish under the attention of passionate teachers and also early educated professionals.

As part of Head Start in Florida, children who enroll are provided a stimulating, rich and appropriate classroom environment. In addition, the federally funded Head Start program offers nutrition and health screenings and other social services to ensure early detection and treatment of health-related problems.

The community action requires parental involvement in Head Start as it is proven to improve educational performance of the student. Parents of the children frequently visit classrooms, plan and help with field trips, and help in other ways.




A free daily breakfast and lunch is served to children at the EOCOFIRC Head Start centers. A healthy meal is important to education. The Head Start centers and classrooms in Indian River County Florida serve the county's most needy families, including those with a disability.

The Economic Opportunities Council of Indian River County is located at 2455 St. Lucie Ave. in Vero Beach, Florida 32960. Call them at 772-562-4177.


By Jon McNamara

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