Economic Security Corporation of the Southwest Area programs.

Resources available from the Economic Security Corporation of the Southwest Area help working poor, low income, and senior families. The non-profit community action agency provides support from its Outreach Offices to qualified residents. They also are involved in administering federal government and state of Missouri benefits, such as the Housing Choice Voucher program. Assistance from ESC is available in Barton, Jasper, McDonald, and Newton Counties.

Community Services Department representatives are available in all ESC Outreach Offices to assist low-income residents of the service area who are working their way out of poverty. The agency believes in taking a holistic approach to ending the cycle of poverty or homelessness.

Growth and development services from Economic Security Corporation

The process begins by starting with an intake session for identifying, addressing, and meeting the client’s most basic needs. Case managers partner with individuals and help them obtain financial freedom over the long term.

There will be an Intake Assessment and Referral (IAR) held, which consists of a series of questions regarding employment, education levels, housing, nutrition, income, and health. This provides the Outreach representative from Economic Security Corporation of the Southwest Area with a complete picture of the family’s situation. This will enable them to furnish referrals to appropriate programs provided either by ESC or by other community agencies.

For more information on this process and case management, call your local Outreach Office. The numbers are Neosho (417-451-2206), Joplin (dial 417-781-0352), Anderson (phone 417-845-6011) and Lamar (417-682-5591).

In addition to above, ESC provides Intensive Case Management services to families and individuals who are willing to commit to a long-term process in order to meet their goals. The ultimate aim is to achieve employment, financial independence and self-sufficiency.




A case manager will meet with the family in their home or apartment to perform the intake assessment. The visit is used to identify needs and strengths, and is used as a basis for identifying which programs and resources will be the most effective. Referrals are then made, either to ESC programs or to other agencies in the ESC service area.

Family Self-Sufficiency Program from Jasper County Public Housing Agency is another program that assists families in working toward financial independence. FSS helps families with getting out of credit card debt, repairing poor credit scores, finding employment, and buying homes. This program requires hard work and dedication, but the end result is well worth the effort.

Economic Security Corporation of the Southwest Area CHANCE program offers a unique service that specifically targets the homeless in counties such as McDonald by helping them find and retain employment. Programming includes life skills training, job placement, as well as case management and support services. This is offered throughout the job search process and after the client gains employment.

Find help from housing and rent programs

Transitional Housing in Missouri is another program that supports the ESC mission of helping families in reaching the goal of long erm self-sufficiency. Once eligibility is determined, the low income family or formerly homeless takes possession of an apartment or house, depending on family size, needs, and the availability of housing.

The rent due will be based on income level, and each participating family pays for their own utilities and other housing expenses. Case management services are mandatory and include assistance with finding and keeping employment, enrolling in higher education programs, credit repair, developing and following a budget, and setting future housing goals.

Adults or single parents without high school diplomas or GED certificates are required to attend adult basic education classes. In addition to that, all school-aged children who use the transitional housing are required to attend school. Case managers also provide referrals to additional services, as needed.

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher is one of the federal government’s premier programs for assisting very low-income families, the elderly or seniors and the disabled with housing. HCV clients are provided with financial assistance with monthly rental payments. The funds are paid directly to partnering landlords who maintain decent, safe, and affordable housing priced within the Fair Market Rents.

Clients of section 8 vouchers are required to put 30 percent of their income toward rent, while the balance is paid by the Jasper County Public Housing Agency, which serves Barton, Jasper (except the city limits of Joplin), McDonald and Newton Counties. HCV also provides support services, such as homeownership counseling, case management, affordable child care, educational opportunities, and job training.





The purpose of SFOORP, or the Single Family Owner Occupied Rehabilitation Program, is to help low to moderate-income homeowners in Jasper, Newton, Barton and McDonald Counties with home repairs. They will both serve to eliminate any hazards and at the same time enhance the health, energy efficiency, safety, accessibility, and code compliance of the dwelling.

Economic Security Corporation of the Southwest Area runs SFOORP in partnership with a funding source and other non-profits that provides forgivable three-year loans to eligible homeowners. In addition to the financial assistance, the program provides confidence to clients that appropriate home repairs were provided in a timely manner and with quality workmanship.

Weatherization makes energy efficient alterations to the homes of low-income residents, with the goal of reducing costs and helping them save money on bills. Other benefits include improving the air quality, hygiene, and safety of the dwelling.

Special emphasis is placed on making improvements for the very young, senior citizens in Missouri, and those with disabilities. Depending on the results of an on-site home energy audit, both renters and homeowners can qualify for WAP services that may include the following Weather-Stripping and/or Caulking of doors, adding free insulation, and also the Tune-Up, Repair, or Replacement of Furnace or Heating Unit.

LIHEAP, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, provides help with home energy costs to low-income households, particularly those with the lowest incomes and utility bills that represent an unreasonable proportion of household income. LIHEAP assistance is available in counties such as Jasper, Newton, and others. There are two main components. They include the following.

  • -Energy Assistance, or EA, is up to once-per-year assistance. It can help with paying a primary fuel source heating bill, with the benefit amount offered to the consumer based on household size, the applicant’s income level, and the type of fuel used for home heating.
  • -ECIP - Energy Crisis Intervention Program will offer grants to households dealing with verifiable crises, including disconnection of heat or cooling service. ECIP helps with the costs of restoring service or preventing disconnection for a thirty-day period.




Education and medical services

Women in Missouri can access affordable, confidential, high-quality reproductive health care at ESC’s Women’s Health and Family Planning Clinic. The free community clinic’s overall aim is to ensure that women receive the most up-to-date information and access to health care tools.

Head Start is a preschool level child development program offering a comprehensive set of services to provide low-income families with child the support needed to break the cycle of poverty. The program puts special emphasis on the importance of the involvement of parents as children’s primary educators.

In addition to educational programming from the Southwest Area Economic Security Corporation that promotes optimal emotional, educational, and physical development for children, Head Start also offers free medical and dental health screening with follow-up services. There is also inclusive programming for children with disabilities, nutritional education, and free hot meals following guidelines set forth by the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

The address is Economic Security Corporation of the Southwest Area, 302 S. Joplin Ave., Joplin, Missouri 64801. For more information, dial 417-781-0352.

By Jon McNamara

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