Pearl River Valley Opportunity.

The community action agency known as Pearl River Valley Opportunity is a nonprofit that helps those that are facing a hardship. They provide assistance and referrals in the counties of Forrest, Covington, Jefferson Davis, Pearl River, Jones, Lamar, Marion, and Perry Mississippi. Several emergency and long term assistance programs are administered for the less fortunate and poor.

Find help for bills and rent from Pearl River Valley

Groceries, rent and housing assistance from the Emergency Food and Shelter Program is an option. Working with partners, the United Way and the community action agency offer grants to the less fortunate. They distribute the funds to the counties in Mississippi and the regional community action agencies, including PRVO.

This distribution is based upon the United States Department of Labor's unemployment statistics for the last 12-month period. The social services that are part of this program are available to the residents of the region including Covington, Jefferson Davis, Forrest, Lamar, and Marion County. In some cases, Perry County also participates in funding but not as regularly. Feeding, groceries, shelter, rent, utility and mortgage assistance are provided to low-income families through this Emergency Food and Shelter Program.

WAP - Weatherization Assistance Program is involved in making eligible individuals homes more energy efficient by reducing their utility bills. The elderly, disabled and low-income families with young children have priority when applying. Each household participating receives proper education on energy efficiency and improvements to their homes. The priority criterion is based upon the energy audit of households.

The most cost-effective, energy-efficient measures are available to participants. Improving air quality and addressing health and safety concerns is a significant objective of the weatherization resource. The program provides services in the regions of Jones, Forrest, George, Greene, Harrison, Covington, Hancock, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, and Stone County.

Grants and credits from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assist with paying utility bills. Pearl River Valley Opportunity (PRVO) provides energy bill assistance services to low-income and poor households via LIHEAP. Eligible families get the chance to pay off the high costs of their energy bills with the financial support of this government program. The resource also provides advice on energy savings and weatherization in the households.




LIHEAP funds are used to provide financial assistance to income qualified elderly, disabled and people with serious medical conditions. Financial aid from PRVO also helps by providing free air conditioners in the summer months and maybe even heaters and other energy related items in the winter months. Income eligible families and individuals from the region are entitled to the services of Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Medical Care and the Prescription Assistance Program provides financial assistance and discounts to elderly and the uninsured n Mississippi. The goal is to help them save money. This is achieved when the community action agency obtains prescription medications for poor elderly people and those that lack insurance.

The fact is that meeting basic health care needs for low-income individuals along with addressing expensive medical bills is almost impossible. Such individuals often do not receive proper care due to expensive health insurance plans and lack of income to buy medicines or to see the doctor. In addition, the lack of preventive medical care contributes to illness and maybe even disabilities.

Pearl River Valley Opportunity, along with local hospitals, health care providers and pharmaceutical companies, agree that treating patients who cannot afford to buy prescribed medications is not effective in the long term. That is why it is necessary for everyone to have access to free medication so that senior citizens and people with financial difficulties could have the health care they deserved. Having this in mind, those who benefit from this program could make better use of their available income to cover other costs that they may have, like utilities, rent, food, and more.

Congregate Meals Sites and Senior Centers help elderly citizens by providing several free nutritious meals. They are served each week at the lowest cost possible to local residents. Elderly individuals who are 60 years of age or older are eligible for these numerous social, rehabilitative, and supportive services offered at senior centers in Marion, Lamar and other Mississippi counties.

The main goal of the PRVO program is to promote self-sufficiency and decrease the isolation of older people. Qualified persons are those in greatest economic and social difficulty and those at nutritional risk due to lack of adequate food. Low-income senior citizens who have reduced mobility, skills, or motivation to prepare a meal are also eligible for the feeding assistance.

Pearl River Valley Opportunity and their non-profit partners has several congregate meals sites including in Forrest, Jones, Marion, Lamar, and Pearl River Counties and thousands of meals are served.

Free transportation provides rides to eligible elderly people to and from local non-profit community resources. In this way, the program participants obtain needed services without having to worry about transportation. One of the goals is providing elderly people with the access to service sites and assisting them in maintaining mobility. Delaying premature institutionalization is another goal of PRVO.





Eligible applicants have free transportation to doctors appointments, social service agencies, medical visits, shopping centers, adult day care centers, job interviews, congregate meal sites, etc.

Government aid is used to fund the Community Services Block Grant. Pearl River Valley Opportunity offers many programs to eligible disadvantaged individuals and families as part of CSBG. While the financial support is limited, in some cases the community action agency will issue qualified families short term loans.

It offers resources to low-income and working poor individuals. Comprehensive services include case management, employment, affordable housing, nutrition, and educational support. While more limited, emergency financial assistance can be provided for expenses such as security deposits or rent to prevent homelessness. It is combined with self-sufficiency and the applicant needs to agree to participation in local community affairs. Services are not limited to those above and other aid is available too.

The eligible residents of the various counties can use the CSBG services. Comprehensive case management is the focus of this particular program, aiming to provide assistance and guidance to the whole family.

ISP, or Individual Service Plan, is one of the segments of the case management implementation. The social worker and the eligible family need to work together to set goals and develop a proper ISP. Developing a systematic process of meeting those objectives according to the family's requirements is another important necessity for a proper ISP.

The objective of the Pearl River Valley Opportunity program is achieving self-sufficiency and stability of the families or individuals by identifying and solving their issues. Maybe the main responsibility of the case manager is to refer low-income eligible clients to the proper agencies.

Family programs and Head Start

Early childhood development from Head Start/Early Head Start are for low-income children and their families. Disabled children are also eligible. The goal of the programs is to prepare children for future education and to improve self-sufficiency of those children and their parents. Making an impact to the communities through partnerships and resources is PRVO's mission via this program.




The Families First Resource Center is the program from PRVO that aims to reduce and prevent the recurring poverty for children, the elderly and their families. The Perry County Family Resource Center has 4 major goals. They are reducing neglect, encouraging childbearing and reducing illegitimate pregnancies, providing educational opportunities for low-income individuals and assisting parents to become more responsible.

Using their own innovative case management approach, staff from Pearl River Valley Opportunity engage all parents to participate. This parent activity is in focus and they must attend classes if their children participate in after-school tutoring sessions. A educator is available to parents as well, motivating them to attend classes. The program supports youth by providing services related to high education.

PRVO has many referrals to a wide variety of agencies providing health services, education, employment opportunities, emergency services, free child care, housing, and transportation. The clients are referred to these Lamar, Jefferson Davis, and Forrest County agencies. For information, call Pearl River Valley Opportunity. The address is 756 Highway 98 By-pass, Columbia, Mississippi 39429. Call 601.736.9564.


By Jon McNamara

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