In these times of economic hardships, foreclosures and the rising cost of gasoline, some people may wonder where to go for help when and if needed. The Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation (DAEOC) is one local agency that is in the business of helping those people who need assistance.
Jay Rauch, director of Family and Community Development through DAEOC currently oversees programs in the six county region including Scott, New Madrid, Mississippi, Dunklin, Pemiscot and Stoddard. His is only a small segment of all the programs offered through this agency. Last year, according to Rauch, his department made up $5 million while DAEOC as a whole was at $24 million. All programs offered through DAEOC is a blending of federal, state and local funding.
One program that is offered to those who qualify would be the Energy Program which is a federally funded program. According to Rauch, there are two components of that program, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Emergency Crisis and Prevention Program.
LIHEAP is to provide financial assistance to low-income families to help meet their heating costs between the six months of October and March. Rauch said the program is based on poverty. He adds that the agency goes by the federal poverty guidelines and if a family qualifies, it is on a "first come, first serve basis, until the agency runs out of funds.
According to DAEOC, eligibility requirements for the Energy Assistance program are based on income, family size, available resources and responsibility for payment of home heating costs. Families who wish to apply for this program must do so within a specified timeframe in order to be considered for assistance with their main home heating costs. Rauch noted that those people who are elderly and disabled, are able to apply in October, before the program is opened up to everyone else in November.
Also for those people who received assistance the prior year, will automatically receive a new application for the new year.
The Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) is the second component of the Energy Assistance Program. Again, this program is based on Federal Income Poverty Guidelines.
Rauch noted this is meant to help those families who are experiencing a crisis. These families or individuals have either had their electricity already shut off, or do not have the funds to avoid being disconnected and who do not have the funds to restore the service if it is shut off. For this program, the heating service in the home can be electric, gas, propane, or wood. If using propane, the tank must be at 20 percent or less.
Other programs offered under Rauch's department include self-sufficiency Programs, Family Planning, Domestic Violence, Homeless Shelters and Child Care Food Programs.
Through the Self-sufficiency Program, participants are helped by a more intensive case management and for a more specified amount of time. Families are helped with developing plans for children and working on a budget. The goal of the program is to help families and individuals become self reliant so they are no longer in the system. This is offered in the six county region.
In the Family Planning Program, women are helped with birth control matters, papaniedaou smears, sexually transmitted diseases and counseling when they decide they wish to start a family.
DAEOC also offers a Domestic Violence Shelter that is housed in Malden, Mo., and also provides outreach services such as legal aid and support group services to Stoddard, Dunklin, Pemiscot, and New Madrid Counties. The Domestic Violence Program is a program that is not based on eligibility according to poverty level guidelines.
Any woman and her children that suffers from domestic violence is eligible for this program.
Under DAEOC's operation in Sikeston, Mo., is a homeless shelter. This program also offers transitional living assistance which according to Rauch, is done throughout the six counties. Also offered is permanent housing assistance programs for individuals who are disabled.
The homeless and domestic violence shelters will accept residents from other counties.
The Child Care Food Program provides cash reimbursement to licensed daycare homes that serve balanced nutritious meals that meet the USDA/Missouri Department of Health Food requirements. Children who are 0-12 years of age that are being cared for in a daycare or group home may be served two meals and a snack or two snacks and a meal. Reimbursements are paid for each child. The primary goal of this program is to improve the diet of young children who are in the day care or group home environment.
For anyone wishing more information about the income guidelines or programs through DAEOC, contact your local DAEOC Agency. In Dunklin County, call 573-888-9230 or 573-276-5303; Pemiscot County, 573-359-1030.
Information in this article sourced from DAEOC.