Grant assists families in need

Published 3:38 pm Friday, November 1, 2013

The Organized Community Action Program, Inc. (OCAP) is looking to help a few struggling Butler County families in the season of giving, courtesy of the Emergency Food and Shelter program.

Through funds awarded by the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program, OCAP aims to provide assistance to underemployed, less-than-fully employed and unemployed residents of Butler County, as well as citizens age 60 and older, who are having difficulties providing for themselves and their families.

“Every year, we award a certain amount of funds according to the unemployment rate in the county, and this money is used to assist families that have had a reduction in their income,” said OCAP county coordinator Joann Joyner.

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“It’s just a supplement to help you carry over while you’re going through this period.”

Joyner expects that this program would do a world of good for a select few in the county — as it often has in the past — particularly in periods of extended economic stress.

“It always does, especially when people’s hours have been reduced or they’ve been laid off and they’ve got this big mortgage in front of them,” Joyner said.

“This is where the supplement comes in — we can assist you for one month.  If a customer comes in and brings proof, I can assist you with your electric bill, mortgage or food, if needed.”

The money is awarded on a case-by-case basis following an interview with Joyner, at which point a determination will be made based on the severity of the need and the amount of proof provided describing the need.

Applicants are asked to provide general information such as proof of income, a social security card, a picture ID and, in the case of requiring assistance for rental or mortgage purposes, a written statement from a landlord or mortgage company.

Under the program, OCAP also hopes to provide assistance to transients who may be in need of food or shelter, though they are asked to go through the proper channels with the Greenville Police Department beforehand.

“Most of the time, we make arrangements with a certain motel in the area to put them up for the night, or five days or whatever the case may be,” Joyner said.

“I’ve made arrangements so that they can get a hot meal, and to put them on a bus and send them to the next place.”

The Emergency Food and Shelter program is not a long-term solution, as the funds provided are only for one month.

However, OCAP plans to offer additional services for assistance with heating costs for the coming winter months.

OCAP has been awarded the grant, though it has not yet received the money for distribution.

Regardless, Joyner urges qualifying residents to call (334) 382-2351 throughout November for updates.