Although there are numerous rules, regulations and standards that apply to those seeking assistance, U. S. Title 42, Chapter 119, Section 11408, Homeless Assistance, indicates that assistance can be granted based on one or all of the following; prevention assistance for families at risk of becoming homeless, assisting families in providing them permanent housing, or, offering direct emergency assistance. The family must be in jeopardy of having lost or losing adequate night-time residence.
Funding for assisting families is limited and is based on a percentage of appropriated funds, as well as community population. In order for Western Maine Community Action to be eligible to receive grant monies to continue to offer this program, a very detailed application must be filled out and agreement made that WMCA will involve the individual(s) and or families through employment, volunteer services and in some case rehabilitation.
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Application submission must include the following documents; work plan, budget, board membership list by sector and an updated financial procedures manual. Community Services Block Grants is also a funding organization that Western Maine Community Action relies on for the funding of the Energy and Housing Program. The CSBG rules were adopted to provide a consistent statewide guideline for the use of federal funds which are appropriated under the Community Services Block Grant Act of 1981.
The rules establish funding and program requirements for the designated recipients. In order to be eligible for this grant, WMCA agrees to an agency-wide audit, which means a financial audit of all agency funds, restricted and unrestricted at the end of their fiscal year. The financial audit must consist of an auditor’s report, statement of support, which are revenue and expenses and any changes that have been made in fund balances. Appropriate notes must be made on financial statements as well as a schedule of grant revenues, expenses and changes made to balances.
Once grant funding has been released to WMCA, there must be a comprehensive plan in place for the intent of fund usage and the plan must include a range of services and activities with a measureable impact on the causes and conditions of the poverty level in the particular service area, to advocate for the client(s) to secure and retain employment; to offer opportunities for the client to attain an adequate education, continue to assist clients in obtaining and maintaining adequate housing and a suitable living environment, to name a few of the programs the Agency is to offer through this grant.
Federal and State mandates are becoming more and more stringent with the current state of the economy. Many times programs, such as the ones that WMCA offer within their service area, are held accountable for the funding they are granted. Often times, programs to assist the needy have to be offered during certain times of the year because of the demand for services and cap on the amount of funding available. Federal and State agencies help in many other ways besides just housing.
Programs such as immunizations for children, assistance in transportation, childcare services, food programs, and these are just a sampling. With all these programs in place, funds must be allocated in order that help is provided for those needing. I believe that there are many citizens within a community that feel disconnected from their community therefore are not accessible to human service providers therefore it is a challenge when Federal of State Governments face when they try to address the current situation of inadequate housing and even homelessness.
It is typical for middle class citizens to seek help when they most need it because they consider themselves as a failure to their family. The reality is that because of the current state of the economy they have fallen in to debt, and are no longer able to provide for their families as generously as previously done while living at the middle class level.
This type of situation not only becomes stressful for the individual seeking the assistance, but puts strain nd stress on the relationships within the family unit. Individuals seeking and accepting assistance should understand that it is only on a temporary basis that help is being provided and is beneficial to their family. The reality would be that it would be more detrimental to the family if they did not have adequate food, shelter warmth, and medical/dental services and that we are here advocating for them.
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