The Community Services Department provides assistance to a range of low-income individuals and families within EMAA’s service area. We take a holistic approach to ending poverty; starting by addressing the most basic needs, eliminating them and applying progressive programs designed to move families into financial freedom.
Community Service Representatives are housed in all eight EMAA Outreach offices. They start by providing a Family Intake and Assessment. This analyzes each household member’s individual needs as well as the family as a whole. Referrals are made to EMAA programs as well as community partners and local resources based on identified needs. Over 21,000 people received services last year through EMAA’s Community Service programs.
Some of the crisis alleviating programs offered by Community Services are:
Food pantry referrals and emergency rental assistance- Emergency food is distributed primarily through a network of food pantries established by local churches and organizations in cooperation with EMAA and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP). EFSP funding is also utilized to assist in emergency situations with rent.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – This is a federally funded program. The LIHEAP program has two components: Energy Assistance (EA) and Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP). EA is a onetime benefit designed to assist low-income people with their heating bills. To qualify applicants must meet income guidelines and be responsible for their heating bill. ECIP is designed to alleviate a crisis. To qualify, applicants must be in disconnection threat, low on propane or wood. Community Services also administers privately funded emergency energy programs such as, Dollar More, Dollar Help, Round-Up, Atmos Energy and the St. Francois County Senior Citizen fund.
Once a family has their immediate needs met they can begin to focus on some of our progressive, high impact programs designed to propel them towards success.
Some of the high impact programs offered are:
SEMO Assets- This program helps low-income families save money to be used in one of three ways: to purchase a home, for post-secondary education or to start a small business. For every $1 the participant saves and deposits in the bank, $2 will be matched by grant funds and an additional $1 will be generated through local donations for a maximum payout of $6000 toward the investment of their choice.
Participants of this program receive support through case management and obtain instruction in financial management, homeownership and micro-enterprise development to better ensure success and financial freedom.
Step Up to Leadership-This is a 12-session course designed for low-income people who are interested in making a difference in their local community. There is a strong focus on developing leadership skills, service on non-profit boards, public speaking and grant writing. The goal of this program is to offer low-income people a voice and skills to make change in their community.
Summer Food Program-The Summer Food Program is available to all children through age 18, as well as disabled adults 18-21 who are enrolled in public or private school during the regular school year.
Information on all programs administered by East Missouri Action Agency, Inc. may be obtained from any Community Services Office, or by contacting the Keri McCrorey, Community Services Department Head.