July 2021 Volume 31; Issue 9
You can view the complete newsletter here.
From the Executive Director's Desk
What an eventful month June has been. As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to fall across Iowa, government entities and businesses are trying to return to standard operating procedures. Each state/federal agency seems to have their own point of view on how fast we should return to pre-Covid-19 practices. Our policy has been to follow the Governor’s recommendations in consultation with local public health. Some funding agencies have additional requirements which we must follow. We do that of course but continue to press for standardization in what agencies allow. I’m sure we will get to the point where consensus is reached but it may be a few weeks down the road.
Our 17th annual golf tournament fundraiser was held in Sioux Center on June 11th. The weather cooperated and we had one of our most successful events to date. Thanks to Melany Roling for coordinating the event. Our sponsors have always been very strong in their support. The RIDGE golf course and staff do an excellent job and of course, the golfers make the day fun. I look forward to our next event.
June is the last month of the State of Iowa’s fiscal year. That means all of the contracts with state funding end in June. We are preparing for closeout of those agreements and for the new contracts on July 1. I am pleased to say that our services have secured the same funding or an increase from the previous contract. Thanks to the fiscal staff for their work in closing the financial side of things and to department staff for working on the service side.
There seems to be an appetite for Congress to complete an infrastructure bill. A funding bill for the new federal fiscal year (October 1) must be agreed to also. I am more confident for infrastructure funding than I am on a year-long funding bill. Regardless of the outcome, we should see stable funding for our services from federal sources.
More of our meetings with partners and funding agencies are moving to a hybrid option or face-to-face. It will be good to see friends and associates once again.
Enjoy your summer!
HEAD START, EARLY HEAD START
We do a lot of exploring in our early childhood prog;rams. Opportunities for play and exploration are so important for a child's healthy brain development. Studies sow that exploration through play increases curiousity and helps build strong neural connections for life-long learning.
Children learn by using their senes to explor the world around them. How does this work? What does it do? And why does this happen? Exposing children to these questions through educational activities encourage them to use their imagination. Our teachers and family advocates provide interesting materials, stimulate all the senses, use questions to promote thinking skills and do fun and educational activities each home visit or classroom day!
Come explore with us! For more information on the Early Head Start, Head Start or Child Development programs, please call us at 800-859-2025.
SIOUX COUNTY OUTREACH
We are gearing up to start our Back to School program for the 2021-2022 school year! This program helps provide families with children going into Head Start through 8th grade with school supplies and a backpack. Although the supplies do not cover everything that the children need, they do cover most of the items so that families will not need to purchase as much for the school year. Last year we were able to help 53 families and 103 children with school supplies in Sioux County and we are hoping to be able to help even more families this year!
We are still taking Head Start applications for children ages 3 to 4 and Early Head Start applications for children ages 0 to 2 years old. Please contact our office at 712-722-3611 if you have any questions or to start an application.
The All-Season’s Center is still offering discounted pool passes to Sioux Center residents. If you qualify, you have the option of four different passes: Summer Pool Membership, Annual Pool Membership, Annual Ice Membership, or Combo Pass (pool and ice). Please contact our office at 712-722-3611 for more information and to fill out an application.
The All-Season’s Center is also taking food donations on Tuesdays for the pool and waterpark admission and giving those donations to us again this year! We cannot thank them enough for their continued support of our Sioux County Food Pantry!!
Just a friendly reminder that our Sioux County food pantry is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Eligible families are able to pick up a food box once every 30 days. If you are interested in receiving a food box and have not received services with Mid Sioux in the past year, please contact our office at 712-722-3611.
We finally get to enjoy some great hot weather and some much-needed rain. My absolute favorite time of the year! Flowers are blooming, grass is green, and baseballs are flying. No more masks! Life seems to be getting back to normal. And then there is work…
LiHEAP (Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program) Funding:
LiHEAP: Iowa received $54.7 million for FY21. Mid-Sioux assisted 1847 households with a one-time payment on their utility bill.
ECIP (Emergency Crisis Intervention Program): ECIP is part of the LIHEAP funding. We have received $226,572 for furnace repair/replacement, temporary shelter blankets, heaters, fuel delivery, reconnect fees, service continuity, and cooling. To date, over 300 households have been assisted with this money. We will continue to spend this money until September 2021.
CARES ACT: Iowa received $4.2 million dollars for emergency assistance to eligible households. Mid-Sioux received about $62,000. We were able to assist 85 households with furnace repair/replacement, temporary shelter, blankets, heaters, fuel delivery, reconnect fees, service continuity, and cooling.
American Rescue Plan Act: Iowa received $78.5 million. This money will also be used for emergency assistance to eligible households. Contract ends September 2022.
Consolidate Appropriations Act, American Rescue Plan Act (Low Income Household Water Assistance Program): Iowa received $5.6 million. This money has not been issued to us yet. It will be used solely for drinking water/wastewater arrearages and current bills.
Fun fact about LiHEAP Program: Before the LiHEAP program, we did have a federal program called Project Fuel. It was the first federal program to assist low-income households during the energy crisis, the Emergency Energy Conservation Program that was started in 1975. The law authorized the Community Services Administration (CSA), which replaced the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) as part of the same bill to use funds primarily for weatherization and conservation purposes, but also gave the authority to use funds for fuel vouchers or stamp programs. We worked with grocery stores and gave out $75.00 food vouchers in the late ’70s. The weatherization program used the money to do minor energy-saving services such as installing plastic and other low-cost services. Wow – haven’t heard the terms OEO or CSA for many years!
We would like to wish Monica Gravenish much success in her new job. She will be greatly missed.
CHILD CARE RESOURCE & REFERRAL
Have you heard the news? Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) of Northwest Iowa was proud to partner with the City of Remsen, Iowa Department of Public Health, local artists and child care programs on building a new playground at Sunrise Park in Remsen! CCR&R would like to congratulate Monique Ortiz, Professional Development Specialist, for her dedication and commitment to making this project a success! CCR&R would also like to recognize the following staff as they assisted and volunteered to make this project complete; Linda Daggett, Melissa Juhl, Dawn Badker, Cassie Reuter, Jennifer McGregor, and Deb Baldwin. The playground will be finished on July 23, 2021. CCR&R staff hopes these new park updates will allow children to be creative in a natural landscape! Happy playing Remsen families!