March 2022 Volume 32; Issue 6
You can view the complete newsletter here.
From the Executive Director's Desk
March is the first month of the Head Start/Early Head Start contract year. We have just been informed that the federal government is close to finalizing a budget for the current year which includes a small increase for these services. We should know about final numbers for our services within the next month or 2.
Our board President, Tom Letsche and I had the opportunity to visit the state capital on March 9th. We met with our members and discussed issues around child care, dental access, infrastructure, Family Development & Self-Sufficiency, and others. We thank our elected members for their service to our state.
We are fortunate to have received 2 new contracts in our Child Care Resource & Referral department. These contracts will help providers across our region and the state with child care management consulting and with mental health needs through the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports systems. Thanks to Melissa Juhl, Sharon Heidesch and all of the staff involved in preparing for these services.
Gasoline and heating fuel prices are rising dramatically. This will impact most everything in our economic system. Mid-Sioux will see budgets reflect these rising prices. Families will be impacted as well. Our LIHEAP and Weatherization services become even more important when energy prices spike as they have now.
We all hope for a quick resolution to the war in Ukraine for the sake of the Ukraine citizens and for all of the impact the war has throughout the world.
One of my favorite programs is this one! The Des Moines Register operates the Embrace Iowa campaign at Christmas-time. They raise emergency funds for low-income families through-out all of Iowa. This past year, Mid-Sioux received $24,808 and was able to assist 42 households with emergency needs that Mid-Sioux generally isn’t funded for from other federal, state, or local resources.
Payments were made for:
- 3 Beds
- 10 Car Repairs
- 10 Medical Bills
- 3 Dental/Eye Glasses
- 1 Rent
- 6 Home Repairs
- 7 Appliances
- 1 Kitchen Table
- 1 High Chair
- 4 Mortgage Payments
- 6 Misc.
Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provided funding to assist low-income households with water and wastewater bills. Funding will continue until 9/30/23. To date, Mid-Sioux has assisted over 90 households and distributed over $21,000 in benefits. Income guidelines are set at 200% of poverty and household must demonstrate a water burden and currently be experiencing a water crisis. Applications are taken over the phone or in person by our outreach staff.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Heating costs continue to go up. A recent poll with our propane vendors has prices per gallon that range from $1.78 (1000 gals) to $3.94. Some of the bigger vendors didn’t respond to our request for prices. Last year we were seeing prices that ranged from $.90 to $1.22. This is sad and scary! Applications for the program has increased greatly this year. We are seeing a lot of new households in need of assistance. So far this year 1850 applications have been approved. We have exceeded the number of applications taken last year at this time.
We are starting to wind down with LiHeap, (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) and application counts have been slowing down due to the weather being warmer. As of February 2022, Sioux County had 430 approved applications and only 22 denied applications. We are currently over the total number of approved applications taken in 2021! We are taking applications for LiHeap until April 30th so there is still plenty of time to apply for LiHeap. For information on what will be needed to apply, please contact Sarah Kennedy or Pam Ericson at the Sioux Center office 712-722-3611.
Our Sioux County food pantry has been busy with clients needing groceries. We had 49 families utilize the pantry in February verses only 37 families in January. We have been utilizing the Food Bank of Siouxland and our Cherokee offices food pantry to keep our pantry stocked for our families to use. Families are able to receive food once every 30 days. Families that are interested in receiving food from our food pantry will need to apply for LiHeap and be approved.
We are taking applications for Early Head Start and Head Start. Early Head Start and Head Start are free programs for children. Early Head Start is a program that is for children ages 0-3 and Head Start is for ages 4-5. For more information or to apply for Early Head Start or Head Start, please contact our office at 712-722-3611.
We also offer LiHWap, (Low Income Household Water Assistance Program) ,it is a federal funded program that helps with water and sewer costs. To apply for this program, you will need to be approved for LiHeap and have one month in arrears on your water and sewer bill. For more information, please contact Sarah Kennedy or Pam Ericson at 712-722-3611.
Child Care Resource & Referral
Child Care Resource and Referral is now reaching every family in Iowa who has a newborn baby. A new postcard, “Looking for Child Care?” is being mailed along with every new Iowa birth certificate. The State Child Death Review Team (CDRT), with members from the Iowa Department of Human Services and Iowa Department of Public Health, reached out to Child Care Resource and Referral to request if there was any way they could help share information regarding child care to parents. Bobbi Riedemann, Statewide Communication Specialist and Mid-Sioux employee, worked with the team to create a postcard specifically for the birth certificate mailings. An estimated 42,000 postcards will be mailed to Iowa families each year. Child Care Resource and Referral are excited for this new partnership and a chance to educate these new families on choosing child care. Families can find more child care information at www.iowaccrr.org/families.