Last updated: January 27. 2014 11:28AM - 589 Views
Wil Petty jpetty@civitasmedia.com

The Ashe County Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday, Jan. 21. The Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission discussed a Community Service Block Grant at the meeting.
The Ashe County Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday, Jan. 21. The Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission discussed a Community Service Block Grant at the meeting.
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The Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission (BROC) discussed its plans for the 2014 fiscal year to the Ashe County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

The fiscal year for BROC starts July 1, 2014 and runs through June 30, 2015. Jessica Prevette, Community Services Block Grant Manager, gave detail to the Board about what the money will go to. Two programs, the emergency assistance program and the family self sufficency program, are the major components of the block grant.

“The targest cause for emergency assistance is identified in the depressed local economy,” Prevette said. “Job loss is addressed by (BROC) as priority No. 1. (Priority) No. 2 includes logistical data, why the problem exists (and) the segment of the population that is experiencing the problem.

The total of the two parts of the block grant fund for the community action agency is $292,594.

Commissioner Judy Porter Poe asked if the three counties BROC serves would be providing the money, and Prevette said no.

“This is federal funding that is given to us through the state,” Prevette said.

The block grant program provides different services to low income families to acheive self-sufficiency.

Prevette said by June 30, 2016, BROC plans to ensure the emergency assistance program responds to 3,900 emergency requests. For the 2014-15 FY, BROC expects to serve 1,300 requests and is requesting $145,916 in block grant funds for the project.

Emergency assistance includes helping out with electrical, medical, heating and rent bills as well as providing food and clothing.

BROC expects to use $225,000 of community resources to provide immediate outcomes in Ashe, Alleghany and Wilkes counties.. The company also predicts it will prevent 27 families from facing foreclosure and provide 800 families with emergency food.

Privette said BROC’s long-term goal for the family self sufficency project is to move 18 families above the poverty line in its three-county district by June 30, 2016. This year, BROC is prediciting it will help move six families above the poverty line.

This year, BROC is requesting $146,678 to serve 38 low-income families become self-sufficient. The average change in annual income for families participating is expected to be $8,000 and the average wage rate is expected to be $8.50 a hour.

The two programs help low-income participants with employment, education, a better use of available income and more.

The Alleghany and Wilkes County Board of Commissioners also were updated on the community block grant on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

BROC’s other programs include Head Start, the Elderly Nutrition Program and Weatherization.

The Board unanimously approved the proposal.

Wil Petty may be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @wilpetty

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