A collaboration of local groups is seeking a grant that would help address the barriers people in Highland County face in regard to having access to services in the county.
Julia Wise, executive director of the Highland County Community Action Organization Inc. (HCCAO), told commissioners that a council of people from various organizations and groups across the county has met in planning sessions, determined what barriers are present for those seeking services, and prioritized what should be the focus of the grant, called the Healthier Buckeye grant.
She said the group would like to focus the grant dollars, if awarded, toward funding social workers in the schools, addressing transportation barriers in the county, collaborating with church organizations, preventative health care, beginning workforce development with students, and childcare.
Wise said the planning meetings have brought a lot of different people and groups “to the table” on the matter. She said it is about working together to address the barriers that people face, whether it is things like financial literacy, childcare needs, transportation needs, or education, that prevent individuals from reaching “optimal health.”
HCCAO is writing the grant and it is due next week, Wise said. She said there is about $6 million available statewide, and that no county can receive more than $750,000, which she said is about what the collaborators are applying for.
She said she hopes to be able to come back to commissioners in a couple months with news that the grant money has been awarded and that they are moving forward.
Commissioners previously appointed the council for the Healthier Buckeye Grant, which consisted of the group of local organizations already in place for the Rural IMPACT pilot program. That was a recommendation by Wise at a previous meeting.
As previously reported, HCCAO was one of 10 organizations across the nation chosen last fall to participate in the Rural IMPACT pilot program. The program “is to assist communities in adopting a two-generation approach to addressing the needs of both vulnerable children and their parents, with the goal of increasing parents’ employment and education and improving the health and well-being of their children and families.”
In other business, a motion was made and passed without opposition to designate OhioMeansJobs to head up a Comprehensive Case Management Employment Program (CCMEP) mandated by the state. The program is a comprehensive case management of low-income individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 “through an integrated program that combines funding from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth program,” according to ohio.gov. The program follows the eligible individuals for one year and is set to begin on July 1.
On another matter, a recommendation from the county engineer to award Miller-Mason Paving the job of chip and seal work on 23 miles of roadway in the county was approved through a motion by the board of commissioners. The bid amount accepted was for $389,940.
The Highland County Board of Commissioners meets each Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. on the second floor of the county administration building at 119 Governor Foraker Pl. in Hillsboro. The meetings are open to the public.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.