WEST POINT — Two agencies appeared before the West Point City Council Tuesday to provide information about the services they offer to assist West Point residents.
Jennifer Corcione, executive director of Community Action for Improvement, said her agency provided $853,000 in assistance in Troup County this past year, but only $26,000 went to people in West Point.
Part of the problem is distance, since the CAFI office is in LaGrange. CAFI regularly schedules mass intakes in West Point, to help those who need their services, but she said more possibilities for West Point residences are needed.
CAFI is known for its low-income energy assistance but also offers a home-weatherization program, according to Corcione.
Weatherization maximizes energy efficiency. Corcione told the story of one resident whose improved HVAC saved her enough on utilities to be able to afford her diabetes medication.
The agency also offers one-time rent assistance.
If a resident has a need, they can fill out the scheduler online at cafi-ga.org and when funds are available, take the required documents to the CAFI office for intake.
Another CAFI service is assistance in applying for home loans through the USDA loan program. The program is based on work history rather than credit rating and includes credit repair.
Corcione announced CAFI is currently looking for West Point residents who would like to serve on their board. West Point is not represented and seats are open.
She also said CAFI supports the grant application from the LaGrange Housing Authority (LHA) for a head start program.
LHA CEO Zsa Zsa Heard was on-hand to talk about the grant application. LHA has applied for a grant to start a headstart program in each of Troup County’s three cities.
She was before the council to ask for a letter in support of the grant application. She said the head start program would support LHA’s overall vision to disrupt poverty and mold leaders.
The LHA’s recent designation as an EnVision Center allows the LHA to offer head start and early head start immediately.
According to a news release from LHA, more than 40 partnerships are available to help the housing authority manage the head start program. In addition, LHA programs will be part of the support system for head start families, including counseling from LaGrange College counseling students, as well as tutoring and mentoring.
Parents of head start students could be part of LHA’s Leadership Academy, a program to help residents who are out of the workforce get back in, Heard said.
As part of head start, assessments will be made to find each student’s talents early. If they have aptitude in a particular area that is not offered nearby, LHA could transport them, Heard explained.
A wellness center would also be on-site with a nurse practitioner, to “capture childhood disorders now,” Heard said, and to work with pregnant mothers.
The grant allows for set-up costs so a suitable location can be found and renovated or built. Heard said it would be up to the city to find a West Point location for head start.
The council said it will consider options.