Initiatives to support vulnerable families in Augusta

By: Georgia Department of Human Resources
By: Georgia Department of Human Resources

ATLANTA (GA) -- This summer the Department of Human Resources (DHR) is announcing over $2.1 million in funding for a series of initiatives to support vulnerable families and children in the Augusta area. DHR will provide funding to help meet the cooling needs of low income families; sponsor a summer youth program to provide young people with productive activities that stress recreation and learning; and implementation of a statewide crisis and access line for Georgians seeking mental health, developmental disability and behavioral health services. To announce these initiatives the DHR Board, Commissioner B.J. Walker, and local and state officials will host a press conference on Wednesday, June 21st in Augusta.

“These programs represent an investment in Augusta families,” said Commissioner Walker. “Our mission now is to identify those places where Georgia families and children are vulnerable and to make them stronger.”

This summer program will benefit over 18,000 Georgia children, including 120 children in the Augusta area, providing over $530,000 for summer learning activities, including over $79,000 in stipends. These programs will give children the opportunity to take field trips, play sports, do arts and crafts, learn about technology, and other positive activities.

An additional 220 Augusta area children with severe emotional and behavioral disorders will also benefit from a $120,000 summer recreation program with the Community Service Board of East Central Georgia. DHR is working in cooperation with local Augusta area community groups and schools to provide these services.

To help families during the hot Georgia summer, DHR is making available $54 million statewide, including more than $869,000 in Augusta, to help low income Georgians stay cool. This is the first time cooling assistance has been available for Georgians since 2000. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will provide elderly and other low income families with a one time cooling benefit. Recipients will have the option of receiving a one time payment of $220 to their cooling utility vendor; purchasing a window air conditioner up to $350 (including installation); or purchasing a fan with misting function up to $110.

The program is administered by local community action agencies across the state, including the Central Savannah River Area Economic Opportunity Authority in Augusta.

To qualify for the LIHEAP program applicants must have a yearly household income less than or equal to 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, as defined by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The LIHEAP program is operated on a first come, first served basis within each region served by a local community action agency. Those who have a need are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

For the first time the State of Georgia will provide a single toll-free telephone number people can call 24/7 and be connected to local services for mental health, developmental disabilities, and addictive diseases beginning July 1st. This single point of entry will allow people to get the help they need when a loved one is in crisis. Previously, each region of the state had a different access number. This service is being provided by Behavioral Health Link. Gwen Skinner, Director of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Addictive Diseases (MHDDAD) will attend this press conference.

For Program Information Contact:

Statewide crisis and access line (beginning July 1): 800-715-4225

Central Savannah River Area Economic Opportunity Authority: 706-722-0493

Summer Youth Program: 404-657-4718

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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