TCOG examines community needs in annual grant submission
By Alex Maxwell Herald Democrat
Outlining how the organization will continue using a Community Services Block Grant, the Texoma Council of Governments held a meeting Wednesday afternoon to provide the public the opportunity to voice feedback on the Community Action Plan.
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs requires annual updates from grantees on the Community Action Plan, which is completed every three years. The last plan from TCOG was completed in 2015, and the annual submission includes next year’s budget that is set for $245,900. The TCOG Governing Board approved plans to ratify the annual submission last week.
While no members of the public attended the meeting, TCOG employees were present. TCOG Energy Service Program Manager Judy Fullylove said the meeting also served to fulfill state requirements for the funding. The purpose of the grant is to address antipoverty initiatives, such as forming plans to reduce poverty and revitalize low-income households towards self-sufficiency, she said.
“The Community Action Plan does address those issues, not only what TCOG is able to do, also it identifies gaps in services as well as what agencies can help us address poverty within the tri-county region,” Fullylove said with the region referring to Cooke, Fannin and Grayson counties.
To form a plan, TCOG performs a needs assessment for the communities it serves. The plan outlines the top five needs and how the organization addresses those needs. The needs are the following: job skills, affordable housing, health care, transportation and food insecurity.
“When we do the assessment and get the needs of the community, it’s up to us to coordinate those efforts with other social serifs agencies and providers because we ourselves are not able to provide all of the resources that address these top five needs,” Allison Minton, client services department director for TCOG, said.
The partner organizations include Workforce Texoma and Grayson College to address job skills, state and county health departments for health care, and local food pantries and kitchens for food insecurity.
“This is a very small part of trying to provide to our community the assistance that low income families need to try and become self sufficient,” Minton said. “That’s why our partnerships are so important.”
The plan outlines the partnerships, funding sources and how services are delivered. TCOG relies on its partners to address the ultimate goal of eliminating poverty.
“It’s really about the community coming together to address the top five needs that have been identified through this assessment that TCOG went through,” Minton said.
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