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June 4, 1999

Governor Announces New Community Partnership Initiative To Assist Low Income Families

MARION -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced more than $161,000 in funding for a new statewide Community Partnership Initiative. The new initiative, funded by both the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) and the not-for-profit Annie E. Casey Foundation, is designed to assist communities address local needs and issues and help welfare recipients achieve self sufficiency.

"This initiative is designed to move people towards self-sufficiency," Ryan said. "By building partnerships with local communities, we can better address issues that may serve as barriers to independence. The Community Partnership Initiative will allow local DHS offices to offer certain services not normally offered under conventional programs. This will help strengthen families and, in turn, help strengthen neighborhoods and communities."

In southern Illinois, the Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry and Williamson county local offices will share $15,000 for the Cars to Careers program. The local DHS offices in conjunction with Man-Tra-Con Corporation will be securing reliable used cars donated by local area car dealers who will be eligible for a tax deduction. The cars will be offered to working clients along with training in car maintenance and financial management.

The Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry and Williamson county local offices are partnering with Weeks Chevrolet and Pontiac of West Frankfort, Marion Ford Lincoln/Mercury/Hyundai, Taylor Ford of Benton, Man-Tra-Con Corporation, Project Choice, Rend Lake College, John A. Logan College, Illinois Job Advantage/Advancing Opportunities and community faith partners.

A regional committee made up of DHS local office administrators, the Southern Illinois Regional Transportation Board, Man-Tra-Con staff, college staff and participating car dealers will make the final decisions of who receives a vehicle.

"Welfare is not good enough for any family. Families are much better off when a member of the household is working," said DHS Secretary Howard A. Peters III. "By helping families address specific needs such as transportation, health needs, mentoring, home visits to welfare families, job assistance and services for the elderly we are allowing them to more successfully move from welfare to work."

The state's welfare to work efforts are administered cooperatively between DHS and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs.

The Community Partnership Initiative will begin operating in 11 areas statewide. Other Community Partnership Initiative participants include:

Chicago, Wicker Park Local Office - $25,000.00
Teach skills, problem solving, plan development; emphasis on completing school, job preparedness, self-sufficiency; follow-up to prevent young people from needing cash assistance.

Chicago, Auburn Park Local Office - $7,000.00
Through monthly outreach with Community Partners & elderly disabled; make clients aware of their eligibility for homemakers & Adult Daycare Services, instruct clients in meal planning, budgeting, and alternate ways of shopping, connect the elderly with providers of medical, health, and spiritual services, engage students interns in helping Spend down clients, establish grandparents and mentor programs.

Chicago, Oakland Local Office - $15,000.00
Job retention specialist for 100 people in Robert Taylor Homes who get their own jobs for retention and upgrades, on-going small groups, individual employment counseling, peer mentoring and peer group support training, family oriented social activities.

Whiteside County - $14,933.28
Subsidize transportation through Equal Rides for TANF and DHS clients to increase number of DHS clients getting and keeping jobs, ensure access to medical care, broaden service area and expand base of local support.

Lake County - $9,811.00
Mentorship program that will help 30 clients keep the jobs they get on their own. The mentor will help families identify their needs and meet with them on a weekly basis to evaluate their progress.

Winnebago County - $15,000.00
Job readiness, placement and supportive services for TANF applicants to prevent need for cash assistance. Services include math/reading assessments, job profiling, job preparation and skills workshops, child care during job search, case management.

Rock Island County - $14,4452.44
Home visits, assessments and coordination of services to sanctioned, about-to-be sanctioned and exempt families to help families overcome employment barriers, maximize their employment opportunities and improve the quality of life.

LaSalle County - $15,000.00
Match for 10 clients for car purchase; car repairs; child care co-payments. Intensive, hands-on work with other local social service agencies and private enterprise to assist clients in obtaining full-time, secure employment, training in budgeting; money management, job skills, credit issues, home buying, child care arrangements, transportation, and the ultimate goal of assisting the client in the purchase of reliable transportation through a matching fund to provide a greater down-payment and so allow the client to purchase a better, more reliable vehicle than they would otherwise be able to afford.

Macoupin and Montgomery Counties. - $15,000.00
Wheels to Work project will provide affordable, reliable personal vehicles to 30 TANF clients who otherwise could not access and retain employment.

Union County - $15,000.00
Intensive home counseling, improved medication and follow-up for 100 chronic cases of head lice. Union County indicates that while children are treated for head lice at school, their homes, belongings and vehicles are not. Success in this project will increase school attendance and remove a serious employment barrier.


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