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Feature Article -February 1, 2007

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February 1, 2007

Overwhelmed by unexpected utility costs? Unable to cover the mortgage? Help may be available ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- by Jeff Green

Jillian Manning has a daunting job. As the Family Services Coordinator at the Rural VISIONS Centre in Sydenham, part of her time is devoted to helping low income people access financial support when they are in dire straits.

“My job is to point people to services and to help determine which ones can apply to them,” she said last week, in describing her job.

Funding for the “Maintaining Housing for Rural Residents” program has recently been approved, and it is being administered through Rural VISIONS Centre for residents of FrontenacCounty. There are three streams to the program, which is intended to serve 24 families in the county. There is money for mortgage arrears; assistance with first or last month’s rent for those seeking new accommodations; and grants for heating and utility upgrades.

The funding is being targeted at people in crisis.

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“These programs will improve access to and connect households that are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless with the system of community services available through Central Frontenac Community Services [Rural VISIONS Centre] …” is how the programs are described in a City of Kingston publication.

Aside from these new initiatives, the existing rent and utility bank programs are still in place. Jillian Manning also has information about the Winter Warmth Program, which is funded by the United Way, and the Share the Warmth program, which is provincially funded. South Frontenac residents may also be eligible for funding from the Caring Community initiative.

Eligibility requirements for all of these programs are based on demonstrated need. Eligibility is limited to individuals who earn less than $23,000 per year, or $27,500 for two people, $32,500 for a family of three, $36,500 for a family of four, and $39,900 for a family of five or more.

“The programs are all designed for people in different circumstances, and there is documentation required. I usually have a meeting with people in their home to assess their situation, and try to help them get the supports they require,” said Jillian Manning.

“These programs are not for people who receive a large hydro bill and don’t know how they are going to cover it. It is more for people who are facing having their hydro being cut off because they are behind in their payments,” said CFCSC Executive Director Beth Freeland. Freeland pointed out that her agency recently received $54,000 for the homelessness initiative, but it is always a struggle to administer programs because the agency does not receive sufficient administrative support.

Jillian Manning is now working only three days a week because of funding shortfalls. She worked four days a week until the beginning of this year.

“We struggle to receive the administrative funding we need,” Beth Freeland said. “We can only get people the funding they need to maintain their housing because we have people like Jillian on staff to work through the issues and application procedures.”

Articles from January 18

Third time lucky for South, North Frontenac:The 3rd and final intake of submissions to the Canada Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (COMRIF) resulted in funding support for relatively small initiatives in South and North Frontenac.

Flinton Habitat build: Executive members from the Prince Edward Hastings Affiliate of Habitat for Humanity met with the newly formed Flinton Build committee and the public at the Flinton Rec. Hall on Jan. 16

Biosphere, Committees, and the bridge: South Frontenac Council meetingThree strikes at Comrif for Addington Highlands: Addington Highlands Council meeting of January 15.Frontenac Heritage FestivalIt's Election Year, again: EditorialLetters

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