YORK – Those who received services from Blue Valley Community Action (BVCA) over the last year were surveyed and asked the question: “What does your family struggle with most?”
Their answers included: Money, paying bills, food, paying utilities, health, survival, medication costs, cost of living, car repairs, paying for everything, money management, heat, air conditioning, home repairs, insurance costs . . . and “making ends meet.”
Shari Miller, the CEO of BVCA, met with the York County Commissioners this week, to make her annual report and budget request for the next fiscal year.
Miller explained that “poverty looks different for different people.”
She said the average BVCA client family size is 2.24 people. Of those served by the entity, 48 percent were single individuals, with 21 percent being families with two parents. Sixteen percent were single parent families.
They were predominantly Caucasian and 57 percent of those receiving services were female.
Forty-seven percent of those served were between the ages of 18 and 64; 39 percent were children; and 14 percent were over the age of 65.
She said 26.6 percent of clients were employed (either full or part-time); 28.7 percent were retired; 23.6 percent were disabled; and 20 percent were unemployed.
Of the clients served in the last year, 26 percent were high school graduates (or with a GED) with 45 percent being of school age or younger. Thirteen percent were non-graduating adults.
She and Elizabeth King, the local BVCA director, presented information regarding services provided specifically in York County between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018.
During that timeframe, 840 individuals received emergency services – of those, 23 homeless individuals were provided shelter; 269 individuals received $29,698 of financial assistance for rent, utilities and utility deposits.
Miller said 177 individuals received WIC services.
The food access services were very much used in York County – 2,312 individuals from 952 households received 3,063 food boxes. A total of 101,900 pounds of Walmart’s Feeding America food were distributed in this county alone. And 108 elderly individuals received food through CSFP.
When it came to educational services, 61 children were enrolled in Heat Start, receiving preschool services. Thirty-nine children received Early Head Start home-based services. And 15 youth were enrolled in programming to help them transition into adulthood.
Miller noted that according to the U.S. Census in 2015, a total of 437 children and 879 adults were living in poverty in York County.
It was also mentioned that BVCA – besides providing services – also contributed to the local economy as $186,627 was spent at 66 local businesses for goods and services, “19 jobs were generated and $519,368 was expended for staff salaries and fringe benefits.”
Besides the providing of services, they are also trying to do more case management to help individuals and families “goal set, to build their strengths and survive on their own.”
King gave examples of local situations in which they were able to help – such as a veteran who was assisted with rent, a woman just released from prison with a new baby who stayed in the shelter until she could get on her feet, a woman with children who needed assistance after her husband’s health forced him to stop working, etc. King told the commissioners that most people who need financial help are in situations due to emergencies – not necessarily because of money management issues.
Blue Valley Community Action is asking for a 2 percent increase in allocated funds from the county for the next fiscal year. That would be a total of $10,174.
The cost share percentage is based on population. Other counties served by BVCA are Butler, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Polk, Saline, Seward and Thayer.