Community Services Division
WELCOME TO COMMUNITY ACTION !
The Human Services Department serves as the Community Action Agency for Winnebago and Boone Counties – one of the nearly 1,000 Community Action Agencies throughout the country working to create opportunities for people facing the challenges related to the effects of poverty. As the Community Services Division, we work to improve the conditions in which people live, support self-sufficiency, and help to form strong and healthy individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities.
Community Services offers programs in Housing, Community Health and Prevention, Energy and Emergency Services. Programs can change depending on community need, available funds and may be seasonal. See the menu on the left to learn more about these programs.
WARMING CENTERS! in Winnebago and Boone counties are available during the 2017-2018 winter season – providing warmth during extreme cold for residents with inadequate heat or those who turn their thermostat down to save energy costs (do not lower your thermostat below 60 degrees). Residents are encouraged to ensure their senior and other vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbors are safe during times of extreme cold. Churches and other organized groups are also encouraged to check on the well-being of their members. In the event of a severe weather crisis, more sites may be opened as needed.
Call the 2-1-1 resource line or text the keyword COLD to 51555 for an updated list.
You can also call the Community Action Agency at 844-710-6919 to see if you are eligible for assistance:
- If you are without heat because your utilities are shut off
- If you are a homeowner with a non-working furnace
- If you are homeowner interested in weatherization improvements to make your home more energy and cost efficient
- If you are living on the streets and need shelter. WARMING CENTERS LIST
SAVE ON YOUR ENERGY BILLS! LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) can pay a one-time benefit (DVP) directly to your energy companies for you, or directly to eligible renters if all energy costs are included in your rent. You may also have the option of signing up for PIPP at your LIHEAP appointment – PIPP is a monthly budget plan where if you make your payments on time, it will forgive a portion of your past due balances. Click here for application information! 2017-2018 LIHEAP site information
FREE TRAINING FOR IN-DEMAND JOBS! If you are income qualified and have a high school diploma or GED, you may be eligible to receive FREE TUITION for COLD FORMING or COMPUTER NUMERICAN CONROL (CNC) training – or for a training of your choice that meets our criteria. Click here for more information. 2017 JOB TRAINING INFO
CONTINUUM OF CARE PROGRAM is a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provides funding for efforts by nonprofit providers and governments to quickly re-house homeless residents to minimize trauma and dislocation; promotes access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs; and optimizes self-sufficiency among those experiencing homelessness. On September 8, 2017, a committee of the Rock River Homeless Coalition ranked and reviewed projects submitted for the IL501 Rockford/Winnebago/Boone Counties Continuum of Care application to HUD. See the rankings and application here CoC 2017 Ranking Rock River Homeless Coalition
Community Action – in ACTION !
In 2015, Community Action administered Project 100, a program that gave 19 hard-to-employee ex-offenders, two of whom were homeless, a chance to learn new skills and use them in removing years of debris and materials from the 100-year-old Barber-Colman factory complex on Rock Street in Rockford. The participants received certifications in asbestos removal, lead paint abatement, and gained new skills such as operating a skid loader and other deconstruction practices, and also recycled and repurposed found materials. The results were beyond the tangible product – hard work, responsibility, new learning, group support and the opportunity to create something of value led to the program’s success – for everyone involved.
An exciting opportunity is now in the works to further improve this area by transforming the Barber-Colman complex into Rock Valley College’s new manufacturing campus as well as space for industrial and commercial development.
Learn more about Project 100 here! https://vimeo.com/161833744
“It’s definitely such a valuable resource to us, so we do everything we can to keep it,” said Camp Winnebago Assistant Program Director Jessica Dobson…..(two kids) don’t know what the other kid is going through…there’s the added security of “I don’t need to worry about my friends making fun of me for not having food.”
“It was eye opening… Even though I work with people in poverty every day, this made it even clearer how much more complicated the road blocks can be – and more and more often out of the people’s control…” Michelle Lindstedt, Community Action Staff
Community Action helped coordinate a response to the needs of the residents involved in the Jackson Street Apartment Fire Belvidere fire.
“Cling to the people who want to see you make it and who really believe in you ” – Tony Frazier, a formerly homeless youth who found assistance through Community Action.