Community Action at new location

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(Posted May 23, 2018)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The staff at Bridges Community Action Partnership (CAP) is settling into their new digs at 306 Lafayette St., Suite A, London.

The social services agency, best known for its utility assistance programs for low-income households, opened its new site on April 30.

For years, the organization operated out of the former Kronk & Scaggs Insurance office on West High Street. Now, a sign there directs clients to the new office, located between Madison Public Health and Tractor Supply Co.

The new location features more space all the way around.

“We have a much larger parking area, a larger waiting area, and more offices,” said Wanetta M. Dunston, services manager for Madison County.

The facility also includes a spacious conference room, available not only for Bridges CAP functions but also open to other non-profits in the community to use for meetings and events.

“We’ve already had interest from a group that wants to hold a job fair,” Dunston said.

Bridges CAP is gearing up for its summer crisis program during which they offer one-time assistance with payment of an electric bill. To be eligible, a household must have a family member who is at least 60 years old or who has a medical need for electricity or air conditioning. The program runs July 1-Aug. 31. Clients can make appointments starting two weeks prior to the program start date.

Bridges CAP also offers year-round emergency water utility assistance, year-round help with payment arrangements to make regulated utilities more affordable, and winter crisis assistance to residents who are facing utility disconnection.

Eligibility for these programs is based on income.

“Our main programs are for utility assistance, but we have lots of other programs people might not know about,” Dunston said.

Those include:

  • Mini Shelter–An emergency shelter in London, available to families while they transition to a new home.
  • Work Related Assistance–Gas cards, tools, uniforms, certifications, access to public transportation and other items to help people find or sustain a job. “Suits Me Fine” provides outfits for job interviews or first days on the job.
  • Individual Development Accounts–Matched saving that provides a two-for-one match for every dollar the earner saves toward a down payment, education, or business start-up.
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance–Free tax preparation services for households with up to $55,000 income. This program helped 530 people this year.
  • Energy Efficiency–Help with reducing utility costs through attic, wall and basement insulation, replacement or repair of heating systems, appliance replacement, and repairs to plumbing, electrical and heating units. Assistance also may include wheelchair ramps and other accessibility accommodations.
  • Medical Assistance–Prescription assistance, Cribs for Kids, and other necessary medical equipment requests.
  • Education–Topics include family development and computer classes. Clients with individual development accounts receive tailored education and support based on the asset they are working to acquire.

Bridges CAP encompasses six counties–Delaware, Champaign, Logan, Madison, Shelby and Union–each with its own office. A private board of directors, made up of elected officials, public citizens, and clients, controls operations.

“We are always looking for low-income family members to be part of our board, to have a voice in what we do,” Dunston said. “They’re who we’re here for.”

The board meets monthly.

For more information about Bridges Community Action Partnership, go to www.bridgescap.org, like them on Facebook, or call (740) 852-3511 or 1-800-858-4452.

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