LIMA — Ohio Means Jobs-Allen County, the West Ohio Community Action Partnership and Family Promise of Lima/Allen County are this year’s finalists for the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce’s nonprofit of the year.
Winners will be announced at a banquet Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Civic Center in Lima.
Ohio Means Jobs–Allen County
The agency works with job seekers and employers to keep unemployment low in Allen County. But Ohio Means Jobs–Allen County is also piloting an employment incentive program to help bridge the benefits cliff.
The program provides financial assistance and coaching for eligible low-income workers who accept higher paying positions, as those workers may lose public assistance. Joe Patton, executive director of Ohio Means Jobs Allen County, said the idea is to encourage low-wage workers worried about losing their benefits to move up the pay ladder.
“We’re trying to help them make better financial decisions with this,” Patton said.
Ohio Means Jobs–Allen County also offers one-on-one job coaching, during which Patton said his staff will talk about common barriers to employment such as daycare, education and training.
Family Promise of Lima/Allen County
Family Promise of Lima/Allen County is known for its family shelter, which relies on local churches to house and feed families in need, Director Russ Thomas said.
But the agency also works with families to secure permanent housing, find jobs and gain access to childcare. It also recently started a transitional housing program, which provides low-cost, longer-term housing to families who have stayed at the shelter for 90 days.
“We’re trying to prevent recidivism,” Thomas explained.
Another new project is the agency’s home for young men between the ages of 18 and 20. Thomas said the home is currently closed due to fire damage, but plans are in the works to reopen the home at some point. The purpose, Thomas said, is to offer shelter for young men kicked out of foster homes after turning 18.
West Ohio Community Action Partnership
The social services agency, known for its Head Start, homeownership and emergency assistance programs, recently launched an eight-county lead abatement project, targeting homes with children under age 6.
“We’re concerned that children are still being exposed to lead poisoning,” said Jacqueline Fox, CEO of WOCAP. “Most children don’t get screened for lead poisoning. We want to advocate for children to be able to live in a safe home.”
Fox said WOCAP also received funding to help homeowners with up to $7,5000 in emergency repairs, such as fixing an old furnace or water heater.
Fox said WOCAP regularly partners with the other finalists for the nonprofit of the year award.
“We feel like we’re in good company with friends,” she said.
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.