As your local community action agency, UCAN takes on new social service programming when there’s a gap in services, and we have the resources to address that gap. That’s why we’ve stepped in to operate homeless shelters for the first time in our history. But while we help meet new community needs, we continue to operate well over a dozen other programs.
In Douglas County, UCAN offers several different child service programs to improve the health and well-being of young children and their mothers, to prepare children to enter kindergarten ready to learn, and to strengthen families. This past year, our Head Start/Early Head Start program served 473 children (ages 6 weeks through 5), providing not only early childhood education, but family home visits, developmental/health screens, and nutritious meals as well. Our Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) Program offered nutritional supports to over 3,000 women, infants and children. Healthy Families (also serving Klamath and Lake County) and Nurse Home Visiting, our two programs focused exclusively on offering family strengthening, parent education, referrals, and related supports, made close to 1,000 home visits. And our Healthy Start program worked with many families to reduce infant mortality in the County.
UCAN operates a number of programs that help people obtain housing, stay housed, pay their utilities, and stay warm in their homes. These programs are offered in both Douglas and Josephine County. This past year we provided 678 households with rent assistance so they could stay housed. We provided another 289 households with move-in payment assistance so they could move into housing, and helped another 100 households move in to either emergency, transitional or permanent housing. We made 6,476 utility payments, 2,527 of which paid off prior bills that would have otherwise led to folks losing their utilities. We also weatherized 42 homes, ensuring homes were warmer, and in many cases, healthier and safer.
Our Feeding Umpqua program played a huge role in addressing hunger in Douglas County, providing enough food for local pantries to provide over 25,000 emergency food boxes, and allowing local kitchens to provide over 100,000 meals. While Feeding Umpqua was meeting residents’ food needs, our Medicaid Transport program was helping folks get to doctor appointments they otherwise could not drive to in Douglas, Josephine and Coos County. We provided over 11,000 rides this year alone.
We helped about 300 residents of Douglas and Josephine County with all aspects of financial management, including: budgeting, credit management, credit repair, credit counseling. We helped others with their finances, providing bill pay services to 73 individuals, and tax assistance to 1,343 others. The latter service particularly helps our communities, as many individuals receiving tax assistance obtain refunds that they then use to pay for items from local merchants.
Our United Community AmeriCorps program provided a host of sites with members who supported a variety of projects serving 4,549 people. Members also built the capacity of their host sites, mobilizing 991 volunteers. AmeriCorps Seniors engaged many more members ages 55+ in Douglas and Josephine County, offering services ranging from Medicare education to scam and fraud protection. As you can see, we’ve had quite the year at UCAN, and look forward to meeting the needs of thousands more next year.