The Geauga Community Action, Inc. (GCA) recently expanded its Transportation Assistance Program and continues to grow its Jumpstart Car Repair Program to help individuals get to work as well as keep needed medical appointments and more.
GCA’s Transportation Assistance Program provides gas cards or Geauga Transit passes for individuals who qualify, with self-sufficiency in mind. “We are now partnering with local agencies to assist Geauga County residents with their transportation costs,” Bob Voss, executive director of Geauga Community Action, says. “The need is great in Geauga County for overall transportation assistance.”
GCA is also reaching out to Geauga businesses who have employees with transportation needs. “We know how critical it is for both employers to have a reliable workforce as well as employees to have a steady paycheck,” Voss says. He encourages local businesses to call GCA to discuss their needs at 440.286.4765.
GCA’s Jumpstart Car Repair Program has been in effect for one year and has served more than 80 individuals, providing them with up to $1,000 for vehicle repairs. As with the Transportation Assistance Program, Jumpstart is designed to help a Geauga County resident get to work, apply for employment, go to medical or counseling appointments, grocery shop, etc. “Our ultimate goal is to promote self-sufficiency,” Voss says. “These federal tax dollars are meant to be a one-time hand up, not an ongoing hand out.”
GCA is funded through a Community Services Block Grant from the federal government, totaling just over $200,000 in calendar year 2019. To be eligible to receive services through either GCA’s Transportation Assistance Program or Jumpstart, families or individuals must be at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level or earn approximately $1,300 per month as an individual.
At this time, the agency’s only source of funding comes from this block grant. “The Federal government gives the money to the State, which in turn passes it down to local, private, non-profit community action agencies,” Bob Voss, executive director of Geauga Community Action, says. A similar community action agency is located in Lake County, called Lifeline.
Geauga Community Action administrative expenses are capped at 6 percent, and a tripartite board determines how the grant money is to be used. This board is comprised of at least one-third low-income community representatives, one-third public officials, and one-third private sector leaders, per a federal requirement. “In order for GCA to grow these programs, we need our strategic partners to financially support us to leverage federal dollars to maximize our impact,” Voss says. The federal grant funding formulas are based on a county’s population and projection of county residents at or below the federal poverty level. “According to a recent needs assessment, transportation remains one of the top critical needs in Geauga county where GCA grant money will be used,” Voss adds. “We want to get the word out that if you are in a crisis situation, we can help,” Voss explains. “The goal is that individuals who receive assistance will not have to come back for additional help. People in Geauga County have a lot of pride. They want to be self reliant. “
Voss concludes, “We are here to help. My strategic goal this year is to involve Geauga businesses and offer assistance when their employees hit a rough patch – whether with a car that needs repair, new tires, etc. or help finding transportation to work.”
Geauga Community Action office is located at 470 Center Street in Chardon, in Building 5D. for more information, call GCA to schedule an appointment at 440.286.4765 or visit the GCA website at http://www.gcainc.org.
Pictured In Cover Photo: From left to right, Bob Voss, executive director of Geauga Community Action, and Karen Demko, program manager, review poverty graphs at their office at 470 Center Street, Building 5D, in Chardon.