Letter to the Editor: Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation

To the Editor:

Whether our neighbors are experiencing a temporary setback or face a continuous challenge to meet their basic needs - too many struggle to achieve a good quality of life. On a national level, nearly 40 million people are still living in poverty and even more are just one missed paycheck away from hardship.

We believe everyone should be able to take care of their families and have an equal opportunity at success. Community Action Agencies serve 99% of all American counties with life-changing services to help families achieve financial stability. All agencies are locally controlled and represented by the private, public and low-income sectors of the community.

Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation (NEICAC), your local non-profit agency, works to create opportunities and improve the lives of others while also striving to make our communities stronger. The organization began in 1965 and continues today to serve the northeast Iowa counties of Allamakee, Bremer, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek.

Our local Community Action Network:

Connects individuals and families to approaches that help them succeed - including high quality early childhood programs, stable and affordable housing, budget counseling, public transit, pregnancy prevention, home energy, weatherization and emergency assistance.

Promotes community-wide solutions to seemingly stubborn challenges throughout our rural areas - whether it’s a lack of affordable housing or the need to promote economic growth that benefits all families.

In the 12-month period that ended August 31, 2019, NEICAC provided the following services to 1,658 unduplicated individuals in Allamakee County:

• 98 households received Crisis Utility & Rent Assistance
• 554 households participated in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
• 16 households had their homes weatherized
• 19 households participated in NEICAC’s Family Development Self-Sufficiency Program (FaDSS)
• 31 individuals received formal budget counseling
• 139 children were enrolled in NEICAC’s Head Start and Early Head Start Programs   
• 13 households were assisted with emergency furnace repair/replacement or cooling
• 22 households participated in the Embrace Iowa Program
• 5 households received Housing/Rental Assistance from the Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program
• 4 households received Wheels for Work auto loans
• 330 individuals received holiday gifts with the Allamakee County Giving Tree program.

We continue to see need in our communities; poverty rates do not seem to decrease while funding for programs does. Our agency strives to provide quality programming and services and appreciates the local support from our communities. We fully recognize that we could not do what we do without it.

Whether we have faced personal or professional challenges, almost always, each of us has been fortunate to have help. Our community action agency and those across the nation see this concept as the heart of who we are. With the trust and confidence of our communities, NEICAC will continue to create impact to make others’ lives better.

Thank you,

Trisha S. Wilkins, CCAP
Executive Director,
Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation
Allamakee County Resident

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