The Gordon County Voluntary Action Center will now have an opportunity to apply for a block grant after the completion of activities using money from a previous block grant.
The Gordon County Board of Commissioners will hold a public briefing at their monthly meeting to present the community with completed activities using the Community Block Grant received in September 2010 to purchase property and construct a building to house the Tallatoona CAP, Inc. operation.
According to Gordon County Commissioners Chairperson Judy Bailey, the briefing is a formality and will give the public the opportunity to see how the money was used and that it was used effectively.
Randy Dowling, Gordon County Administrator says the meeting is to satisfy provisions of the federal grant.
“This is a federal requirement. Once you complete a project you have to have a public hearing to inform the public that you are finished. We will explain how much money we spent and that it is finished now,” said Dowling.
The door will close on the completed Tallatoona CAP project, and now Gordon County has submitted a new application for a $500,000 CDBG grant for the Voluntary Action Center (VAC) for much needed improvements to the facilities.
The grant application was drawn up and submitted April 2, 2012, but according to Dowling, the county will not receive a response until.
Break the Cycle
For the past ten years, the VAC has been putting “band-aids” on the problems at the facility, according to Stacy Long, Executive Director of the VAC, but the grant will help create permanent solutions to many of the VAC’s structural and space issues.
“We started talking about the grant last year,” said Long. “We have taken on a multi-phase revamp of what services we provide here at the VAC.”
The VAC recently added a new community kitchen to the small campus through monetary donations from organizations such as the Calhoun Women’s Club, First Methodist Church, The Mohawk Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield and many others, according to Long.
Long said the VAC’s renovation plans with the grant money would have originally included the community kitchen.
However, because Calhoun and Gordon County came together to provide separate funds for the community kitchen, the VAC can now focus more money on the other phases of revamping.
The next three phases, if the grant is approved for the VAC, include building a day shelter, renovating the VAC offices to include client restrooms and closed ceiling offices for confidentiality purposes, parking lot updates to prevent flooding and training facilities.
Long said the day shelter will provide a place for the VAC’s clients to “adequately prepare themselves for a job,” between the hours of 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. every day.
Additionally, the training facilities will provide space for the VAC to host training sessions as they have refocused their programs, trying to shift away from monetary assistance for clients.
The shift towards training sessions will give the VAC an edge when competing for the grant money.
“A lot of your grants are tightening up or they are changing the way they are dispersing those funds,” said Long. “They want more hands on training, and they want more interaction between the case manager and the client.”
The goal of the VAC is to reach the next generation through avenues of training such as financial classes, cooking classes, etc.
Generational request for monetary assistance is on the rise with the VAC, but providing a space for training to occur will help make the VAC’s grant application more competitive and will “break that cycle,” according to Long.
“Now we are dealing with three or four generations of family members requesting assistance. We have helped grandma, mom, and the child now so we are trying to break that cycle to hopefully at some point reach the generation that’s going to say, ‘okay, I don’t want to just rely on somebody else to pay my bills for me,’” said Long.
The CDBG grant is the same type of grant used in the past for the VAC and on other county projects such as the Tallatoona CAP project above.