During its annual meeting, Porter County Aging and Community Services celebrated another year of serving the elderly, needy and those with disabilities through various programs.
According to PCACS Board President Ethan Lowe, the support of the Porter County Council and County Commissioners as well as lower fuel prices kept the agency’s buses running at an expanded level: seven buses on the road 10 hours a day.
“We provided 23,315 trips totaling 274,077 miles driven,” said PCACS Executive Director Bruce Lindner. “We added two new buses in April, replacing two that were over 100,000 miles – which is the point of our bus’s useful life. Three buses will hit that mark by the end of 2013 and are scheduled to be replaced in early 2014.”
Lindner said the old buses are returned to the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission where they are auctioned off at the annual sale and those funds go into the agency’s bus replacement account at NIRPC.
Through the federal Energy Assistance Program, PCACS assisted 1,358 families giving out $421,482 during the winter months. Energy Assistance is an income-eligible program. When participants qualify for a determined amount, the payment is electronically paid to the appropriate energy company.
“We had several volunteers that helped with the program allowing us to better manage our costs while providing a high level of service to our clients,” Lindner said.
The NIPSCO Hardship program helped 37 families with $6,168 and the United Way of Porter County’s Emergency Assistance Program helped 188 families with $44,600.
“The Emergency Assistance Program assists Porter County residents who face challenges. Due to its flexibility, we are able to help families in many different ways,” Lindner said.
The agency’s ramp fund was bolstered by two $5,000 grants, including one from the Kankakee Valley REMC’s Operation Round Up program. The funds go toward constructing ramps for Porter County residents who need assistance accessing their homes.
PCACS has already completed or scheduled ramp projects in Portage and Chesterton and is still looking for an individual in the Kankakee Valley REMC coverage area who is in need of a ramp.
“A team from Valparaiso’s Task Force Tips will be assisting with construction of a ramp in Portage as part of this year’s Day of Caring,” Lindner said.
PCACS is also marking the fifth year in a row of reaching its NAP tax credit goal. In 2012, the agency was given $7,240 credits raising $14,480. The Neighborhood Assistance Program allows community members to support PCACS’ mission and goals while receiving state tax breaks.
The agency is earmarked to receive $7,752 in tax credits for 2013 and they are currently available.
To purchase NAP tax credits or to receive ramp assistance, contact Lindner at (219) 464-7144.
PCACS’ mission is to extend a helping hand to seniors, those who are disabled and low-income residents by providing services to improve their quality of life, including transportation, nutrition programs, energy assistance and activity centers.
For more information, visit www.portercountyacs.org.