The Porter County Aging and Community Services board and staff members recently assessed the impact the organization has had on the community during its annual meeting.
“We had another successful year providing services to many community members,” said Bruce Lindner, PCACS executive director.
The agency serves the area’s elderly, needy and those with disabilities through various avenues including the on-demand transportation program, the energy assistance program and senior nutrition sites. The organization also continues to manage the United Way Emergency Assistance Program and coordinate the State Health Insurance Program as an RSVP station site.
The transportation program is maintaining an expanded level with seven buses in service. In the last year, there were 271 new clients with an average of 84 trips per day and 167,548 passenger miles.
“Lower gas prices helped us stay within our budget and the generous support that we received from the Porter County Council and County Commissioners has allowed us to continue our expanded bus service,” Lindner said.
The bus fleet was updated with two new ones in October and three additional new vehicles are expected this summer.
“With some of our fleet reaching a high mileage point, we also hope to have a bus order in this fall and then change out additional buses by spring of 2016,” Lindner said. “Any proceeds from the NIRPC sale of our older buses go into a holding account to go toward our portion of the new bus price.”
Through the Energy Assistance Program, 1,237 families were assisted with $387,449. The program is an income-eligible program that helps qualified participants who need assistance with their energy bills during the winter season. When participants qualify, the payment is electronically paid to the appropriate energy company.
“We are very fortunate to have excellent volunteers who help us keep the program running efficiently while providing a high level of customer service,” Lindner said.
Through administration of the NIPSCO Hardship program, PCACS assisted 20 families with $5,649. The United Way Emergency Assistance Grant provided 120 clients with $44,600 in financial help for medical, rent, mortgage, transportation and utility costs.
“This program offers flexibility to assist families facing challenging situations,” Lindner said.
The agency was again rewarded NAP tax credits for the seventh year in a row – this year in the amount of $4,969.
“The Neighborhood Assistance Program is a way for community members to support PCACS’ mission and goals while receiving state tax breaks,” Lindner said. “With additional agencies seeking a portion of the $2.5 million pool, we did see a reduction in our awards from last year.”
PCACS also received a $5,000 grant from the Anderson Foundation to build ramps for community members who need assistance accessing their homes.
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.