Hamilton County Job and Family Services reports a program with a public/private partnership is showing good results in helping residents climb out of poverty.
The agency made a presentation Tuesday to the county commissioners on Project Lift.
In its first year, officials said the program helped more than 450 families and 1,000 county residents.
The goal is to reduce poverty and increase economic mobility. Officials said Project Lift operates with the following guiding principles:
- Family-driven solutions
- Lean administrative cots
- Funds to families, not administration
- Maximize federal/state and local public dollars
The families drive the work and determine what is needed to lift them out of poverty, rather than being restricted to one single program.
To qualify, families must:
- Live in Hamilton County, Ohio
- Have responsibility for a child (physical, legal, or financial)
- Be working, or on a viable path to employment
- Agree to work with a sponsor agency/case manager/coach
- Agree to share income, employment and barrier data for at least one year
- Have a household earned income below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line (approximately $51,500 annually for a family of four)
People in Project Lift are partnered with 20 sponsor agencies including the Baptist Ministers Conference, Cincinnati Works, Easter Seals, and the Freestore Foodbank.
"The difference with Project lift is that now we have included faith-based sponsors," said Project Manager Teri Jones-Morris. "And that's really huge because that's something we've never done before. And so, they are really working hard to move the participants from poverty and making sure that they get all the services that they need to move forward."
These partner agencies help families access an array of support, services and funding to overcome barriers that pause or prevent them from completing their journey out of poverty. The target outcome is to increase income by 20%.
The goal is to find agencies to provide services close to where people live.
"We know that families are more comfortable with somebody in their neighborhoods," said JFS Director Moira Weir. "So let's go to an organization that's in their neighborhood that they feel more comfortable with in terms of accessing services and they can work with a case manager there."
Officials focus on community outreach and engagement, workforce development, flexible service coordination, wraparound funding and transportation solutions.