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UDMO takes serious look at ELC building

By Staff | Feb 15, 2017

Locals curious about what might become of the Roosevelt building may have their questions answered soon.

Jamey M. Whitney, executive director of Upper Des Moines Opportunity, spoke with the Emmet County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning about the former school building.

The organization’s Head Start program is currently located in multiple sites, including Demoney Elementary School and Estherville?United Methodist Church’s education wing.

“I’m concerned with the current administration, and how much money will be available from grants,”?Whitney said. “I think funding for this is two years out.”

Whitney said the possibility of redoing the building over the summer once funding is available would be an attractive possibility.

Whitney, accompanied by Spirit Lake Outreach coordinator T.J. Thayer, also updated the supervisors about the activities of UDMO.

Whitney said, “Of 623 families we served, only eight did not have a source of income. What we deal with is that these families are working, or on disability, and they still can’t make it.”?

Whitney said assistance with rent or utilities from UDMO?is usually a one-time event.

“We are not set up for ongoing support,”?Whitney said.

Thayer said the federal grant requirements now allow the local outreach offices to help households whose income is up to 175 percent above the poverty line. Previously the limit had been 150 percent.

“We want to reach the elderly, who don’t tend to know about the assistance we can provide, nor come in for it,”?Whitney said.

Whitney requested from the supervisors $15,600, a $1,000 increase from last year’s request. The total budget for UDMO?in Estherville is $400,000.

Whitney said the local outreach office budgets allow the employees there to provide the services they already provide, in addition to service coordination for those families attempting to get off public assistance by bringing a higher income into their families.

In other business, Frank Johnson representative for Iowa Governmental Health Plan and Wellmark presented the proposed renewal for the county’s health insurance with an increase of 7.6 percent. The increase would take effect on July 1. At this time, the board did not sign the insurance agreement. Johnson is still gathering information for the board concerning Health Savings Accounts.

The next meeting of the Emmet County Board of Supervisors will take place Tues. Feb. 21 at 9 a.m. at the Emmet County Courthouse.