January Newsletter

County JFS Offices Can Use PRC Funds to Help During the Shutdown

Although there is temporary agreement to end the federal government shutdown, the future is uncertain and still could impact federal workers and assistance programs for low-income Ohioans. Last week, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services sent information to the county offices regarding the use of PRC funds to help low-income Ohioans impacted by the shutdown. See the following excerpt from the letter:

May a county utilize Prevention Retention and Contingency (PRC) funds to address emerging needs as a result of the shutdown?
As described in the PRC Reference Guide, county agencies may provide PRC benefits and services for nonrecurring, short-term needs not to extend beyond four months. These services and non-assistance benefits address a specific crisis situation or episode of need that may include food, clothing, shelter, utilities, home repairs, household goods, personal care items, and general incidental expenses. A county agency does have the discretion to assist a specific population as a result of an adverse occurrence. If a county agency elects to do this type of program the county PRC plan will need to be modified and updated with a list of services to be provided and a definition of the specific target population. The target population definition should focus on a specific economic misfortune that hit a very explicit population within your county (e.g. TANF-eligible federal employees or TANF-eligible SNAP recipients adversely impacted by the federal government shutdown). As much as possible, the county agency will want to clearly define the target population (e.g.”Federal workers”) in the PRC plan update to extend the PRC funding as far as possible. Obviously, all TANF allowability, eligibility, and funding limitations would apply to such a program.

Employers Learn About CQEs
On January 16, employers gathered in Columbus to learn about an often untapped employment pool–CQE holders. Certificates of Qualification for Employment reduce barriers to employment for persons with criminal records and offer protections to their employers. Attendees heard from CQE holders–including Maurice Clarett–who shared how the process changed their lives. Given that at least 1.92 million Ohioans have a misdemeanor or felony conviction, a CQE holder could be the solution to employers’ hiring needs. More than 60 people attended the event sponsored by OPLC, The Legal Aid Society of Columbus, Alvis Inc, and other partners. Contact Megan O’Dell for tips to get CQE materials or help in planning a training for employers in your community.