Food Assistance Change Coming

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If you receive food assistance from our agency — and one in six in the county do — you’ll need to know about an important change coming to the program.

Beginning Friday, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is changing the time frame for dispersing benefits. Previously, all 140,000 Hamilton County residents received their food benefits, loaded to their Ohio Directional Card, within the first 10 days the month. Going forward, the benefits will be dispersed over a 20-day period.

To be clear, this only affects new recipients, people who had a break in eligibility or people who move. If you are a current recipient and do not move or have a break in your eligibility, you will continue receiving your benefits on your designated day. (The exact day is determined by the last digit in your case number and that will remain the protocol in the new system.)

But if you were to lose eligibility for even a short time, or move, you might have to wait longer than 30 days for your next round of assistance to load. For example, if you previously received your benefits on the first day of the month, when you re-enroll, you may find that you have now been assigned the 20th day of the month for your card to load. So you might go as long as 50 days — instead of the normal 30 — in between loads on your card.

This would only be a problem for the first month back. After that, you would be back on a regular schedule.

Why the change? Grocers for some time have said a longer window for dispersing benefits would help them be able to staff more evenly throughout the month and to be able to keep a more steady supply of quality food.

SuperJobs Center Gets a New Name

Our SuperJobs Center officially gets a new name tomorrow.

The one-stop job center will be renamed OhioMeansJobs Cincinnati-Hamilton County. This is in line with an attempt by the state to re-brand all 88 one stops in Ohio with the OhioMeansJobs name, making it easier for employers and job seekers to identify their local center for job resources.

OhioMeansJobs is also the name of the State of Ohio’s job matching website. It allows job seekers to post their resumes and search tens of thousands of job openings. Employers can post job openings directly to OhioMeansJobs.com and can search for candidates by education, experience and other factors.

The local one-stop will also have a new website name: ohiomeansjobs.com/Hamilton.

The one-stop is the place to go for both employers looking for workers and the unemployed who are looking for jobs. We help with training, matching employers and potential employees, candidate screening, job fairs and more. In its first year under our direction, the one-stop found work for 665 local residents.

 

Adoption Recrutiment Event on Saturday

If you’re thinking about adopting, HCJFS is hosting an adoption recruitment event at the Colerain Bowling Alley this Saturday Feb. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you have a completed home study on file or letter from your agency, you may attend this event and meet some of our children available for adoption. Make sure to RSVP! To learn more, check out the flier. http://ow.ly/d/1S9F

Choose Your Partner Carefully

Choose Your Partner Carefully

I was very happy to see this editorial in today’s Enquirer. We launched that campaign a few years ago, but it is an extremely important topic that we should come back to on a regular basis. We need to update the numbers, but as you will see from the Choose Your Partner Carefully website linked above and the Enquirer editorial, we have traditionally outpaced the nation when it comes to boyfriends harming children. Mothers need to understand that just because he loves you, doesn’t mean he will love your child. Please visit the website and educate yourself, and thanks again to the Enquirer for a wonderful editorial.

JFS has a Widespread Impact on the Local Economy

Below is my column from our recent Update newsletter. If you are not receiving our newsletter, please visit our website, hcjfs.org, and find the sign up form under the Public header. It is a good way to keep up on what is going on at JFS.

 

Hamilton County Job and Family Services has a $1.8 billion impact on the local economy.

That is what was going through my mind as I reviewed the number of Medicaid applications we have received under the recent expansion. If we receive as many as predicted – 42,000 – that will push us above the 200,000 recipient mark. That is a full one quarter of the county’s 800,000 residents.

But the numbers behind the numbers are the dollars attached to those recipients. Because they have health care insurance, they are able to spend money at local doctors’ offices, clinics and hospitals. Last year, $1.3 billion in Medicaid was spent at local medical facilities.

JFS also accounted for $232 million in food assistance spent at local grocers. Another nearly $100 million was spent at local child care centers and homes. Various other programs account for nearly $200 million in spending at local businesses.

This is something I try to keep in mind when going about the day-to-day business of running JFS. Our reach goes far beyond the 275,000 people involved in a child support case, or the 167,000 Medicaid recipients or the 145,000 food assistance recipients. Yes, we help 17,000 abused children a year, but that help extends beyond those children to doctors who heal their wounds, psychologists who help them become whole and social service providers who help meet their other needs.

It is hard to say exactly how many people we serve, because many of the recipients are duplicated across programs. My guess is we directly serve about 500,000 of the county’s 800,000 residents. But if you consider the dollars that reach beyond those half million, it is a good bet there are very few in this community who do not benefit from the work we do. 

 

Medicaid Expansion: More than 5,000 Applications so far

Our agency is processing about 200 more applications a day with the expansion of Medicaid.

If you will recall, the state extended Medicaid to cover people with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level – $15,856 for a single person or $32,499 for a family of four. The application period started Dec. 9.

Since that date, HCJFS has received 5,224 applications under the expanded program. Officials estimate that about 42,000 more Hamilton County residents will qualify for Medicaid under the expansion.

Online is still the best way to apply: www.benefits.ohio.gov .The best way to ensure a quick response it to fill out the application completely. If all the information is there, the computer cross-checks it with other federal data. If everything checks out, the card is issued immediately.

SuperJobs Center Turning Out Super Numbers

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This bell rings at the SuperJobs Center with each new job!

I looked over some of our numbers from the SuperJobs Center today and I am very happy with the work being done there. Our employees are to be commended for their outstanding work.

You will recall that we took over operation of the SuperJobs Center in July 2012. After Workforce Investment Act funds were cut by 45 percent in 2012, the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County sought a more efficient provider to run the SuperJobs Center. Hamilton County Job and Family Services was selected and given the mandate of spending $500,000 less on administrative costs, instead using that money for direct services to benefit local workers and businesses.

Several other goals were laid out at the time, with an eye toward improving the local workforce and fostering economic development. The agency has met or exceeded all of those goals:

Increase spending on direct services to consumers by $500,000 to a total $1,330,000. Spending on direct services has increased to $1,732,789.  The increases have been in two categories: $1,531,172 on additional training and subsidies and an additional $201,617 on transportation and work supports.

Reduce operating costs (staff and overhead) by $500,000. Operating costs have been reduced by $706,928. (Arbor had previously spent $2,470,160 on staff, shared, profit and indirect costs. HCJFS has reduced operating costs to $1,763,232.)

Enroll 750 individuals in WIA. 1,631 people were enrolled in the first year under HCJFS. (Arbor enrolled 664 individuals in the prior year.)

Provide training and wage subsidies to 200 individuals. 478 people received training and wage subsidies in the first year. (Arbor served 140 individuals in the prior year.)

Help 450 individuals find employment. 665 of those the agency provided with in depth services managed to find employment in the first year. (In the previous year, Arbor helped 422 find employment.)

Serve 200 employers more than once. 302 employers were served repeatedly in the first year. (In the previous year, Arbor served 219 employers.)

Meet or exceed state and federal performance measures. In the last report, SuperJobs met four state measures and exceeded two. Four of the six increased relative to the prior quarter. Five of the six increased compare to one year prior.

Fantastic work!

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