Lift Inc. invites public to discuss ’11 grant plans

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Clients of Lift Inc. got a chance to voice their opinions and preferences as to what they would like to see done with grant money allocated to the program in 2011.
Lift is a community action agency that provides services to low-income residents in Calhoun, Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Monroe, Pontotoc and Union counties in Northeast Mississippi.
Executive Director Dorothy Leasy said each year before grant requests are submitted for the upcoming year, a public hearing is held so current and potential clients can learn about programs offered and to give input as to what services they believe are needed.
“We hold the public hearing so people will know what Lift can do for them and we give them an overview of our services,” said Leasy. “We want them to know what our services are, who is eligible for them and how Lift as a whole benefits the community. We also give them a chance to bring up some of the areas they’d like to see more attention paid to.”
More than 60 people showed up for the hearing at Lift headquarters on McCullough Boulevard on Thursday. Some of the main areas of interest were child care, rental assistance, and heating and cooling programs.
Margaret Hamblin has never used Lift’s services, but with a still-recovering economy, she said she thought it would be a good idea to hear about what the agency offers.
“I’ve heard good things about what Lift does for people in the area and you never know when your luck will run out and you’ll need help yourself,” said Hamblin. “The main thing I wanted to know about was the cooling and heating programs. I live in an old house that’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter, so it may be good for me to know where to get help from if I ever need it.”
Leasy said even though Lift will take into account the suggestions and concerns of the public, the agency will focus on the immediate needs of the people.
“As always, we’ll focus on utilities, harsh heat and cold weather and other programs that can help households become more self-reliant,” said Leasy. “We’re going to really focus on educational programs to try to help people get back into the work force as well.”

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.