Hope House

Hope House won a $1,000 grant to offset the cost of counseling for children and families.

Clatsop County is a special place. The quality of life that many who live here enjoy is one of Oregon’s greatest hidden secrets.

Unfortunately, not everyone who lives in Clatsop County has the same experiences. The Clatsop County Commission recognizes this fact and has budgeted funding for grants to local social and human services agencies to close this gap.

The purpose is to invest in community programs that target those population groups most in need socially and economically. The county’s Human Services Advisory Council will distribute the grants on behalf of the Board of Commissioners. Dollars that are given to these programs through county grants are matched by dollars from other sources. This matching funding results in the availability of more services and benefits to more people than money provided by the county alone.

More than $163,000 has been awarded in the past 11 years. More than 20 agencies have stepped up to partner with the county to leverage the money and provide needed resources to county residents. The services have benefited all age groups in every corner of the county.

Among the applicants applying to provide services for the current year, there were 13 proposals for funding — for a total of almost $50,000. Those applications were categorized into four categories — healthy eating and nutrition, healthy activities for children and adults, mental health counseling, and training for effective parenting. Only six applicants were approved, as only $15,000 was budgeted.

Examples of the successful applicants include:

Court-Appointed Special Advocates ($3,000): A collaboration between Clatsop CASA and the Clatsop County Family Treatment Court to sponsor healthy activities for parents who are participants in the Family Treatment Court and their children. The goal of the program is to strengthen the parent-child bond and encourage the physical, social, and emotional development of these young children.

Lunch Buddies Mentoring Program ($5,000): A collaboration between Lunch Buddies Mentoring Program, the school districts, individual schools, small business owners and community members. The grant request paid for expanding the program to include both Hilda Lahti (Knappa) and Jewell schools.

North Coast Food Web ($1,000): A collaboration between North Coast Food Web and Bob’s Red Mill, OSU Extension and Astoria Co-op, the grant request partially funded a community cooking class that increased knowledge and skills related to cooking and healthy eating throughout our communities.

Beyond the fiduciary benefits that come from leveraging county funds with outside agencies through this grant process, there is a human benefit. Clatsop County is not the only county that struggles with high incarceration rates. It is a problem with which counties struggle all over the state and country. Research shows that delinquency prevention programs are a good financial investment.

Prevention programs save taxpayers $7 to $10 for every dollar invested, primarily due to reductions in the amount spent on incarcerations. Early intervention programs like those supported by funding for grants to local social and human services agencies can reduce money spent to imprison individuals. In other words, those monies are instrumental to stop the cradle-to-prison pipeline that so often prevails.

There is $30,000 total available for the coming year, with individual programs eligible for grants of up to $10,000. Preference is given to programs which provide services that are available to all county residents, as opposed to residents of a specific geographic area; serve the largest number of county residents; work collaboratively with other groups and receive significant portions of their funding from sources other than the county; address a need not now being addressed by other groups or agencies; and have missions that are consistent with the board’s priorities as identified in Clatsop Vision 2030 Together.

The county’s proposal format must be used to be eligible for consideration and can be picked up from the county offices or downloaded from the county website at bit.ly/human-services-grants.

Applications must be submitted via email to gkorosi@co.clatsop.or.us no later than Jan. 31.

The Human Services Advisory Council grant committee reviews all proposals and then makes funding recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for approval at one of its regularly scheduled meetings.

By investing in community programs, Clatsop County helps ensure that all residents have the quality of life experiences for which our community is noted.

Linda Crandell serves on the board of directors of Clatsop County’s Human Services Advisory Council.

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