Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP) and Presque Isle Housing Authority (PIHA) have partnered to ensure that low income families have better access to comprehensive services. Recognizing the need for high quality early care and education services, combined with wrap around services for the entire family, the two entities recently partnered to deliver these services at the local housing authority.
The Presque Isle Housing Authority provides housing subsidies to more than 300 families in the Presque Isle area, including over 100 families with children served in the Public Housing Program. It is part of their mission to support lower income families as they work to meet life goals, with the belief that stable and affordable housing is the foundation for achieving most personal goals. PIHA recently decided to seek proposals for childcare services and to expand onsite services available to tenants. They envisioned creating a partnership with a likeminded agency that has similar goals and purpose. PIHA had several groups express interest in the available space, formerly a childcare center, and the proposal process was a way to consider all interested parties equally. Recognizing the need for additional high quality childcare throughout Aroostook County, ACAP created a proposal that shared details of not only the Head Start, Early Head Start and childcare offerings, but also the comprehensive service delivery model in which ACAP provides multiple services to each household. ACAP provides over 40 programs and service countywide, including Early Care and Education Services to nearly 400 of Aroostook County’s youngest citizens.
“During the last several years, we have worked to increase access to local resources for our tenants. We have done this very successfully with children’s summer programs made up of existing services from non-profits and individuals. This collaboration with ACAP expands upon existing relationships and brings resources that will help families be successful,” said Jennifer Sweetser, Executive Director of Presque Isle Housing Authority. She continued, “We are looking forward to having Head Start and Family Coaching Services for our families available on site, eliminating transportation barriers and enabling children to attend Head Start or childcare daily and families to participate in ACAP’s programs and services. The possibilities of offering other ACAP programs such as HEAP intake, smoking cessation, and youth job services at this center is such a positive addition to our neighborhood. We are looking forward to the opportunities this will bring to all types of families in the Public Housing Program.”
“We are excited for the opportunities that will be available to children and families in the community through this partnership. It will be a one-stop service center for the families at PIHA. Children will be able to attend Head Start and Early Head Start at the community center and then stay in the classroom for full day childcare. This will reduce transitions for children during the day and parents will have childcare within walking distance of their homes. In addition, we will offer itinerant ACAP services and education programs at the community center during the week. ACAP hopes to be able to strengthen access to all program services in partnership with PIHA,” said Sue Powers, ACAP Senior Director of Programs.
The partnership is excited to welcome two new classrooms and two dozen families into the center in early July. ACAP will also have a family coach located at the center to support the children and families enrolled as well as be available to residents of the PIHA. The over 40 programs offered by ACAP will also be available to all residents on site as team members will hold events, classes, and meetings at the center to remove the transportation barriers that may exist.
Applications are currently being accepted for the Head Start, Early Head Start and Childcare Programs and can be found at: Early Care & Education (acap-me.org). An open house will be held on July 15 at the new facility and will be taking applications that day from interested parties.