Powell Cares Alliance shifts gears

Charity organization will combine efforts with federal program

Posted 11/25/22

The Powell Cares Alliance is making changes to its program in an effort to better serve families in need without changes to the application process. 

The Alliance began its path in 2019, …

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Powell Cares Alliance shifts gears

Charity organization will combine efforts with federal program

Posted

The Powell Cares Alliance is making changes to its program in an effort to better serve families in need without changes to the application process. 

The Alliance began its path in 2019, after the Powell Council of Community Services was discontinued after Dave Blevins’ retirement from the group after 35 years of volunteer service. For the past few years, the group has taken on the task to assist families with both short-term issues, such as a few bucks for gas or food, and long-term issues, such as rent and utility bills.

The PCA board, which was appointed by the Powell Ministerial Alliance, would jump into action when long-term issues popped up. But now, with funds for assistance available from the federal government from legislative relief efforts, the PCA is halting its long-term assistance program and combining efforts with the First Stop Park County Help Center, a community-based program with offices in Cody that provides help with emergency funds for all types of assistance. 

For those experiencing a short-term financial crisis due to unexpected expenses such as medical bills or loss of income, the program seeks to help families with rent so they are able to stay in their homes.

“First Stop does what we were doing, but better,” said Shane Legler, pastor at Garland Community Church who leads the ministerial alliance.

There won’t be much change for families finding themselves in financial emergencies in Powell. Their first contact is still with the Powell Police Department for both programs and they will either receive assistance from the PCA or their application will be immediately directed to First Stop.

A big benefit of the change will be an increase in assistance available from the PCA’s fund, Legler said.

“We want to give people real help,” he said, explaining assistance for food and gas will increase to better reflect recent inflated prices.

At the same time, the PCA will continue to monitor the availability of grants to the First Stop program in case the government grant party ends, he said. They will reappoint a board if needed in the future. 

The first contact for families seeking assistance remains at the police department, said Powell Police Chief Roy Eckert.

“Having the resources available to help people in need is important,” he said. 

But he also said the police station being the first contact point protects churches and local businesses from panhandlers and those looking for a handout under false pretenses. 

While First Stop, which is also handling the government’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, is funded by grants earmarked for relief during the pandemic, the PCA is funded entirely by local ministries, churches and donations from area residents.

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