Panel shares low-income grants plans

The Ashland Citizens' Budget Committee has recommended $120,710 in grants to fund health care for low-income residents, help battered women and victims of sexual assault, aid children, address homelessness, provide volunteer opportunities for senior citizens and offer other help.

The Ashland City Council will decide during this spring's budget process whether to give final approval for the social services grants, but councilors usually follow the Budget Committee's recommendations. The grants are paid for with city general fund dollars.

The Community Health Center in Ashland could receive the largest grant — $37,000. "The grant underwrites our sliding-fee scale to provide primary health care for residents of Ashland," said Community Health Center Executive Director Peg Crowley.

The center provides care for an estimated 1,200 Ashland residents, many of whom are low-income people, lack health insurance or have lost their jobs in the economic downturn, according to the center's grant application.

Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon could receive $4,000 for a program that encourages people to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases, and then get treatment if needed.

Community Works' Dunn House Shelter for battered women and their children is set to receive $16,000. The organization's Sexual Assault Victims Services program could receive $2,730. It provides advocacy and support for victims, whether they go to a hospital for help or not.

Jackson County's Sexual Assault Team, which sends trained nurses to treat sexual assault victims who go to emergency rooms, is likely to get $5,000. Victims can receive emergency contraception and nurses are trained to collect forensic evidence. The services are free, and victims are treated in private rooms and don't have to wait for hours in emergency rooms, said SART Agency Manager Susan Moen.

"It's what we call the kinder, gentler approach," she said.

Of 75 people treated countywide last year, 10 were from Ashland, Moen said.

Normally, only 40 percent of victims of sexual assault report the crime to law enforcement, but that percentage doubles when a victim gets treatment from SART, she said.

The Budget Committee has recommended $4,000 for the Children's Dental Clinic, $2,605 for the Children's Advocacy Center that helps abused kids, and $2,120 for Jackson County Court Appointed Special Advocates who help kids who have suffered from abuse and neglect.

St. Vincent de Paul could get $5,000 to help people pay utilities and rent in order to avoid homelessness, and Community Works could get $8,250 for a part-time person who reaches out to people on the streets to tell them about services.

Rogue Valley Manor Community Services is likely to get a total of $3,000 for its Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and its Foster Grandparent Program.

Among other recommended grants, OnTrack Inc., a provider of addiction recovery programs and services, could get $3,500.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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