JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — All funding was pulled from the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity, according to JCCEO board chairman Gary Richardson.
The JCCEO provides assistance to low-income residents in Jefferson County. Funding for the JCCEO comes from state and federal grants that have now been pulled due to concerns of financial inconsistencies.
After a meeting with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) Tuesday, the 56-year-old agency was asked to surrender all of its remaining state and federal grant funds.
CBS 42 received a statement from ADECA regarding the pulling of funds:
“We are working to identify an entity that has the capability, capacity, staffing and experience to administer these programs so that we can move quickly to serve the residents of Jefferson County. While that entity does not have to be based in Jefferson County, all funds for these programs will remain dedicated to serving residents in Jefferson County.”The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs
Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson also released a statement in response to the agency losing its funding:
“I am very saddened by the events that lead to JCCEO closing its doors. This is a tragic turn of events for the employees and the citizens that use their services. From home weatherization to bill payment assistance to childcare, these are just a few of their services that JCCEO’s clients will have to look to other resources to assist them. I encourage their clients to act now, do not wait until the last minute to start looking into their next steps. It hurts my heart that the citizens that really need the services and the employees that will suffer from this negligence.
adds that she plans to work with federal and local partners to minimize the impact the closing of JCCEO will have on the residents of Jefferson County.Commissioner Sheila Tyson
Senator Rodger Smitherman also commenting about the impact this news has.
“Now, we’re dealing with a tornado. It’s not rain this is a tornado,” Smitherman said.
He believes despite the organization failing, its up to leaders to find ways to help the public.
“We still need that money. We still need those programs administered. So, this is not just cease the program from existing. Because we need to find someone as soon as possible,” Smitherman said.
Former employee April Dunlap Thompson says not only has the organization helped out thousands in the area, but her own family.
“My 24 year-old son, who just graduated with an electrical engineering degree from Alabama A&M. And my daughter is 16. They were both products of the early head starting program,” Thompson said.
The JCCEO board of directors will meet Wednesday, December 1, to vote to surrender the funds.