DAEOC offices changing, programs facing drastic cuts - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

DAEOC offices changing, programs facing drastic cuts

SCOTT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

Drastic cutbacks force big changes at an agency that helps those who need it the most.

The Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation (DAEOC) is currently restructuring its outreach program. It's all because of a 50% cut in the Federal Community Service Block Grant.

It's a program that drives many of the services DAEOC provides.

Delores Pruitt showed up to the Mississippi County DAEOC office in East Prairie on Wednesday only to find out, it's closed. "I'm very depressed," said Pruitt. 

DAEOC serves six counties in southeast Missouri. The Mississippi County and Stoddard County offices are moving to Scott County.

"I guess I'll have to hitch hike to Sikeston now," said Pruitt. 

The federal government handed down a 50% cut.

"Last year we were over $1 million in funding, this year just over $500,000," said Joel Evans-Chief Operating Officer for DAEOC. 

It forced the corporation to consolidate offices, lay-off workers, and wonder how long money will last for a number of programs like energy assistance.

"This year we will spread the dollars as far as we can, but it will be tough for several years," said Evans. 

Evans says it's especially tough as poverty levels in the bootheel continue to increase. DAEOC last year helped nearly 19,000 people in it's six county service area. Kathern Haley is one them.

"The last few times I came here they said they didn't have money," said Haley. 

Now she'll have to travel from East Prairie to Sikeston.

"This is really bad, there's a lot of people who don't have a way to go or can't get out and go," said Haley.

Joel Evans said, "We're just working to be efficient as we can to spread out those dollars."

Dunklin County residents will continue to be served through the Kennett office, and Pemiscot County residents will continue to be served by the Hayti office.

New Madrid County residents will now be served at an outreach office adjacent to the corporate offices in Portageville.

Again, residents of Scott, Stoddard, and Mississippi Counties will be served from a new location in Sikeston effective Monday, September 12.

All offices will be open 8:00am-4:30pm Monday through Thursday.

DAEOC also provides Head Start programs in all six of those counties, as of now that program is not affected.

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