OCO Reaching Out To Those In Need

Submitted article

Nearly 13 million children in the United States live in families with income below the federal poverty level of $24,000 for a family of four.

In actuality, research shows that an average family of 4 needs an income of twice the federal poverty level, or $48,000 a year, to make ends meet. Any family below this level is considered to be low-income – nation wide this means that 39% or 28 million children live in low-income families. In NYS, 14.2% of people live in poverty.

How does this translate to Oswego County? Based on the most recent US Census data, 22.9% of children and 18.5% of families in Oswego County live at or below the poverty level. Living in a low-income or impoverished household effects more than just the wallet. Individuals and families may struggle with maintaining housing, keeping enough food on their table, supporting children in school and obtaining regular health care and healthy relationships.

The good news is that OCO, Inc. reaches out to thousands of resilient individuals and families struggling to make ends meet and who are looking to make a better life for themselves and their families.

OCO, Inc. was designated as the county’s anti-poverty agency in 1966 and has been addressing the complex issues of poverty ever since through over 50 programs and services. In 2007, OCO worked with over 24,000 county residents of all ages, from infants to senior citizens, to provide services ranging from health care, day care and meals for seniors, to housing, after-school activities and transportation.

The people OCO service show a determination and strength that must be admired and supported. OCO programs focus on the strengths of individuals and families and as result, thousands of children and adults have enhanced their skills to help them achieve a safe place to live, a stable family, and a physical and mentally healthy life.

OCO provides many programs to children, youth and family including crisis intervention, domestic violence services, early childhood education and after school programming, parenting education, health care and education, runaway and homeless youth services, job training, mentoring and housing.

In 2007, OCO, Inc.:

Reached out and provided information to 1,164 young people “hanging out on the streets” in Oswego County
Provided protection from violence to 512 people
Assisted 215 parents with improving their parenting skills
Reunited 70 runaway youth with their families
Provided job training and support to 32 people
Provided productive after-school activities for 1,218 young people
Linked 29 at-risk youth with an adult mentor

If you would like to find out more about programs for youth and families through OCO, Inc., please call 598-4717 or check out OCO’s website at oco.org

OCO is a non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966.  OCO is a United Way of Greater Oswego County member agency.