The nation is made up of a network of Community Action Agencies that work to alleviate the affects of poverty. Fifty years ago, the Wabash Area Economic Opportunity Association was formed in Wabash County. While you may never have heard of WAEOA, if you have lived in Wabash County for any length of time, you probably are very familiar with what WAEOA evolved into over the years, Wabash Area Development, Inc.
WADI is a private not-for-profit Community Action Agency that was organized in 1965 by a group of concerned citizens in Wabash County. In 1966 WADI expanded to include Edwards, Hamilton, Wayne, and White Counties. In 1981, Gallatin and Saline Counties were added. WADI currently employs approximately 108 staff, with 10 of those working out of the Wabash County Office.
But what does WADI do? In Wabash County, we help low income households pay their heating bills with the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. During the past winter season, over $281,000 was pumped back into the local economy thru LIHEAP alone. We weatherize many of those same homes thru the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program, which ultimately lowers heating costs for low-income households. Qualifying Ameren customers may apply for heating assistance with the Percentage of Income Payment Plan or the Warm Neighbors/Cool Friends program. WADI helps with rental assistance thru a variety of programs, including the Emergency Solutions Grant, the Emergency Food and Shelter Homeless Prevention Program, local donations, and Wabash County Ministerial Alliance Funds. We help the homeless thru the Emergency Transitional Housing Assistance Program and with rapid re-housing thru the Emergency Solutions Grant. An average of 200 households each month access the Emergency Food Pantry.
Thru the Workforce Investment Act, we help low income adults, dislocated workers, and out of school youth go to college, as well as help with job searches, writing resumes and cover letters. Working in conjunction with the Wabash County Ministerial Alliance, we provide school supplies, Thanksgiving meals, Christmas meals, and Christmas toys for hundreds of Wabash County Residents.
Head Start Services are a vital part of the services provided by WADI. In Wabash County, 30 children attend our Head Start Center, and 24 children are served thru our home base program. WADI is currently taking applications for children from birth thru age five, as well as pregnant moms for Head Start.
Wabash Area Development, Inc. Improving lives, serving communities, and making a difference for 50 years and counting.