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Latest News


Dec. 8, 2014: Ohio woman kicked off welfare for not reporting she was in a coma

Advocates for the poor in Ohio say that a several-year-old effort to impose strict work requirements on state welfare and food stamp recipients has led to thousands of families losing aid.


Dec. 3, 2014: Ohio S.B. 382 will improve the lives of poor non-custodial parents

Ohio’s Senate Bill 382 would, for the first time, guarantee a standard of living of at least the poverty level for non-custodial parents. Jack Frech, our Director, voiced his support for this Senate Bill in a letter sent to every Ohio senator last week, with the request that the same provision be extended to the children and their caretakers.


Dec. 1, 2014: Campaign shines spotlight on poor during holidays

Members of the faith community have joined housing and human-services advocates in showing the toll the "low-wage economy" is having on individuals and families across the state, according to a press release. The new effort can be found at


Nov. 17, 2014: Bus route expansion to include Chauncey, Rt. 13

An Athens city bus route expansion, made possible through a state grant and matching dollars from our agency and the city of Athens, will for the first time offer regular public transit in the village of Chauncey and along Route 13, further connecting riders to an already robust public transit system.


Oct. 31, 2014: More Ohioans turning to food pantries, study shows

More than 1 in 6 Ohioans — more than 2 million people — don’t have enough to eat and turn to pantries for food each year, according to a new report, “Hunger in Ohio 2014.” The study, released yesterday by the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, showed a 40 percent jump in the number of people seeking help from four years ago.


Sept. 16, 2014: HAPCAP taking applications for State HEAP, PIPP Plus

Eligible households for the State Home Energy Assistance Program may receive a one-time benefit that can be credited towards a main heating source.

PIPP Plus requires regulated gas and/or electric companies to accept payments based on a percentage of the household income for customers who meet income guidelines.

Sept. 6, 2014: Poverty in Athens Co.: OU students impact percentage

A recent study showing Athens County with the highest percentage of low-to-moderate income residents in the entire state is deeply affected students at Ohio University. Off-campus students indeed skew the numbers, showing a major increase in poverty levels throughout the area.


Sept. 7, 2014: Poverty in Athens Co.: What can/should be done?

In this second of a two-part series, Director Jack Frech helps explain the challenges the county continues to face in its battle against poverty.


Aug., 18, 2014: Advocates say food stamps work requirements violate Civil Rights Act   Several poverty advocacy organizations challenged the Kasich administration's move to restrict access to food stamps in most Ohio counties, saying it disproportionately affected poor minorities. Find the full complaint here.

Aug.16, 2014: Editorial: Streamlining delivery of human services is critical for Ohio's poor  An editorial from the Cleveland Plain Dealer states that Ohio's range of welfare programs resembles a row of silos. Each caches valuable services. But each stands alone. Both for welfare clients and Ohio's budget managers, that kind of architecture guarantees problems.


July 28, 2014: Ohio employs nearly 2,400 in new welfare-to-work program
After a slow start, a $66 million state effort to help welfare recipients find jobs and move off public assistance is picking up steam, according to a recent article in the Columbus Dispatch.


July 23, 2014: Fewer people getting public assistance even as poverty rises
The Columbus Dispatch reports that despite rising poverty, the number of Ohioans receiving public assistance continues to drop, raising questions about how the state helps the poor.


July 15, 2014: How the stress of too little income changes the way people think
Being poor is stressful. That's no big surprise. In a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, 1 in 3 people making less than $20,000 a year said they'd experienced "a great deal of stress" in the previous month. And of those very stressed-out people, 70 percent said that money problems were to blame.


June 18, 2014: Cutting the Poor Out of Welfare
Over the past three decades, Congress has conducted a major experiment in anti-poverty policy. Legislators have restructured benefits and tax breaks intended for the poor so that they penalize unmarried, unemployed parents — the modern day version of the “undeserving poor.” At the same time, working parents, the aged and the disabled are getting larger benefits.


June 11, 2014: Elder Abuse Awareness Day set for June 13 in Athens County
Athens County Commissioners officially proclaimed June 13, 2014, Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Athens County, a day that serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations and communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders.


June 4, 2014: State's proposed bonuses for welfare workers a "slap in the face"
The state will tap welfare funds to pay bonuses to caseworkers who help the most people find a job and get off public assistance.

“It’s a slap in the face of caseworkers,” Jack Frech said of the program. Frech is the director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services. “They (lawmakers) have this perception that there are all these good-paying jobs out there and caseworkers aren’t telling (welfare recipients) about them.”

May 30, 2014: Change in food stamp distribution causing problems for poor
A decision by the state to stagger the dates that food stamps are provided is causing hardships for recipients, according to Jack Frech, executive director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services.


May 14, 2014: Director urges legislators to assure basic human needs are met

The state’s safety net programs have not been meeting poor Ohioans’ basic needs due to drastic changes in state and federal policies, explained Jack Frech, director of Athens County Job and Family Services. Repressive work policies and benefit reductions have resulted in a loss of more than $570 million a year from the poorest families and the poorest communities in the state, he wrote in testimony he presented Wednesday.


May 9, 2014: Medicaid expands to serve more; enrollment clinic slated for May 20

Thanks to the Medicaid expansion that went into effect on January 1, more low-income people are now eligible for free medical services.


May 7, 2014: Low-wage jobs proliferate as middle class ones disappear

Lower-wage jobs have continued to proliferate since the Great Recession, as the economy creates fewer of the mid-wage jobs that have for generations been the backbone of the middle class, according to a new report.


April 23, 2014: America’s hunger crisis, and why Washington ignores it

There’s the 99% and the 1%, and then there’s the 16%. The latter number is the proportion of Americans who don’t have enough food to eat, according to the most recent figures on food insecurity.


April 22, 2014: Support HB 395
House Bill 395 would require ODJFS to apply to the USDA and accept the federal waiver of time limits for certain SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp) recipients. Unemployed adults without dependents between 18-50 years of age who are unable to secure at least 20 hours of paid employment per week are losing their food stamp benefits, and it doesn't have to happen. HB 395 would compel the State of Ohio to accept a federal waiver, restoring the last line of defense against hunger to thousands of needy Ohioans.

April 15, 2014: What if Wal-Mart paid its employees more?
The Marketplace Wealth & Poverty Desk and Slate report on how much more Wal-Mart might have to charge for some products, if it raised wages high enough that a typical worker earned too much to qualify for food stamps.


April 1, 2014: A Region Reflects: LBJ in Southeast Ohio - 50th Anniversary
The community is invited to the “A Region Reflects” gathering, a two-day event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s visit to southeastern Ohio. Director Jack Frech will speak on three panel discussions on Friday, in Ohio University's McCracken Hall (Patton College of Education). Each of the panels will cover eight thematic tracks relating to the region's quality of life.

March 21, 2014: Office proposed for JFS to better coordinate benefit programs
The Kasich administration has proposed a new office for the Department of Jobs and Family Services whose efforts could ultimately help case workers at the county level spend more time with clients.

March 10, 2014: Smokers may pay for Kasich’s tax cut

The overwhelming majority of data show that most of Ohio’s smokers are poor. They pay little or no income tax, so they would pay more for their smokes but benefit little from the proposed income-tax cut.

“It’s bad news for poor people, that’s for sure,” said Jack Frech, director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services, which is in one of Ohio’s poorest areas. “Let me say, no one should be smoking cigarettes. It’s unhealthy, and no one should smoke. But poor people are not going to be able to turn on a dime and stop smoking because (the state) raises the prices.”

March 7, 2014: What is the SNAP work requirement?

Not entirely clear on what the SNAP work requirement is? Check out this video created by The Center for Community Solutions for an explanation. Still have questions? Leave a comment below.


March 7, 2014: Who is dependant on welfare?

Are we all on welfare? Ananya Roy, professor at the University of California Berkeley, takes a critical look at government dependence in our society and comes to some surprising conclusions. Click through to watch her video to learn more about welfare and entitlements in the United States and their impact on poverty, power and economic inequality.


March 5, 2014: Guardians needed to help area senior citizens
Athens County Job and Family Services, the agency that runs the county’s Adult Protective Services, is seeking volunteers who are able to serve as guardians for individuals 60 years of age and older who are no longer capable of making their own decisions.

Feb. 16, 2014: Style, stances of Ohio's GOP governor evolving

Athens County Job & Family Services Director Jack Frech says Kasich has done more damage than good for the poor.

"The truth is we've thrown 100,000 people, including 60,000 children, off cash assistance, and those people have nothing and they are hungry and many of them are homeless," Frech said. "That's the reality of his policies. I think it's great that the governor's talking about poor people, but his compassion that he expresses does not reflect the reality of his policies."

Jan. 28, 2014: New farm bill a missed opportunity
The new farm bill might prevent new cuts from hitting Ohio, but it did nothing to restore recent cuts that already are hurting hard-pressed Ohioans, said Jack Frech, director of the Job and Family Services department in Athens.

Jan. 13, 2014: Many survive solely on food stamps

The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is designed to provide just 75 percent of a household’s nutritional needs. But what happens when it becomes a sole source of income? According to a recent report by the United States Department of Agriculture, that’s the reality for many in Ohio and nationwide. Of Ohio’s 880,000 households that receive SNAP benefits, 185,000 (or 21 percent) had no “earned or unearned” income. Read our agency news release by clicking here.

Jan. 1, 2014: Ohio expands Medicaid
Click here to read about the expanded Medicaid program

Click here to apply online for the expanded Medicaid program

Archived News

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