Unemployment rates are at a historic low in Mississippi. That means people are getting back to work, families are on an upswing, and the economy is growing.
Some people and their families struggle and may need government assistance. That’s why the Mississippi Department of Human Services tries to find the right resources for individuals by taking a family approach.
“We’re trying to help families holistically to find that pathway to success,” said John Davis, Director of the DHS. “There’s such a need to assist those individuals who come into our office besides just determining eligibility for a benefit.”
DHS strives to get people on their feet and finding the resources for training that may best fit the person’s needs. They do that by taking a “braided” approach with other agencies.
“We’re working together, we’re actually taking those programs across agencies and saying ‘how can we help that individual or family together?” Davis said.
One example of that braided model is the work being done for children through the Department of Child Protection Services, which was once a division of DHS.
“Even still, we’re going to continue to work with CPS, to see what we can do together to help the children,” said Davis. “They need more than just a family, they need childcare, education, and transportation for those raising those children.”
From an educational standpoint, DHS is working with the community college board to find educational, vocational, and technical training for individuals who may need it.
“There’s a lot of folks out there who are making $30, $40, $50 dollars an hour, and we can help people get to those jobs,” Davis said.
In the end, the director said the end goal is to have people standing on their own two feet.
“Overall, the goal is self-sufficiency, whether they’re the adult or the child in the household,” said Davis. “No one wants to be dependent on benefits.”