Panhandle Community Services (PCS) has moved from their old offices on 5th Street across from Texan Sky Credit Union to new offices in Ad Rem Town Center I at 801 South Bliss Avenue, Suite 101 B, in Dumas. According to Alma Borunda, program specialist in the Dumas office, all of the services and phone numbers will remain the same. People needing PCS assistance can call 1-855-459-3716 or go to www.pcsvcs.org to schedule an appointment.
One thing that is different is the documentation people have to bring with them. Reacting to changes in the law, PCS has tightened requirements. "We have a new system where we have to verify citizenship (or legal status) and identity," said Borunda. "People have to bring a birth certificate or passport for every member of the family." Non-citizens have to bring proof of legal residence. Everyone still has to bring proof of income.
In addition, everyone has to have a picture identification. "For those 16 years old and under who do not have an ID, we require shot records for them," said Borunda.
The new documentation requirements have caused some problems. "A lot of our clients don't have birth certificates," said Borunda. PCS tries to help. "We have gift cards to help them buy birth certificates so they can get assistance," she said. Birth certificates are available for a fee through the Moore County Clerk's office. For those born in Texas, the process is relatively easy. For these born at home, like many of the elderly, or outside of Texas, obtaining a birth certificate becomes more of a hassle, but Moore County Clerk Brenda McKanna can help. For more information on obtaining a birth certificate, call the Moore County Clerk's office at 806-935-2009.
With the arrival of cold weather in Moore County, heating bills go up, sometimes by more than what people can afford to pay. So, they turn to PCS for help. The PCS utility assistance program has been a vital life-line for many Dumas and Moore County residents. In some years, demand outstrips the supply of money, and the agency is forced to put the utility assistance program on hold until additional state funding can be obtained. This year, Borunda, says, the agency has enough money for the program to last through winter. In addition, PCS will help people with problems they may be having with their heating systems. "As long as they have a heating system in the house, we will have it fixed, or, if it can't be fixed, we will replace it," said Borunda.
Borunda says PCS has seen an increase in the number of people applying for assistance this year. The vast majority are people who are working, but because of the low wages paid by jobs in this area, they, nevertheless have problems paying some of their bills, especially utilities and rents.
Among the services PCS provides, the agency administers the federal rental assistance program formerly known as Section 8. It is now called the Housing Choice Voucher Program, and, according to Borunda, funds are still available and the waiting list for Moore County is still open.
For more information about any of the services PCS provides residents of Dumas and Moore County, call 806-935-5551.