Family Empowerment Self-Sufficiency Project


Family Empowerment Self-Sufficiency Project (FESS)


Southeastern Community & Family Services believes that when a family moves above poverty, they are empowered and become strong, capable members of society, not only coming off of public assistance, but also contributing to the economy.

Funded through the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), the Family Empowerment Self- Sufficiency (FESS) project works with families to determine their individual and family strengths, needs, and visions for the future.  Participants in this program have moved from poverty to self-sufficiency; many became gainfully employed and receiving medical benefits from their employer; many have completed educational or job training, and; many have purchased homes. 

To be eligible for our FESS program, the family yearly income must be below the poverty income guidelines published annually by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (click here for 2020-22 guidelines). To determine eligibility, a 90-day look back period is used to annualize the annual income of the household. Participants in FESS must be willing and able to work, demonstrate a willing-ness to work closely with the assigned Case Manager to determine their goals and work out their own plan of action for attaining them. The FESS program focus is to assist with helping remove obstacles that prevent our enrollees from obtaining the employment and educational skills needed to become self-sufficient. FESS, also assist with obtaining standard housing, and helping individuals become first time home-buyers is a goal of the program.

ENROLL NOW! To apply for this program or for more information, you may contact the following case managers, centers, or for a faster response, please complete our online application (located here), download and save to your computer or phone, and email to the following: for Robeson, Scotland, and Hoke counties – Melinda McKoy,; for Columbus, Brunswick, Bladen, and Pender counties – Sarah Shipman, You may need Adobe Acrobat Reader DC to complete the form. You can download here.

For additional information, please contact the centers and case managers directly at:

Brunswick Center:             Regina McLendon (910) 827-2403 Email: or

                                          Jerry Merrick (910) 520-5509 Email:

Elizabethtown Center:       Donnesha McKenzie  (910) 885-3532  Email:      

Lumberton Center:            Sheila Dunlap  (910) 885-3520  Email:

Hoke Center:                     Beatrice Sams  (910) 827-2871  Email:

Pender Center:                  Corinthian Simpson  (910) 885-3553 Email:

Red Springs Center:         TeAndrea Hogue (910) 885-3521 Email: or

                                          Melinda McKoy (910) 885-3531 Email:

South Scotland Center:     Shakera Hepburn (910) 827-2843 Email:

Whiteville Center:              Wanda Davis (910) 885-3536 Email: or

                                          Jada Hazley (910) 885-3542 Email:

Thank you!


SCFS Family Pic


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