Basic needs can be met by an Arizona community action agency at the same time that a client is attending job training or an educational program. The non-profits will offer assistance to low income and struggling individuals so that they can make it through a difficult period. They also offer referrals to resources in the region, and can sometimes be thought of as a safety net for those who are struggling.
The exact type and amount of programs offered by each agency can change by location. Some of the more common resources available in Arizona are below. In general, each location offers case management and counseling as they try to provide some form of financial assistance.
The goal is to help people achieve economic self-sufficiency. So caseworkers will meet with families to understand their hardship or situation. They will then determine the most effective way to help someone obtain the appropriate housing, job, or financial aid. Goals are set by the case managers and agreed upon by the household. The goal is to help the individuals to financially and emotionally stabilize themselves out of a crisis situation. Many of the clients that participate in these program are working poor parents, unemployed, and seniors.
Clothing and household goods/resources may be available. Often times there is a partnership formed with local churches, charities such as the Salvation Army, and other organizations. You will need to call your local agency for any possible assistance. Examples can include back to school and interview clothing, referrals/ links, and community information and referral.
Back to schools supplies and after school programs are offered in some sections of Arizona. Teenagers, students, and lower income families may receive free school uniforms/clothing, backpacks, and school supplies. Some of the programs offered to students can include tutoring and free meals through partnerships with major food banks and school districts.
Grants can be used to pay energy, air conditioning, and utility bills. Assistance is available from local funds as well as government grants such as LIHEAP. Qualified low income residents, seniors, and the disabled may receive financial assistance for paying current utility or cooling bills.
Some of the other utility assistance programs that can be applied for include the Lifeline Telephone Discount Program, LIHEAP, and other Utility Discount Programs that are offered by energy companies in Arizona.
Holiday programs are mostly offered for Christmas, however some centers may have special Easter or Thanksgiving resources. Examples include Kids Sponsorship, a free hot meal program, Thanksgiving meals and more. Services are offered for people of all religions, race, familial circumstance, and religion.
Food resources may be available, often in partnership with regional or national food banks. Other similar nutritional support can be offered to senior citizens and the elderly from Meals on Wheels or congregate meal sites. Or look into, and get help applying for, government benefits such as food stamp assistance.
The Arizona Weatherization Program is helping low to moderate income homeowners save money and reduce energy use. Many seniors and disabled benefit from this federal government paid for program. The energy conservation program not only benefits eligible low income homeowners but also helps the nation by reducing negative impacts on the environment and the program will help conserve natural resources. Some typical weatherization measures, which are done for free, include repair or replace of water heaters, installing energy efficient light bulbs, air conditioner tune ups, and adding insulation and smoke alarms.
A focus of community action agencies is on preventing and stopping homelessness in the community. So rental assistance, eviction prevention, and mortgage help may be offered.
Families that are behind on their rent and facing eviction may be able to apply for a number of services. Case managers can direct people to rental assistance programs. Specialists may be able to offer landlord/tenant mediation services as well. Applicants who are found to be qualified may receive grants to be used for paying deposits on their new apartment or rental home. Or money may be offered to pay an arrearage.
As noted, the objective of financial assistance services in Arizona is prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless. Or if you were already evicted, the resources can help those who are experiencing homelessness to be quickly re-housed and stabilized. The funds under this program are intended to target individuals and families who would be homeless but not for this assistance. The funds will provide for a variety of assistance including: short-term rental assistance and housing relocation and stabilization services, including such potential activities as mediation, credit counseling, security or utility deposits, utility payments, moving cost assistance, and case management.
If someone has a short term crisis, such as a one time, unexpected bill to pay, then mortgage assistance may be offered in Arizona from a community action agency. The region has been hit hard by the housing crisis, so if a partial mortgage payment may help prevent homelessness or foreclosure, then this may be provided.
Get information on your rights when it comes to housing discrimination from the Fair Housing Amendments Act. This law makes it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of a tenants or homeowners race, color, handicap, national origin, or religion. The act covers all real estate needs and issues, including the sale or rental of housing, bank lending, insurance, appraisals, and mortgage origination. Learn about non-profit and pro bono law firms in Arizona that can advise you on your rights.
In addition to the rent and homeless prevention services indicated above, some of the other housing specific resources include Emergency Home Repairs, which are mostly for seniors and the elderly.
Also available in Arizona from the centers tend to be services such as the Section 8/HUD Housing Services, referrals, Head Start applications, and Economic Development Programs, and programs for seniors from the local Area Agency on Aging.
Individuals who either need help finding a job or attending training may be able to receive support from a local community action agency. Usually the first step is meeting with a case worker for a career assessment. The unemployed and clients may be able to get help in assessing their skills, interests, and values. They can then research potential occupations and job openings in Arizona as well. Most non-profits can also provide linkages and referrals to training and education, outlook, job banks, headhunters, etc. This service will people get valuable information in their job search and career development.
Workforce Investment Act is the umbrella name for a number of services that are provided at local agencies. Individualized case management and career planning is offered which can provide job placement. What that means, and some examples of what may be provided, are as follows.
Many centers will have an onsite fully equipped resource room for clients to use for their job search activities. For example, candidates can use a telephone for making appointments, computers/typewriters for completing employment applications and resumes. They can also gain access to local, state of Arizona and regional job bank and more.
After the assessment is complete, the next step may be job readiness training. This involves customizing your application and resume to fit the employment opportunity. Get help creating an application, cover letters and/or resumes. Also get a significant amount of referrals/follow up services, and learn how to be successful after you get the job. Read more Arizona job training programs.
Many people need help paying for transportation, gasoline or employment supplies. So some community action agencies may be able to provide, or refer you to, support services in Arizona. This can include affordable child care, free work clothing, transportation needs, and medical/dental/vision checkups. Occasionally bus passes or free gasoline vouchers may be offered if you need it for an interview.
Resume Writing Labs can instruct candidates and job seekers on how to use the computer to write and format your resume. Receive feedback on it as well, and use the lab for ongoing maintenance and updates.
Classes on computer basics are offered. Considering that most job searches are computerized these days, and how many Arizona employers require candidates to have strong computer skills, many community agencies have added a beginner's computer class. Students can learn the basics of using the computer, such as creating an excel spreadsheet, using the mouse, cutting and pasting, applications like Microsoft Word, and more.
Head Start is for children ages zero to about 5 years of age whose family incomes meet established federal government guidelines. This program will prepare children for school, and also help them meet their health and nutritional needs. Parents can also benefit from this resource, as social workers can help them find a job and attend parenting classes and workshops.
The Arizona Individual Development Accounts (IDA) is a matched savings account. Qualified participants who save money will have their funds matched by the IDA program. It will help families save money for the purchase of a home, small business ownership, job training or education. Most clients will also need to attend credit counseling and budget workshops as a condition to IDA.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is offered by IRS-trained volunteers. They will, at no cost to the client, electronically prepare and file your income tax returns. The specialists will help ensure you receive all credits that you may be entitled to.
Other financial education and management includes budget counseling, credit repair, and home owner education. Getting control of finances is critical to gaining long term stability and success.
Various other safety net and case management type services are administered. Community action agencies will offer advice, guidance, and support, and all of it is done while they integrate financial assistance for the working poor and others. The non-profit agencies do an effective job of filling in services gaps so that critical needs can be met. If a center can’t help you, they may be able to provide linkage to resources that otherwise would be inaccessible.
Some of the community services, referrals, and applications for public assistance include the following. Get applications, and help applying for, aid such as Food Stamps, public health insurance programs, Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF), and AZSecure.
City of Phoenix - Human Services Department
Address is 200 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85003
Can help people apply for a number of public and government assistance programs, such as food stamps and TANF. This is a leading organization for the unemployed and low income families to call for information. Learn more on the services from Phoenix Arizona community action agency.
Coconino County Community Services Department
2625 N. King Street
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
Telephone number is (928) 679-7425
Community Action Human Resources Agency – Pinal County
Address: 109 N. Sunshine Boulevard
Eloy, AZ 85131
Call (520) 466-1112 for intake.
Gila County Community Action
5515 S. Apache Avenue, Suite 200
Globe, AZ 85501
Glendale Community Action Program
5949 W. Northern Avenue, Suite 205
Glendale, AZ 85301
Phone – (623) 930-2854. To find more information on programs, click here.
Maricopa County Human Services Department
Location is 234 N. Central Ave., Suite 3000
Phoenix, AZ 85004-2208
Qualified clients can get referrals to a number of services. Basic needs such as food and shelter are coordinated with local non-profit community action agencies. Some housing assistance may include emergency rental assistance, loans for paying housing needs, deposits, or information on foreclosure counseling. Federal LIHEAP assistance and weatherization may be available too, along with other resources. Read more Maricopa Human Services.
Mesa Community Action Network (MesaCAN)
Address - 868 E. University Drive
Mesa, Arizona 85203
Services offered include foreclosure counseling, LIHEAP applications, and job programs. Call to speak to a case manager to learn about assistance programs offered. Shelter and other housing solutions are offered by the community action agency. Read more MesaCAN.
Northern Arizona Council of Government
Main address - 119 E. Aspen Avenue
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Telephone: (928) 774-1895
Covers Apache, Navajo, Yavapai, and Coconino County. They help seniors in Arizona as part of the Agency on Aging Network, administer loans for home repairs or paying other bills such as rent, and the non-profit agency offer services from the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Click here.
Pima County Community Action Agency
Address - 2797 E. Ajo Way, 3rd Floor
Tucson, AZ 85713
Much of the aid is part of their Emergency Services Network of non-profit Providers. Learn more.
Southeastern Arizona Community Action Program, Inc.
283 W. 5th Street
Safford, AZ 85546
Telephone: (928) 428-4653
Supports the low income in the Southeast portion of the state, including Cochise, Graham, Santa Cruz, and Greenlee. They coordinate WIA job placement, Head Start child care, and more. Continue with the Community Action Agency of Southeastern Arizona.
Western Arizona Council of Governments
Main address - 224 South 3rd Avenue
Yuma, Arizona 85364
Telephone number is (928) 782-1886
The non-profit for Yuma, LaPaz, and Mohave County. Programs available include information on Head Start and job training. Or look into financial help from the Western Council for needs such as rent, security and utility bill deposits, or information on medical care. A number of other homeless and eviction prevention services may be offered by referral too, along with food aid. Read Western Arizona Council of Governments.
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