Families across the Point Coupee, Avoyelles, and Evangeline parish region of Louisiana can get help from the Avoyelles Progress Action Committee. While resources are limited, the not for profit community action agency supports seniors, the unemployed, and low income families and partners with them on their path to stability and self-sufficiency.
The organization is part of the nationwide network of community action centers and they offer a number of assistance programs to qualified residents. They range from energy type services (including LIHEAP and weatherization) to free food, referrals and education, such as Head Start.
LIHEAP, or the Home Energy Assistance Program, is a government grant program that is for qualified low income households. It can help them pay their utilities, and is often combined with weatherization services noted below. It will help reduce the burden of home energy bills for residents of Avoyelles Parish in Louisiana. For those that qualify for this annual program, cash payments are made directly to energy suppliers and Louisiana based utility companies.
Free food, groceries, and nutritional support is part of the Needy Family Food Distribution Program. This special project from Avoyelles Progress Action Committee provides residents with access to surplus food products. Some examples of the commodities distributed from pantries and local non-profits include canned goods, surplus rice, pudding, raisins, formula, dry beans, and honey that have accumulated in local food banks and/or federal government warehouses.
Energy conservation from weatherization will help provide enhancements to homes in the region. The Avoyelles Progress Action Committee administers this. It can offer insulation to sustain homes, reduces the impact of higher fuel costs on low-income families, insures them against harsh weather conditions, with a focus on the elderly and handicapped in parishes such as Evangeline. Some of the improvement activities include caulking installing storm windows, installing insulation, adding weather stripping, and other improvements to save money and conserve energy.
Avoyelles Progress Action Committee administers the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) in the area. This is a poverty fighting resource. Funds for the program are received as a result of this sub grant. They may be used only for reasonable costs in support of anti-poverty resources, such as education, job training, housing, and case management. Not only can direct financial aid be offered as part of this, but there may also be some loan programs for certain needs, such as rent or other housing costs. The Louisiana Department of Labor is a key partner in this endeavor.
Head Start is a child development program. It arranges assistance for young children, including pre-school three, four and five year olds. They need to be from low-income families in the region, including the parishes of Point Coupee and Evangeline. Head Start is federally funded and it consists of several different components, including Health, Education, Food / Nutrition, Social Services, Programs for the Disabled, and transportation to a center. There are locations in Cottonport, Mansura, Simmesport, and other nearby towns.
For those preschool children and their families whose income falls below the Federal Income guidelines, they may be qualified for Head Start. It also supports the disabled and parents can also get support from it too, such as referrals to job placement organizations. A number of teachers and staff from local schools and the community action agency support the program.
It involves both the child and the parent and it can provide them access to a variety of educational activities. The children who enroll can also receive free dental and medical care, indoor activities, and healthy nutritious meals and snacks. The goal is to get the child on the path to success at still an early age.
Additional food may be offered by the Child and Adult Care Food Program. This is for both seniors in the region as well as children that are enrolled in Head Start. Pregnant mothers may also receive support, such as formula.
The community action agency is based at 641 Government Street, Marksville, Louisiana 71351. Call (318)-253-9590 for more information on their programs and services. Referrals to other emergency financial support or government benefits may be available as well.
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