There are several assistance programs that the Benton Franklin County Community Action Agency Committee is involved with. The demand for support and guidance in Washington is very high, and resources are stretched thin. Only a small number of qualified individuals will be able to receive help for their needs.
The community action agency runs several different government benefits for both Franklin and Washington County. They include Head Start, meals on wheels, and applications for the low income energy assistance grant program. They also oversee several of their own, more local programs. These can include things such as emergency rental assistance, eviction prevention, food, and utility and housing deposit programs for the homeless.
The Head Start Program can help children under the age of 6. Educational services, food, medical checkups, and more is available. The goal is to prepare the child for future growth and development. Parents of the child can also get on local Benton County area agencies that provide Vocational Training, ABE, GED, ESL classes and other social services.
BFCA arranges learning and educational activities for children to prepare them to both start school and promote overall child development. The non-profit agency also offers hearing, medical tests and vision screening. Or their parents, whether they have insurance or not, can get assistance in obtaining dental, medical, and maybe even mental health care.
Educational services include the Adult Literacy Program. This arranges for tutoring sessions for adults to learn to write, read and maybe solve basic math. There is also ABE/GED preparation and an onsite Family Self-Sufficiency Center.
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is for the disabled, either physical or mental. The state and community services provides assistance in preparation for, retaining and obtaining a job.
The Community Action Committee also provides GED preparation in Benton County. There are also various education classes, job training, and referrals. Some of this instruction includes home ownership, resume writing skills, computer and interviewing skills, and more, such as free use of computers and internet access.
Eviction prevention is available from the Benton Franklin Community Action Committee. This can include partial rental payments. For those in homeless situations, then there may be funding for security deposits. Some of the housing or rent support may be issued in the form of a loan. There may also be homeless services and free motel vouchers for individuals and families.
Child care is for those that are homeless. The BFCA community action group will try to help homeless families in Benton and Franklin Counties with up to 30 days of free care.
Discounts for phones are part of community action agency Telephone Assistance Program. The savings are for connection fees and monthly rates on your account. Your phone provider needs to agree to this.
The Bateman House is a shelter / low income housing unit for residents that are homeless with substance abuse/disabled diagnoses. They need to be clean and sober for a minimum of 90 days in order to use the facility and the onsite apartments.
Another shelter in the region of Benton is the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission. This is run by a non-profit Christian organization committed to caring for the hurting, hungry and homeless. Free food and meals are served too.
TBRA - Tennant Based Rental Assistance is for families with children in Washington. It is a federal government subsidized rental program and it can pay up to 2 years of rental assistance for qualified families from Benton and other towns. Applicants to Benton Franklin Community Action Committee, or BFCA, must be homeless and meet income guidelines set by TBRA. Case management, funds for deposits, and other financial support is part of this.
Transitional Housing, Operating Rents, or THOR, is another subsidized housing program. It is very similar to TBRA mentioned above. Funds can help pay rent for up to 24 months and offer other support.
The Benton – Franklin Supportive Housing Department offers assistance with locating an apartment or home, placement, and case management for homeless families and individuals. It can help them achieve life sustaining wages and self-sufficiency.
Emergency assistance and basic needs from the Community Services Department is for prescription medications. It is available as a last resort for those with a serious medical condition.
Clothing, including winter coats and diapers, may be available. There are charities that may have free winter coats donated by Burlington Coats or other stores. There are also diapers donated by Tri-City Diaper Bank.
Helping Hands Program from the Community Services Department is a utility bill assistance program. Funds are used to prevent electric and natural gas disconnections and shut offs for customers of participating vendors.
Child care vouchers are from the Department of Social & Health Services (DSHS). The state can help low-income working families pay for day or child care expenses. It is offered so parents can attend training or maintain their jobs. 1-877-501-2233.
Franklin and Benton Legal Aid is a form of free legal assistance. It is available from pro-bono firms for low-incomes persons who would otherwise be denied fair and equal access to the legal system because of the inability to pay for an attorney. All applicants must meet financial guidelines.
WIC, or Woman, Infant & Child Clinic, is a government created special nutritional supplement program for eligible working poor and low income women, infants and children. The program provides vouchers used to pay for nutritious foods and formula. The aid is for pregnant women & children who are financially eligible and determined to have needs met.
SNAP food stamp applications are available too. They are part of the regional Basic Food Education & Outreach Services at the non-profit.
Tri-Cities Food Bank, a key Benton Franklin Community Action Committee partner, will offer up to a week's supply of free groceries. The canned goods or perishables are distributed to needy persons or families as often as once every two weeks.
Low cost Meals on Wheels is for anyone age 60 or older. The agency will offer clients with free home delivered meals for qualified seniors and home-bound participants. In addition to that, group meals are served several local senior centers throughout the Prosser, Tri-Cities and Connell.
A regional Community Health Center or clinic provides the low income and uninsured with low cost health and dental care. Patients can also access other associated medical services in a compassionate, sensitive and fair way. Some bills will be due from patients, and fees for services and prescriptions are due but the amount is based on a sliding scale based on the household income.
SHIBA is a free service for the elderly and disabled in Washington. Staff from Community Action Committee provide guidance and answer questions pertaining to Medicaid, Medicare, SSDI disability or private health insurance.
CFCS - First Steps Program is for pregnant women. It is offered by BFCA for those that are in need of medical care. It will also give them advice and assistance with decision making. Provides help with paying for medical bills, substance abuse problems, pregnancy counseling and transportation needs. This is for pregnant women in Benton or Franklin County who are uninsured.
Pasco Office is located at 710 West Court St., Pasco WA 99301. Phone: (509) 545-4042. Another BFCA center is at 424 6th Street, Prosser, WA 99350, dial (509) 786-3379.
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