The Community Action Agency of Blount County, using resources from the Service Block Grant Program or CSBG and other agencies, is involved in helping low income, working poor, and unemployed families. They administer several assistance programs for qualified clients.
While short term financial aid is available, especially in an emergency, the main goal is to provide services and activities to eligible individuals and families in the county so they can regain their footing. Case managers from the community action organization want people to achieve longer term self-sufficiency.
Emergency financial assistance includes onetime payments or the arrangement of a loan to help families or individuals pay for their basic needs. This can be for expenses such as rent or utilities. The agency also has applications on an information for government resource such as the Tennessee Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Feeding the hungry and offering nutrition is also done by Blount County Community Action Agency, or BCCAA. They have centers and pantries that both store and distribute surplus USDA agricultural commodities and groceries to the needy.
When the BCCAA agency can’t help you, staff can provide information and referrals about other available services. They will offer referrals to government benefits, public assistance and other local community programs. This can include things such as health care from linkages to local dentists and the Trinity Health Clinic. Or get help in applying for SNAP food stamps.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is a one time, annual grant for paying utility and heating bills. There is also the Energy Crisis intervention component which offers services to households that are faced with to life-threatening conditions or a crisis if they were to lose their power.
Aid is for Blount County Tennessee residents that are living below 150% Federal Poverty Guidelines. However all money paid out is first come and served, and funding from LIHEAP is limited. The Blount County Community Action Agency, working with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, will focus on seniors, the disabled, and homes with children.
Emergency Energy Assistance Programs are other options in a crisis. This is one time, crisis help with paying utility bills. The aid is provided from funding sources that are partners of BCCAA. Funding sources include the local utility company programs such as Share the Warmth and also federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program.
Employment assistance is for the under and unemployed in Blount County Tennessee. They can into job training. The agency will assist in other ways too such as by offering gas cards to help them seek out employment, attend work or job interviews.
The Office on Aging is a key partner. This service is funded through the Older Americans Act and provides programs to seniors in Blount County Tennessee. They can get help in the form of advocacy, Information on available resources for seniors via office visits, telephone and the Senior Service Directory, SMiles volunteer senior transportation program, Homemaker services for frail, low-income elderly, and outreach.
The Weatherization program will make free energy efficiency improvements to homes or residences of eligible low-income households. It will help them offset their heating bills and cooling consumption. It is well known that weatherizing for the long-term helps reduce a residents utility bills year after year, so the savings build up. The Blount County Community Action Agency runs the program locally using grants from the federal government as well as the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.
A few different food program are run, including Meals on Wheels as well as the Commodity Food Distribution. More details are below.
Low cost food is offered from Meals on Wheels. Volunteers from the agency provide a nutritious midday meal to Blount County Tennessee residents over the age of 60. The aid is for those that are confined to their homes and unable to prepare meals for themselves. The Blount County Community Action Agency and their Senior Nutrition department oversee Meals on Wheels. If you know someone that needs help, then please notify the agency in this case too.
Congregate Meals are served at sites throughout the county. Locations include Louisville Community Center, Broadway Towers, the First United Methodist Church in Maryville as well as Friendsville, First United Methodist Church. Call (865) 983- 8411 for more details or locations/hours.
Commodity Food Distribution is for very low income and poor households. They can get help up to 4 times per year. A typical distribution from Blount County Community Action Agency (BCAA) provides up to 40-45 pounds of free food to a household. The boxes given to them may have powdered milk, rice, beans, peanut butter, soup, nuts, spaghetti, canned fruits and vegetables, dried fruit and more.
House and Home Repair is available from loans or maybe even grants. They are intended to bring residences into compliance with the International Building Code. This enables people, including seniors and the disabled, to stay in their homes and remain independent.
Call (865) 983-8411 to reach the Blount County Community Action Agency. Or their office is at 3509 Tuckaleechee Pike.
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