Supporting Bossier, Claiborne, Union, Morehouse and Webster parish, low income families can turn to the Bossier Office of Community Services. The community action type agency serves a regional non-profit for those that are less fortunate. While resources are very limited, and they rely heavily on government grants, a focus of the financial aid tends to be for families with young children, senior citizens, or the disabled.
They process applications for several federal government and state of Louisiana programs. The primary services include Head Start, LIHEAP utility bill assistance, emergency food, and weatherization. However other support may be provided as well, including case management and job training type resources.
Early Head Start is for children under the age of 3, infants, and pregnant mothers. The other option is Head Start, which is for children that range in age from 3-5. Bossier Office of Community Services program provides children with early education services, health and mental care, free food, and other social services.
Teachers and social workers that are part of Early Head Start are also coordinating with organizations providing early intervention for infants and toddlers with disabilities. For those that need it, transportation can be arranged in parishes such as Bossier, Morehouse, or Union.
Parents can gain access to information and social services as part of this as well. This includes prenatal education and parenting classes for pregnant women, comprehensive health care, information on job training, and access to government benefits, such as WIC.
The utility programs from community action agencies in Louisiana include weatherization as well as cash grants from LIHEAP. This federal government backed programs can pay a small portion of the electric or cooling bills of people whose electricity has been or is at risk of being disconnected. Some customers may be provided a credit on their account.
The LIHEAP electric bill payment assistance programs have income, age, disability, need or other eligibility requirements. Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis. The Office of Community Services gives priority to households with members over 60 years of age, those with children age five and the disabled. All funds for paying utility bill are also limited as well, and many people will not qualify or funds will run out.
Weatherization is focused on improving the energy conservation and efficiency of the homes of low income families, including seniors or the disabled. The community action agency and its contractors can provide for a number of home updates, including low-flow showerheads, water heater blankets, caulking, weather-stripping, and many others.
The end result is also a safer and healthier home. This is achieved from the result of minor home repairs and other updates to the home. Mainly due to limited government funding, priority is for households with members who are disabled, elderly and/or have children.
Some housing support may be available in parishes such as Bossier, Claiborne, Morehouse, Union and others. This can include limited rent payment assistance for people facing eviction. Some clients may be provided a loan for this. The community action agency will also try to coordinate payments for security deposits for the currently homeless. Other housing in the Louisiana region, often provided by partners, includes shelters, transitional housing, or low income apartments.
Emergency food is available from Bossier Office of Community Services as well as regional pantries. Case managers can also help very low income families apply for government benefits such as SNAP food stamps. Another option for new mothers and infants is WIC, which may be able to help families pay for formula.
Other programs in the parishes include CSBG Emergency Rent and Prescriptions; Transportation; Information and Referral; as well as General Counseling. The Bossier Office of Community Services is located at 700 Benton Road, Bossier City, Louisiana 71111. Call the non-profit at (318) 747-1045.
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