Those facing poverty or that meet low income guidelines can turn to the Central Savannah River Area Economic Opportunity Authority. The non-profit is one of the regions leading anti-poverty organizations and can provide residents with both long term support and information on emergency financial aid. They offer assistance in the Georgia counties of Bulloch, Burke, Columbia, Emanuel, Glascock, Jefferson, Jenkins, Lincoln, McDuffie, Richmond, Screven, Taliaferro, Warren, and Wilkes.
A federally-funded program that may be able to help low-income households and the working poor with paying their home energy bills is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. Any aid is limited and offered on a first come and served basis. Grants from LIHEAP can help families stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It can improve the overall health a safety of a home as well.
Energy conservation is provided from the Weatherization Assistance Program. This can offer free savings and conservation measures to income eligible households in the region. It is offered in all of the counties, including Richmond and Columbia. The program prioritizes low-income people, especially the elderly and families with young children.
Housing and rent assistance is offered by the Central Savannah River Area Economic Opportunity Authority. The non-profit can offer subsidized housing, shelter and other support services to homeless families in the region. The goal is to help them achieve self sufficiency and find permanent housing.
Some emergency rental assistance may be offered at the Neighborhood Service Centers. See below. Staff will work with clients to prevent an eviction and may provide landlord mediation as well.
The Shelter Plus Care Program is for families and individuals with disabilities. They can also gain support services, possible funds for paying rent, and more. There are also government benefit programs for the disabled in Georgia.
The families who are able to qualify for any of the services listed above are provided transitional housing, case management, information on job training and other supportive services for up to 24 months. This gives them time to achieve economic self-sufficiency, gain access to permanent housing, and maybe apply for financial support, such as section 8 or security deposit programs. Other supportive services that are included with these housing programs include transportation, childcare, employment assistance, life skills, etc. Most families are referred for the housing programs from local social service agencies and homeless shelters.
Emergency financial assistance may be obtained from Neighborhood Service Centers. The CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority, Inc's locations try to meet urgent needs of low-income individuals and families. Some of what may be available includes eviction prevention, free food, utility bill assistance, landlord mediation, personal care items, and resource locating/referrals. If the location can’t meet your needs, then staff members from the non-profit coordinate and establish links to social service programs and public aids to help assure effective delivery of services for the low-income population.
Prescription assistance and vouchers may also be offered from Central Savannah River Area Economic Opportunity Authority (CSRA EOA, Inc). The non-profit provides free or low cost medications for low income, uninsured participants who meet certain pharmaceutical company and agency guidelines.
Education, health care, and food is provided from the Head Start Program. This will provide professional comprehensive quality educational services to preschool children, infants, and others. Their families and parents can also benefit from social services and other government aid.
Current homeowners or first time buyers have resources available to them. Anyone looking to purchase a home in the service territory, including Richmond, Warren, or Columbia County, may explore these programs.
The Way Home is a form of matched savings program. This particular resource will provide those who qualify matching grants on the money they save. All funds will need to be used to pay for a home purchase or closing costs. This is available in Burke, Columbia, Richmond, McDuffie, Warren, and Wilkes counties.
The Central Savannah River Area Economic Opportunity Authority provides counseling from Home Ownership Planning Education, or HOPE. This can include free foreclosure prevention, home buyer education workshops, and financial literacy/budgeting classes.
Foreclosure counseling is offered by specialists and HUD approved counselors. They can assist homeowners in Georgia that are in danger of foreclosure due to delinquent mortgage payments or financial crisis, such as a job loss. The agency will coordinate free one-on-one sessions with the borrower. Together you can explore the reasons for default, conduct a budget analysis with the homeowner, verify arrears, and staff can serve as a liaison between the homeowner, their loan servicer and their mortgage company in attempt to resolve the delinquency. Also get assistance in applying for workout options (such as home loan modifications) and look into financial assistance through resources such as HomeSafe Georgia.
One-on-One Pre-Purchase Counseling and Home Buyer Education Workshops are held in the region, including Burke, Richmond, and Screven. These sessions will provide advice and help families that are about to buy a home.
Another option is the Financial Literacy/Budgeting/Credit Counseling. The non-profit community action agency can offer individual computer curriculums, educational workshops, debt reduction, and 1:1 budget counseling to assist persons in becoming more aware of financial matters.
Additional Foreclosure Prevention Programs can assist homeowners in working with their bank or mortgage lender for modifications and other workout options. Examples of these workout options and solutions can include repayment plans, loan modification, special forbearance, deed-in-lieu, and short sales.
The main Central Savannah River Area Economic Opportunity Authority office is at 1261 Greene St., Augusta, GA 30901. Call 800.890.0493.
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