The Georgia counties of Clayton, Fayette, and Henry are supported by the Community Services Authority. They are a leading non-profit organization that is focused on helping the working poor, less fortunate, unemployed, and others in the region. A variety of social services and assistance programs are administered by the agency to help people meet basic needs, with a focus on food, nutrition, shelter, and utilities.
Emergency short term financial assistance is available as part of the Community Support Component. This may have some limited financial aid to address crisis situations for income qualified families and individuals. Some examples of what funds can help with include rent help as a form of eviction prevention, assistance to pay utility bills to stop a disconnection, foreclosure prevention and of course food. Rehousing may be offered in the form of working with a case manager on locating a permanent home to live in as well as help with security deposits or first months rent. Clients will sometimes be issued assistance and it needs to be paid, so it is technically a loan.
Those who receive funds will need to follow all program conditions. For example, they will often need to participate in case management services from the Clayton County Community Services Authority so they can gain self-sufficiency.
Staff will work with clients and offer them financial counseling. They will address issues such as budgetary management and education. They will also be provided referrals to other support service agencies and charities in Fayette or other counties. They can learn about Social Security Disability (SSDI), Unemployment Benefits, Supplemental Security Income, and Veterans Benefits and more.
Job training and employment placement is available, as well as career counseling and referral services. Case managers direct participants to educational and vocational rehabilitation, job training services, and other support that will greatly increase their abilities to become self-sufficient.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program - LIHEAP is the main federal government funded program that provides financial assistance to low-income and poor households in the Henry, Clayton and the greater Fayette county service area. If you qualify, then it is a free program that offer cash grants to homeowners and renters.
Any aid from Clayton County Community Services Authority and LIHEAP is offered as a one-time payment toward paying your primary heating source for qualified low income families. This is a seasonal program that runs during the fall - spring months and of course is based on the availability of funds. Any applications for LIHEAP are accepted by the community action agency on a first come, first served basis. Most of the support is targeted at seniors, low-income families and individuals who are handicap, or the disabled who also meet Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
Educational services from Head Start is also one of the main community action agency programs. It helps people grow and develop and offers them numerous services. The main service area is Clayton and other counties. There are programs also administered in Brookwood and South Avenue. Head Start is a federally funded program providing services hundreds of preschool children. The community action agency will also receive state of Georgia funds through Bright From the Start. This will allow the agency to provide Pre – K blended services for the classrooms at the South Avenue Center.
Several classes, Health check ups, Parent Engagement workshops, Nutrition, Help for Disabilities, and more is offered by Head Start. It will ensure that the children are prepared and ready to transition to Kindergarten.
Examples of the other services they receive are dental and medical care, free healthy meals and snacks, quality recreation activities and classroom curriculum instruction. Head Start services are offered by teachers to also meet the special needs of children with disabilities in Fayette or Henry County. Included in this particular curriculum are special programs for the children such as activities that will help them physically, mentally, socially, as well as emotionally.
Free legal is for non-criminal cases. These services are made available to low-income citizens of Clayton County and nearby regions who are faced with complaints or civil problems. It is offered in partnership with firms indicated below, such as Atlanta Legal Aid Society and others. In order to qualify for the Pro Bono Project’s services you must meet the guidelines, including income limits. Finally legal problems by the individual must be the type of case the pro-bono project handles such as Child Custody, Domestic Violence, Landlord / Tenant issues, Divorce, Adoption, Consumer / Finance, Guardianship, and Probate.
The legal support is offered by the volunteer services of local private attorneys as well as a coordinator. Most of the support is part of the Clayton County Georgia Bar Association. Potential clients are screened for eligibility by the Community Services Authority and referred to other attorneys on a rotating basis. Eligibility for any type of free legal aid is determined based on factors such as the household income or the type of legal situations the client has.
Transportation assistance is available from CSA as part of a coordinated interagency transportation system offering rides and accessibility in the service territory. It is offered mostly during the work week. Special emphasis is placed on the transportation needs of the handicapped or elderly.
Qualified participants of the program are provided transportation as part of the services from the TANF - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Senior Citizens Program, Head Start Day Care, Vocational Rehabilitation and maybe a few other categories. The community action agency participates in the radio dispatched transportation services for demand responses as well as the Urban Mass Transportation. Clients can also get chartered trips in some cases too.
Weatherization is administered by the Clayton County Community Services Authority. This is the process in which free, targeted measures and improvements are made on the home of a qualified low income family.
Updates to the home can target the leaky areas where energy is lost around floors, doors, windows, the attic, and crawlspaces. The program will also tackle Air Infiltration Reduction, which will address the areas of the home where the most energy is lost. Contractors and staff from Community Services Authority also offer counseling and advice to homeowners to inform them how to be successful with energy conservation on a daily basis. Weatherization will also address health and safety hazards as part of the client’s updates to their home.
The agency has referrals and information on other government benefits and local non-profits. For more information, or to apply for help, call the Clayton County Community Services Authority. The main office is at 1000 Main Street in Forest Park, Georgia 30298-1808. Dial (404) 363-0575.
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