A combination of Family Services and financial aid from the Community Action Center of Whitman County can be used to help less fortunate residents. They are a leading non-profit agency for the region and offer both direct assistance, referrals, and information on public benefits.
The goal of the organization and its staff is to help those facing poverty or that are struggling to get back on track. So in most cases, the agency will take a holistic approach to addressing all financial challenges and concerns that are faced by the client.
Emergency assistance is for families dealing with crisis situations. They to can turn to Community Action Center Whitman for help. Those in need of assistance are encouraged to arrange an appointment with a Family Development Specialist or case manager, as an intake process is required. On a limited basis, CAC can help with some or all of the following.
Whitman County Community Action Center offers shelter and low income apartments. It is for people who are currently homeless and in crisis. There may also be free motel vouchers passed out. All rent help and housing resources take into account the specific situation and the needs of the family. if the agency decides a voucher is the best fit, then they will only cover a few nights, and it will be available to eligible families on a once-per-year basis.
Rental assistance programs are targeted to people facing eviction. There may be grants available for income qualified homeless families, families with children, single moms, and tenants. Funds may also be used for part of a security deposit.
All applicants need to meet with a Family Development Specialist in order to identify goals and create an action plan for improving their living situations. All resources and funding is available on a limited basis, and there could be a waiting list. Other rent programs from Community Action Center Whitman County include the following.
THOR - The Transitional Housing Operating and Rent Program furnishes an income level based subsidy for paying rent on a monthly basis. Candidates are required to undergo a screening and assessment process performed by a case manager that is used in preparing and submitting an application.
The federal government funded TBRA - Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program provides short-term or crisis assistance for residents who have received eviction notices. There may also be housing arranged for individuals who are in need of a security deposit in order to secure housing.
To apply for TBRA, or some form of loan, tenants must meet with a Family Development Specialist from CAC to determine eligibility and to evaluate the situation. All possible solutions are then explored before any cash benefits or other forms of assistance are issued. Benefits are issued on a once-yearly basis, and are dependent upon funding availability.
HUD Section 8 Rental Opportunity provides financial assistance with monthly rent payments and utility bill costs to very low income families, the elderly, working poor and the disabled. The government created this with the purpose of making safe rental housing more affordable.
Short term energy bill help is offered too. Community Action Center Whitman County operates several government supported programs that are designed to offset the high cost of home energy and heating expenses for low-income Whitman county homeowners or rental tenants. Each is a unique in relation to eligibility requirements and benefits.
LIHEAP is also known as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. This is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, the county and the State of Washington. Grants issued are in the form of a one-time payment designated to be used to pay off energy bills.
The state of Washington Low Income Rate Assistance Program, or LIRAP, provides multiple types of assistance for low-income Avista customers. It was created with the purpose of easing the burden of managing rising energy costs and filling in the gaps in available funding sources as compared to need.
One program, known as Avista Heat, will calculate benefits based on a percentage of the customer’s heating bill. It was created in an effort to assist seniors (60 and older) on fixed incomes.
Another resource is Senior Outreach, which provides a standard benefit of up to $300 for those customers whose income is equal to or less than 200 percent of poverty guidelines.
Avista Share applications are also processed by Community Action Center Whitman County. This was set up as an emergency assistance program for customers who currently have a shut-off notice. Any assistance provided for bills is determined on a case-by-case basis and limited to once per twelve-month period.
Project Share is another emergency heating assistance program available in Washington. This is offered by Community Action Center for financially disadvantaged Whitman County residents who have received a shut-off notice or who have run out of heating fuel.
Grants issued to families are determined on an individual basis, and are available to eligible households once during a twelve-month period. Please make an appointment with a Family Development Specialist. As part of this, they will evaluate household needs, total income levels and explore options for preventing discontinuation of service.
Housing Rehabilitation can improve both the value and safety of owner-occupied dwellings in Whitman County Washington. It works by providing affordable financing for repairs, upgrades, and/or enhancements. Besides improving home value, the improvements from the non-profit may reduce utility costs by conserving energy. Additionally, the work serves to revitalize the individual home and the greater community.
The Weatherization service provides free energy conservation improvements for existing homes. Benefits are available to both rental tenants and homeowners. The updates will help them reduce consumption of energy, heating and cooling bills.
Examples of the improvements may include the insulation of attics, heating ducts, crawl spaces, and sidewalls. The Community Action Center will also arrange for the repair or replacement of furnaces; replacement of damaged windows and doors; installation of weather stripping; and other draft-reduction measures, as necessary.
CAC offers arranged limited assistance with transportation in the form of referrals to services available in Whitman County. The non-profit will also provide limited access to bus tickets or free tokens, and arrange for assistance with minor car repairs. For those who can show documentation indicating that they have a job interview or a medical appointment, CAC can provide free vouchers for gasoline, limited to the amount of gas necessary to get to and from the specific interview or say a medical appointment location.
Whitman County residents in need of help with accessing nutritious groceries and meals can make use of the CAC Emergency Food Assistance Program’s pantry. This is a once-monthly service that furnishes supplies at no charge to those who qualify.
The food bank also provides nutritional counseling, information on obtaining and preparing a meal, and assistance with developing and following a household budget. It relies on partners, such as the Safeway stores and Pullman Dissmores who generously donate their day-old bakery items.
The USDA Temporary Food Assistance Program distributes surplus government commodity foods through local churches, the Council on Aging and Human Services. The distribution is usually carried out by community volunteers at commodity distribution sites. They are located in the county including Rosalia, Garfield, Palouse, LaCrosse, Malden/Pine City, Tekoa, St. John, Oakesdale, Endicott, Colton/Uniontown and Colfax.
The non-profit agency bases its programming on a fully comprehensive family development model that approaches the applicant as a unit. They focus on the entire family, the interdependence of its members, and involve the larger community as needed. The ultimate goal of Community Action Center Whitman to reinforce family values and to encourage the unit to establish support networks within the area to support them in their efforts toward achieving self-sufficiency.
Overall, the development process encourages individuals to work together. There will be an assessment done. Then plans are created with the applicant as well as ongoing support. Case managers provide them with linkage to information and benefits that are offered in partnership with other charities or community resources.
The CAC Self-Help Program provides an opportunity for Whitman County families to earn their down payments for a new home by doing volunteer and other work. This may include landscaping, painting, or yard work of the home to be purchased.
In order to help clients, the work is typically done during weekday evening hours and on weekends. Then using a Section 502 Loan from the USDA, monthly mortgage payments are calculated according to household income, in order to keep them affordable. In addition, the community action agency also uses state and federal grants to provide a zero-percent-interest, no-payment loan for 15 percent of the home’s purchase price.
The CAC Legal Coordinator provides free information and referrals to low-income Whitman County residents who are in need of advice and services. The first step is to contact Legal Advice and Referral, or CLEAR, and speak to an advocate.
As part of the legal support, the agency will also provide links to the Northwest Women's Law Center, the Tenant's Union, and the state of Washington Attorney General's Office. Next, they assist in finding an attorney. There are a number of lawyers in Whitman County who generously provide low-income residents with advice and services at no cost.
The location of Community Action Center is 350 SE Fairmont Rd., Pullman, Washington 9916. Call either 509-334-9147 or toll-free 800-482-3991.
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