Serving thousands of low income families per year, the CANI - Community Action of Northeast Indiana administers several financial assistance and self-sufficiency services. The organization provides help to individuals and families in the counties of DeKalb, Adams, Allen, Elkhart, Huntington, Steuben, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Wells, and Whitley in Indiana.
Some of the main resources include housing, in the form of rent help, eviction prevention, and foreclosure counseling. Children can benefit from Head Start and low cost day care. Families in Northeast Indiana may also benefit from grants to pay heating or utility bills.
The community action agency offers an assistance program to those who need help paying their winter heating and annual utility bills. The federal government funded Energy Assistance Program is there to assist in paying a portion of a customer's winter heating or natural gas bill.
Summer Cooling Energy Assistance is another utility bill type assistance program offered by Community Action of Northeast Indiana. It provides a one-time grant that is automatically applied to a household’s electric account if they had prior approval for the heating season. Air conditioners are also available but on a limited basis.
Note that if participants of this summer cooling program move while after getting the aid from the state, then they must complete the Utility Account Update form and submit these changes along with their most recent electric bill.
The focus of the funds for cooling bills is on seniors, the disabled, and sick. Low income and struggling families with young children may also benefit from HEAP and/or a free air conditioner.
Hoosier Healthwise is Indiana’s government established health insurance program that is for pregnant women, children, uninsured and low-income households. This government sponsored insurance is provided at little or no cost to families.
Medical bill assistance from Hoosier Healthwise is available as it pays for prescriptions, hospital visits, dental care, vision, doctor visits and more. To be eligible applicants must have been without health insurance (either public or private) for 6 months or more and have no access to an employee insurance plan. Parents of children who are enrolled in Hoosier Healthwise are candidates for HIP.
Pregnant women from the Community Action of Northeast Indiana (CANI) territory may qualify for Hoosier Healthwise as well. This insurance covers pregnant women who meet the guidelines of 200% Federal Poverty Level. If you are pregnant and qualify the following services may be covered such as birthing of the baby, prenatal care, medications and a post- partum visit.
Shelter Plus Care is another rental assistance program in counties such as Elkhart, Whitley, and Allen. The federal funded Shelter Plus Care uses housing vouchers or a loan to help pay a portion of a participant’s rent or security deposits. The aid is intended for people who are homeless and/or disabled.
Participants must be defined by HUD as homeless and also need to be compliant with program requirements to remain eligible. Not having and the ability of paying the rent and keeping shelter is a sad reality in the world of poverty. CANI works with charities and others to target this cause of poverty with several things in mind. This program was created to be a temporary solution to get people into safe and affordable housing so that they can one day become self-sufficient.
SSVF - Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) is a program that was created to help Veterans and their families that are homeless, facing eviction, at risk of becoming homeless, or are having trouble getting stable shelter. Applicants must be currently discharged from service in order to apply. SSVF can help with locating and secure stable shelter for veteran and their family.
As needed, SSVF can also provide financial aid for rental assistance, paying security and utility deposits, and other housing-related costs. There is also help from case managers to obtain VA benefits such as vocational and rehabilitation counseling, education grants, employment and training services, and more.
Weatherization from CA of Northeast Indiana can help people save money. It is for those who need help paying their winter utility bills. This service provides free, energy-efficient modifications for homes of families with low-income and working poor occupants.
Such improvements may include repair of poorly installed heating systems, insulating of attics, walls and mobile home bellies, or leaking ducts, and to repair furnaces. Other eligibility requirements are as follows. Applicants to this service from CANI must live in a site built, mobile home, apartment, or shelter, and have been eligible for low income EAP energy assistance.
Hopewell Pointe is offered by Keller Development and CANI has partnered with Keller Development to develop a 35 home rent-to own community. The low income housing can eventually be bought for a reduced rate by tenants.
Rent help from the Housing Choice Voucher Program can assist in paying a portion of a low income family’s monthly housing costs. With this state and federal program, families have the option to choose where they live, and in safe housing they could not otherwise afford.
To be eligible for the rental assistance and counseling that is part of the Housing Choice Voucher program, all applicants must meet guidelines which are based on the gross household income. Vouchers cover only a portion of the rent. Security deposit assistance may be offered from other local non-profits. The participating tenant is expected to pay the difference. The renters’ portion is considered an affordable percentage of their income and is calculated to be between 30 to 40% of their monthly-adjusted gross income to cover their utility bill and rent.
The government sponsored child care voucher program may be able to assist families and help them afford quality child care. Aid is generally for children under the age of 13 years.
In order to benefit from a voucher, parents must be attending job training, working, or going to school to qualify for this program. There are also income limits in place as well, and they are based on government guidelines.
The Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) from Community Action of Northeast Indiana gives parents the chance to maintain employment and or complete educational goals without the overwhelming need to pay for or face the cost of expensive day care. The participating family must reside in the state of Indiana, such as counties of Elkhart and Adams, and also meet income guidelines.
The nation’s leading pre-school program, Early Head Start, is government funded. It was created for children from low-income and working poor households. This service is not child care, but rather home visitors make appointments to visit the child’s home weekly and assist the parent and child with activities that meet their needs. Pregnant women, infants and children under the age of 4 old are the main focus for who this service is for. Participants must live in Allen, Noble, Kosciusko, Steuben or Whitley counties.
Early Head Start is a service that works with Spanish, English and even Burmese-speaking parents in Indiana and their children. Teachers and staff come to the home weekly when it’s convenience for the family and work with parent and child on activities that focus on the child’s long term needs. The main point of this Early Head Start resource is on education, child development, family self-sufficiency, and parenting skills.
Head Start from Community Action of Northeast Indiana is there to provide preschool and social services for parents with children. Participating children and students receive mental health, dental care, nutrition, vision, and hearing services from Head Start.
Families from northeastern Indiana that have a child with special-needs are welcome and encouraged to apply. The CANI Head Start program offers service to preschoolers and their families in all counties.
This free program also offers parents the chance to get involved with such activities as planning, and work experience. Head Start offers students and their parents both half-day and full-day sessions. Every participating child receives free meals and snacks while they attend class.
If needed, transportation is arranged by CANI as part of Head Start. It is for those that do not have their own access to a car, bus, or other forms of transportation. Rides are offered to and from their locations. For those who need help getting their child to Head Start please call your Family Advocate.
Family Development is another supportive services program for the low income, unemployed, and struggling. It assists families and case managers from CANI can help them discover their strengths, goals, desires, and how to accomplish their desires. This is also an in-home service, which means they come to you. Participating families of any self-sufficiency must have the desire to change and want to become self-sufficient. CANI Family Development offers the experience and knowledge in dealing with issues that low income or unemployed families can benefit from.
After participants complete this case management program, the next step is to determine what short and long term goals they may want to set. The client and their FIF create an Action Plan, which detail what each they need to do to in order to accomplish these goals. This may include things such as employment, job training, or attending a financial education workshop in counties such as Huntington, Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaGrange, or Noble.
CA of Northeast Indiana offers a Financial Literacy class that is arranged through the FDIC Money Smart curriculum. This type of education and experience is vital to becoming financially stable over the long term. It will help people understand how credit and banks work to lead to customers becoming more financially confident.
Foundations is a course for persons who want to start a small business in the region. This workshop and the classes provide the basic tools, information, guidance, practices, and access to financing. Work with other members of CANI and the community to get support that can help participants to become entrepreneurs.
Small Business Loans from Community Action of Northeast Indiana are available. They will tend to be low interest loans for existing or aspiring small business owners that want to expand or to start a new one. To be eligible participants must have gone through credit education and other workshops.
Individual Development Accounts are government sponsored savings accounts opened at a bank or credit union. The clients that enroll will have deposits matched 3 to 1 for every dollar the account holder saves. The funds and savings from the individual then can be used to pay for educational expenses, purchase a new home or repair an existing home, pay for tuition, clothes, and books or to start a small business.
Youth Jobs is offered in partnership with The Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program. This is operated as a school-to-career program that was implemented in high schools, community colleges, and middle schools across the state and service area. JAG’s goal is to keep young people in school until graduation and to provide work-based learning experiences that will lead to career advancing opportunities. Or work with a case manager from your school or CANI to enroll in a postsecondary program that will lead to rewarding employment.
The agency covers a wide territory. So CANI has several different offices in the region, as noted below. For more information or referrals, call for help.
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