Families or individuals that live within the city can contact the Des Moines Community Action Agency. The non-profit administers several programs (such as food or energy bill assistance) or they can refer clients to other solutions, such as HUD section 8 vouchers. Staff from the non-profit organization partner with low income clients to address the root cause of their hardship.
The agency will try to offer one time crisis assistance, as funding allows. Other case management services are targeted at helping low-income residents gain long term economic self-sufficiency. The main resources, by category, are below.
MidAmerican Energy customers can explore A&R, or Assessment and Resolution. It is for income qualified households with a credit problem. As part of A & R, staff help the customer establish payment plans on their account and they will explore solutions with MidAmerican to either prevent a disconnection or turn their power back on. Some funds may be available to pay outstanding bills.
Cooling assistance may include free air conditioners, fans or central air repair. A focus is on the sick and elderly in Des Moines Iowa. This is an option during the summer.
Furnace Replacement or Repairs may be offered, though funding is limited. Private contractors approved by the non-profit perform the work. Priority is given to the disabled, senior citizens, and families with young children or newborns.
Embrace Iowa is a partner of Des Moines Community Action. Donated funds can be used to help qualified families purchase basic needs. Applications need to be submitted in an essay format. It is available during only one period of time per year.
Heating bill help is available from Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. The state can provide the household with a one-time payment towards heating costs. Hundreds of families benefit from it each year. Benefits from LIHEAP will be in the form of a onetime credit applied to your utility bill. It is usually combined with energy saving measures, as noted below.
Apply for weatherization at the Community Services Offices. It is free to income qualified homeowners. Weatherization can help with installing free attic and sidewall insulation, general energy efficiency measures, and other furnace repair or replacement.
Financial literacy, credit counseling, energy education and similar services are organized by Des Moines Community Action Agency. They address Debt Reduction, Basic Budgeting to Create Savings, Consumer Protection, and improving credit scores, among other topics.
Food pantries are run in partnership with DMARCC. The location provides groceries, non-perishable food items, fresh produce, vegetables or baby formula when available. The pantry can only be used once per month and it is open limited hours. Personal goods are offered too, including soap, toothpaste, shampoo, free diapers, and laundry detergent are available to low income households in need.
Christmas and Holiday Food is available as the result of donations of churches, pantries, and charities. The food and resources are provided by Des Moines Iowa schools, businesses and social service organizations. The donated food, such as Turkeys and the toppings, are boxed by volunteers.
Information from Des Moines Community Action Agency is combined with Referrals and Outreach. They have information on government benefits such as SSDI disability applications, food stamps, and more. They even have details on other charity organizations in Polk.
Referrals can be provided to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. This will help very low income families pay the rent on an approved apartment. The demand is high, and there is usually a waiting list in place in Polk County and the city.
Another option is City of Des Moines public housing. The community action agency may have information on these as well. There are units such as Royal View Manor, Highland Park Plaza for seniors, Oak Park Plaza, and others. Housing coordinators can advise on these apartments. They are generally for very low income residents that have some type of unusual need or challenge they are faced with.
For information, dial (515) 248-6216 or stop by Des Moines Community Action Agency, 1618 Sixth Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50314.
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