Every county in Florida is supported by a non-profit community action agency. These organizations are committed to helping the low income and people faced with poverty. An agency can sometimes refer individuals to emergency financial assistance programs. Case managers will also work with clients to provide them with longer term self-sufficiency and stability. This can include job training, employment services, and counseling.
While the exact types of programs offered at each community action agency will vary, some of the most common are below. It is always recommended to call to learn more about what a particular Florida agency may offer and resources available.
Self sufficiency is offered in Florida. It can be called the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), PASS Program, or even the most generic term of Family Self-Sufficiency. Lower income individuals or families need to meet income guidelines. This program allows people to work with case managers, and the programs were designed to help families in Florida become less dependent on government assistance and achieve self-sufficiency. Specific services offered by your community action agency can include employment & professional development, education, health management, and financial management and asset Enhancement. Some locations may also provide income tax filing assistance and access to food and nutrition.
As part of this process, you will work with a case manager who will help you determine strengths and areas of improvement. They can assess your needs, help you set goals, acquire education or job training, and assist with overcoming obstacles. Sign up for workshops to improve financial management and your credit scores, and also even prepare for first-time home-buying.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, allows staff and IRS trained volunteers to help thousands of low-income individuals, seniors, and families prepare their tax returns. Get help with both your federal government and state of Florida taxes. Highly trained staffs, some of who are bilingual, provide this service.
Food, meals, and government commodities are distributed to low income families on a regular basis from community action agencies. Seniors and families with children receive special attention. Some of what can be included is rice, vegetables, beans, apple sauce, macaroni and canned fruits. Surplus vegetables and fresh fruits are also available during peak farming season.
Summer Food Program for Children and Youth is offered during the summer breaks, when children do not have access to free school lunches or breakfasts. The program will distribute wholesome balanced meals at sites accessible to most economically eligible youths up to 18 years of age. For example, food may be provided from churches, parks, libraries and other centers in public Florida.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides electric and summer cooling bill assistance to income qualified clients. Specific services include weatherization-assistance, which will help people save money by obtaining a lower electric bill. Crisis benefit can pay up to up to $600 twice a year for past due balance on your account, final notice or disconnection. Or the more standard Home Energy Assistance can provide up to $300 once every 12 months.
While not as common, so community action agencies will have emergency services and/or financial aid. This would include one-time cash grant payments to low income and working poor families or individuals. Any aid provided in Florida is meant to help meet emergency needs, in particular homeless prevention. So this means emergency rental assistance or money for energy bills. If funds are paid out, the applicant will more than likely need to sign up for ongoing case management. This can include, but is not limited to, budgeting classes, career counseling, and self-sufficiency type services and programs. As the case manager and the non-profits are focused on helping overcome barriers and not just paying out cash.
Information and referrals are offered. Your community action case manager may provide resources when available, or they may give suggestions on where you can go for help. Learn about or get assistance with paying for auto repairs, childcare, books for education, and tuition. All of these may be offered as part of self-sufficiency.
Veteran assistance is generally available. A large number of former service members live in Florida, and community action offices can often support and provide guidance to them. Receive help is completing applications and submitting claims for benefits and government grants. Individual can apply both to the federal government Department of Veterans Affairs as well as the state. Many clients need help in applying for assistance including health care, disability compensation, pension, rental and housing assistance, burial benefits, education, and job training programs that are focused on veterans.
Meals on Wheels focuses on senior citizens and the elderly in Florida. Some homebound individuals who are trying to maintain independent lifestyles may qualify for a free, or low cost, nutritious, hot meal. Your agency may deliver meals to your home a few days per week.
The Weatherization Assistance Program is coordinated by community action agencies in Florida. The federal government program can help reduce energy costs for low-income families and the elderly or disabled. It can provide for updates or free repairs to your home. It can include repair or replacement of inefficient heating and cooling units, replacement of windows and doors, attic and floor insulation, and more.
Florida Home Repairs and Rehabilitation Programs are offered by some agencies. The centers try to assist current homeowners and help them make necessary repairs to their homes. It can be paid for by grants or low interest loans, and funds are intended to address safety and building code issues. Most of the support is for lower to moderate income senior citizens, the disabled, and elderly in Florida, and repairs need to help the maintain a safe home.
Credit counseling and budget management can help improve your financial condition. People who go through programs like these are less likely to lose their home to foreclosure or need to file for bankruptcy.
Among other things, learn how to increase your credit score and create a realistic monthly budget. Get tips on managing your credit cards and how to use them responsibly. Or a counselor can help you protect your assets from identity theft and financial fraud. Oftentimes foreclosure prevention workshops are held. HUD certified foreclosure prevention and housing specialists can work directly with your bank or mortgage servicers to find a solution. Community action agencies work closely with credit and housing counselors in Florida to provide these services to residents.
Several agencies work with credit and HUD approved counseling agencies to offer First Time Home Buyer programs. Workshops, classes, and individual sessions can assist individuals and families in obtaining affordable housing. Learn about the home buying process, how to obtain a low interest rate mortgage, and even apply for down-payment and closing cost assistance or grants. Resources are limited, and any funds for down payment are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis to income qualified families.
Career Resource Centers are located in some Florida communities. They provide services to the unemployed as well as low and moderate income people. Many clients tend to fall among the hardest to employ and include people who have limited experience, training, or skills. Some people who are helped include ex-offender population, non-custodial parents, and TANF clients.
Many community action agencies coordinate Head Start programs. This federal funded resource is for low-income and working poor families with children ages 0 through 6, including those who are disabled and/or with special needs. Receive education services, meals, free health care and similar social services.
Migrant Head Start is for immigrants and farm workers in Florida. The specialized program provides children from migrant worker families with fully comprehensive, holistic, and inclusive services including free dental, medical, nutrition, mental health, meals/nutrition, and education. Their parents can look into job training and employment services. This Head Start program and he non-profits that run it have an intensive approach to work with migrant parents to improve child health, education and their overall development.
Medical care, specifically prescription discount cards may be distributed. All Florida residents, regardless of income, age, or health status can obtain a card, and it will provide them with to savings on the cost of their medications. Many agencies may provide information on these free discount cards, and patients and seniors can save up to 40% on their prescription drugs.
Day care centers are located in many Florida counties. They are for parents who are attending job training, working and/or seeking jobs. Head Start also may contact with part-time day care providers during the school year. The non-profit locations provide families with children access to full-day, full-year daycare with licensed childcare providers.
Specialized senior centers are operated throughout the state of Florida. These centers may coordinate with a community action agency, and they provide older adults various social and recreational activities, meals, and companionship.
Transportation may be arranged. This is often done in partnership with other organizations, such as the Salvation Army or agency on aging. Rides are usually offered to senior citizens for a very low cost. The most common reasons would be for a doctor appointment, job interview, or to make it to the local stores for supplies.
Rental assistance may be provided from the Emergency Food and Shelter Assistance. Some agencies receive this government funding. Grants are utilized to assist families and individuals in need of emergency assistance with housing type needs. This can include funds for payment of utility bills, rent and mortgage payments. The program can also provide temporary shelter and food to Florida families.
Job training is offered from programs such as the federal government Workforce Investment Act. Components focus on the youth as well as old Florida residents.
Another option for the unemployed and people just seeking a new skill are the Florida WorkForce Job Centers. These are government funded locations that provide a number of free services to qualified residents. Individuals can use the centers to access resources such as computers and databases on open positions. Specialists from the centers will also provide career counseling to those seeking help. This can include information on training resources, federal government and state employment programs, educational services, help in developing networking skills and more. Community action agencies also tend to work closely with the centers. Read Florida job training.
One service, Adult Services, can give assistance to the unemployed, dislocated workers, and those looking to gain a new skill. The program delivers a number of services, including On-The-Job Training, Supportive Services, Classroom Training, and Case Management. Work with a member of your community action agency for access to an assortment of resources, and clients can get a the latest job information, identify their current skills and aptitudes and more. Work with a specialist on help with resume preparation an interview skills.
The WIA program above can also offer both so called Intensive Services and Training. Clients who have received help in the past from a community action agency, but who need additional support to obtain or retain employment, may qualify from Intensive services offered by Florida. This can include literacy training, resume review, case management, and more. Job training may be coordinated too. The client needs to already possess some form of skills and qualifications in order to complete the selected training program.
Broward County Community Action Agency
Location 900 N.W. 31st Avenue, Suite 3100
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311
Telephone number (954) 357-5025
A number of low income assistance programs, resources for senior citizens, and other aid is available. Continue reading.
Bay County Council on Aging, Inc. helps low income families in Gulf and Bay County.
The address is 1116 Frankford Avenue, Panama City, Florida 32401
Call (850) 769-3486
Brevard County Community Action Program
Main office is at 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way
Melbourne, FL 32940
Phone number is (321) 633-2076
Some of the resources include Employment and Training Unit, burial assistance, section 8 vouchers, and information on loan programs for paying rent or for a mortgage for a first time homebuyer. Learn more.
Capital Area Community Action Agency
309 Office Plaza Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
Telephone: (850) 222-2043
Case managers can provide the working poor referral, access to programs, and information on public aid. This agency supports families in Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, and Liberty County. Call them for information on programs as wide ranging as job training to applications for LIHEAP. More Capital Area Community Action Agency.
Central Florida Community Action Agency, Inc. is for counties of Alachua, Levy, and Marion
Main address - 2606 NW 6th Street
Gainesville, FL 32609
Telephone: (352) 378-5892. Get a listing of their services. Learn more.
Community Action Program Committee, Inc.
1380 North Palafox Street
Pensacola, Florida 32501
Telephone: (850) 438-4021
Services are available in Escambia, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa County. Read more.
County of Charlotte Human Services
512 E. Grace Street
Punta Gorda, FL 33950-6121
Telephone: (941) 833-6500
The organization is the local community action agency as well. Programs include LIHEAP as well as grants for water bills from Heartship. The non-profit also has a discount prescription card for all residents and applications for other financial aid. More on help from County of Charlotte community action.
Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc.
1907 E. Hillsborough Avenue
Tampa, FL 33610
Telephone: (813) 231-4362
Free food, home delivered meals, homeless prevention, and emergency rent assistance may be arranged for low income or unemployed residents. Also look into job training and self-sufficiency programs. Continue.
Coalition of Florida Farmworker Organizations, Inc.
P.O. Box 344010
Florida City, FL 33034
This agency supports immigrants and farm workers across Florida. Spanish speaking residents, the very poor, and others may qualify for help. Read Coalition of Florida Farmworker Organization.
Economic Opportunities Council of Indian River County, Inc.
Address of office is 1456 Old Dixie Highway
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Call the agency at (772) 562-4177
The location almost provides assistance in Okeechobee County. Call for details on food programs, LIHEAP energy assistance, home delivered meals and more. Click here.
Hillsborough County Community Action Program
601 E. Kennedy Boulevard, 25th Floor
Tampa, Florida 33602
Telephone number is (813) 301-7344
They offer care for seniors (such as Meals on Wheels), rent help / homeless prevention, transportation, and emergency electric bill assistance, among other programs. More Hillsborough community action assistance.
Hendry County Department of Social Services
LaBelle, FL 33975
Telephone number is (863) 675-5356
Immokalee Multicultural Multipurpose Community Action Agency
210 A. South First Street
Immokalee, FL 34143
Telephone: (239) 657-2213
Assistance programs are offered for Spanish speakers and immigrants. Some programs available include job training, ESL, information on emergency rent and more.
Lake Community Action Agency, Inc.
Address is 501 N. Bay Street
Eustis, FL 32726-4111
Telephone number - (352) 357-3497. For more information on their services, click here.
Lee County Department of Human Services
2440 Thompson Street
Fort Myers, Florida 33901
Call (239) 533-7930 for information. Read more.
Manatee Community Action Agency
Address is 302 Manatee Avenue, East
Bradenton, FL 34208
Telephone: (941) 827-2887
Serves the county of Manatee and nearby Hardee and Desoto County too. Continue.
Mid Florida Community Services, Inc.
Address - 820 Kennedy Boulevard
Brooksville, FL 34605-0896
Telephone: (352) 796-1425
Counties include Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Sumter, and Volusia. Click more information.
Miami-Dade Community Action and Human Services Department
701 N.W. 1st Court, Suite 1000
Miami, Florida 33136
Primary telephone number is (786) 469-4613
Most of the assistance for bills, food, or rent is part of the Emergency Food and Shelter Assistance, and this is very limited. Other help is for immigrants, job training in a classroom, grants for paying electric bills from LIHEAP and other services. More community action of Miami-Dade.
Northeast Florida Community Action Agency, Inc. (NFCAA)
Jacksonville, FL 32201
Telephone number is (904) 398-7472
The non-profit provide assistance, food, referrals, and more to working poor, seniors and unemployed in Baker, Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, Clay, Flagler, and Putnam County. Read financial assistance from NFCAA.
Orange County Community Action Division
Main address is 2100 E. Michigan Street
Orlando, Florida 32806
Phone - (407) 836-9333
The crisis assistance center is a last resort. Financial aid is for seniors, the disabled, and low income in the county. They also work with the Office and Commission on Aging to offer food and support to the elderly in Florida. Click here.
Palm Beach County Community Action Agency
Address is 810 Datura Street, Suite 150
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Telephone number is (561) 355-4792
A number of resources are offered for low income families. Seniors can apply for energy bill assistance or home delivered meals. Other services include housing and foreclosure counseling, applications for programs such as Head Start, and other aid. Read more.
Pinellas Opportunity Council, Inc.
Main location - 3443 1st Avenue, North
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
Telephone number - (727) 327-8690. Learn more.
Sarasota County Health & Human Services
Main address is 2200 Ringling Boulevard, Suite 2001
Sarasota, FL 34237-6102
Telephone number is (941) 861-2564
Seminole County Community Assistance
1101 E. First Street
Sanford, Florida 32773
Suwannee River Economic Council, Inc. Programs are for the counties of Hamilton, Bradford, Gilchrist, Columbia, Dixie, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor, and Union.
Live Oak, FL 32060-0070
Telephone: (386) 362-4115, or click more on Suwannee Community Action programs.
Telamon – The community action affiliated agency operates in limited portions of Florida.
They may have grants for home repairs for income qualified senior seniors. Other aid is HUD approved foreclosure counseling, referrals to financial aid and utility bill assistance, and even short term loans for certain needs. Funding levels vary. Find assistance programs from Telamon.
Treasure Coast Community Services Advisory Board - St. Lucie County Department of Human Services
437 N. 7th Street
Fort Pierce, FL 34950
If you live in Martin, Okeechobee, or St. Lucie, call this community action agency. Find more information.
The Agricultural and Labor Program, Inc.
P.O. Box 3126
Winter Haven, FL 33885
Telephone number is (863) 956-3491
Programs are for Polk County as well as portions of Hendry and Highlands Florida. More on Agricultural and Labor community action.
Tri-County Community Council, Inc.
Bonifay, Florida 32425
Telephone: (850) 547-3689
Counties are Holmes, Washington, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton. The community action organization offers discount prescription cards, funds from the Florida Emergency Shelter Grant program, and many other services. More on programs from Tri-County community action.
Volusia County Department of Community Services
Address is 123 W. Indiana Ave., Room 101
Deland, FL 32720-4611
Telephone: (386) 736-5956
Examples of services from the community action agency include Summer Food Service Program, short term financial aid for medications, transportation, or rent. The homeless can explore transitional housing and forgiveable loans or grants for moving costs or deposits. Click here.
Wakulla County Senior Citizens Council
33 Michael Drive
Crawfordville, Florida 32327
Telephone: (850) 926-7145
Resources focus on the elderly and seniors, but other local Florida families may benefit. Energy assistance, congregate meals sites, and advice on government aid such as Medicare is offered.