Everything from food to housing needs can be met by the Garrett County Community Action Committee. The non-profit agency will also help clients address the root cause of their hardship, whether that is unemployment or some other concern. The main programs available from the Garrett CAC or their partners are below.
Free emergency and commodity food may be served. Each year, the USDA provides funds to Maryland through the Surplus Commodities initiative. The goal is to feed the hungry, children, and seniors in the area.
Any commodities provided by the Garrett County Community Action Committee or the state are high-quality, nutritious foods, such as vegetables, fruits, meats, juices, beans, cereals, nuts, or grains. They can also be used to supplement other emergency food assistance resources.
The various state of Maryland and local pantries or towns work in collaboration to manage the commodities program, with the aim of better tailoring the region’s food resources. In Garrett County, community action operates the program for hundreds of low income families per year. Available items passed out to the public vary among the distribution periods, depending on what is stocked in the central facility.
Another option is sponsored by the Maryland Food Bank, and this too is operated by CAC. This is known as the Brown Bag program. It provides income qualified residents who meet guidelines with household items, free nutritious food, meals, and even cleaning supplies in exchange for a monthly donation.
The Garret County CAC-operated Brown Bag program has proven to be most beneficial in helping low-income families or those facing poverty. The little extra support from it has allowed people to make the most of their budget in this time of economic hardship.
Community Action Committee Homeless Services provide a range of services to assist people behind on their rent or the homeless. It can assist individuals living with family or friends who need to find their own living accommodations. Or it may even help those that are living in car, women fleeing domestic violence, on the streets, or generally in places not meant for human habitation. There is also help for single parents with their housing needs.
The various housing solutions provide financial assistance or cash grants toward a first month’s rent payment. There may also be motel vouchers, meals, or transportation to a shelter provided.
In addition to all of that, Homeless Services from the agency includes eviction prevention services that can include furnishing a low-interest loan to cover a month’s worth of rental expenses. Or the loan may be used for a security deposit. The agency will encourage anyone who is without adequate housing to meet with a coordinators for advice.
The Free MortgageDelinquency Counseling service provides homeowners facing the threat of losing their home with information. They can learn about and get information on preserving existing home equity, and mitigating loss, or avoiding foreclosure. The agency has Financial and Foreclosure Counselors available to assist.
The agencies Service Coordination Department operates a number of programs to assist low-income tenants with obtaining or keeping their apartments or homes. One other option is the state of Maryland RAP - Rental Allowance Program. This will pay for a portion of overdue rent payments for a period of several months.
Another, maybe long term resource that people can explore, is the Section 8 HUD program. This furnishes vouchers to very low income families as a form of rental assistance for qualifying clients. In addition, CAC’s Supportive Housing Program provides long-term leasing assistance for Garrett County residents with disabilities, regardless of their age.
Both heating and utility bill help can assist those faced with high home energy costs. For many residents, this can pose a problem, especially for low-income households. The community action agencies Service Coordination Division can provide guidance and assistance through the Maryland Office of Home Energy Program (OHEP).
There are numerous energy bill programs that may be able to assist people financially. So this can be grants for paying expenses. Or they may provide for home repairs and alterations to make a home healthier, safer and more energy-efficient. Some of these that are available in Garret County are as follows.
Garrett County Community Action Committee Emergency Loan Program can also help with preventing utility termination. Or the funds can be used to pay for security deposits, or even property taxes. Assistance is dependent upon funding availability.
The Home Repair and Rehab Program in Maryland provides necessary home repairs to eliminate health and safety hazards. Also, for the elderly in the region, such changes often enable them to remain living in their residence for a future period of time rather than moving into nursing homes.
Weatherization will help with the conservation of energy and saving of money. It works by providing free home improvements that serve to conserve energy and reduce utility bills for qualfiied homeowners. It also helps with maintaining home equity, by making a dwelling more safe, healthy, livable and economical to live in.
All of this combines to help low income families who are working to become self-sufficient. What weatherization really does is it frees up funds for purchasing other necessities, such as clothing, food or to open a savings account or IDA.
Garret County Area Agency on Aging provides free hot, nutritious meals to seniors, plus their spouses. Some people may qualify for a Meals on Wheels service too. Otherwise the congregate meals are served at multiple sites throughout the county.
Besides providing the elderly with free access to tasty, healthy meals, these services also provide an opportunity for participants to be with others and socialize. All meals served by the agency meet one-third of the recommended dietary requirements.
Senior Health Insurance, or SHIP, from the Area Agency on Aging furnishes the elderly in need with information on Medicare and other related issues, such as prescription coverage, long-term care insurance, supplemental policies, SMP, and how to access any medical programs available through the State of Maryland.
Funded by the Maryland Department of Social Services and administered by community action, the Wheels-to-Work Program helps low-income Garrett County residents with obtaining and maintaining vehicles. The car will need to be used for the purpose of getting to and from work. To qualify for this program, an applicant must be eligible to receive Temporary Cash Assistance and also have at least one child.
The agency is the leading social service agency in the region. The Garrett County Community Action Committee is located at 104 East Center St., Oakland, Maryland 21550. Call them at 301-334-9431.
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