Relying on government grants, the Lowcountry Community Action Agency provides support services and emergency assistance in the counties of Colleton and Hampton. While the resources available are very limited, programs can help low income families deal with their crisis and get on the path to self-sufficiency.
Much of the funding comes from the Community Services Block Grant. This is very limited. There may be financial aid to pay for housing costs (such as rent or energy bills), food, shelter, and job training. Case managers from the non-profit will often give qualified individuals referrals in lieu of direct financial support.
Using funds issued as part of the Emergency Shelter Grants Program, the Safe Haven Shelter (address is 617 Black Street, Walterboro, SC 29488) provides up to 60 days of temporary shelter for homeless children, women and families. Guests also get other support as well.
Once settled at Safe Haven, clients are encouraged to pursue higher education, employment, job training and permanent housing. They can also take advantage of various supportive and case management services offered by Lowcountry Community Action. For more information about the shelter, or to donate time or food to it, call the agency.
Funded by HUD, or the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Emergency Solutions Grant Program provides services around housing in counties such as Colleton. There is aid offered to those facing eviction as well as the homeless. This can include rental assistance or money for paying a security deposit on a new, low income apartment. The program can help with obtaining stable, affordable housing.
The Community Services Block Grant offers services and financial assistance to low-income clients in meeting both short-term and long-term household needs. This is done through Case Management and General Emergency Assistance.
Lowcountry Case Management staff provide advocacy, counseling, information on educational resources, employment, and referral services to help customers set goals and milestones. These will be used as guides in reaching a specific end in regard to improving their situations. General Emergency Financial Assistance from LCAA is designed to assist clients of the agency in meeting their temporary household emergency needs. This may include cash assistance or loans to prevent evictions; mortgage foreclosure, utility bill help, medication purchases, and more.
The state of South Carolina and federal government funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists low income-eligible households. Government grants are available for those that are experiencing difficulty with paying their home energy expenses.
LIHEAP provides financial assistance, energy education, and income management counseling to families in Colleton and Hampton. Staff from community action will also intervene with energy providers on behalf of clients. Most of the aid is for heating and gas bills.
There are other energy bill resources available as well. Programs and assistance provided by Project Share are targeted to SCE & G customers exclusively. Project Share is similar to LIHEAP in that both provide the following services:
Those applying for assistance with avoiding electric service termination are urged to contact the Lowcountry agency immediately upon receiving a disconnection notice from their utility company. Families or seniors applying for assistance with obtaining gas, fuel oil, or kerosene should contact the agency when the fuel level in the tank is down to 5 percent or less. For more information on the application process and to see if you qualify, call 843-549-5576 in Colleton County and 803-943-3561 in Hampton County.
Save money from the Weatherization Assistance Program. The non-profit works with weatherization service providers to provide qualifying homeowners with the installation of energy-saving measures, free of charge.
On average, the program might spend $6,500 per home. Over time, the money saved by the homeowner more than makes up for the cost of the upgrades. A focus is on the elderly and/or disabled in the region. All savings are documented and compared to expenditures in order to determine the efficacy of these measures.
The years from birth to age five are instrumental in a child's development. So to help during this time, Head Start is a national program that promotes school readiness by supporting and enhancing the social and cognitive development of children in this age group.
LCAA's Head Start Program currently serves hundreds of low-income families living in Hampton and Colleton Counties in South Carolina. Enrolled families benefit from health, educational, nutritional, and social programming. Parental involvement is strongly emphasized, both in the children's education and in administrative decision-making for the program itself.
Additionally, the program provides parents with access to employment and educational related opportunities that help them in reaching their own goals. As part of the overall Head Start program, Early Head Start promotes healthy prenatal outcomes, provides support for the development of infants and toddlers, and helps ensure that families function in a healthy and nurturing manner. Enrollment in any type of government program is based on several factors, including income level.
LCAA also provides programming for high school-aged children through the Youth Leadership Program. This is an enrichment program that offers cultural and educational activities geared toward the supporting youths' development into mature adult citizens who are valuable assets within the community.
For more information on these various programs, or to apply, Lowcountry Community Action is based at 319 E. Washington St., Walterboro, South Carolina 29488. In Colleton County call 843-549-5576 or in Hampton County dial 803-943-3561.
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