A leading agency in the region, the Community Action Partnership of Orange County California, runs several programs for low income residents and the working poor. The focus of the agency is on helping families with children, however others can look into resources too. Some of the needs can be funds or credits for utility bills, food and snacks for children, school supplies, and more.
Many of the main resources are below. The CAPOC organization also relies heavily on government and private funding in order to help the less fortunate. If the agency can’t assist, then referrals may be available to other southern California charities or non-profits.
Commodity Supplemental Food Program from the Community Action Partnership provides food assistance to low-income pregnant women, new mothers, their infants and children up to age six through CSFP. The elderly (those 60+) and seniors are also eligible for the assistance program. Thousands of free CSFP food boxes are distributed via this program each month at dozens of distribution sites. Eligibility is based upon the Federal Government Poverty Guidelines.
In partnership with hundreds of local charities, churches, pantries, and community organizations, the Orange County Food Bank provides needed help in order to end hunger and malnutrition in the Southern California area. The Food Bank serves low-income families and individuals by providing USDA commodities, federal-fund purchased food, and donated groceries to different non-profit agencies in Orange County. Eligible applicants need to document that household income is at or below 150% of federal poverty level.
Students can benefit from the OC National School Lunch Program. It offers free or reduced-price lunches to eligible children in schools. Qualified clients are children from low-income families that meet federal nutrition guidelines. In general, children and students from families with income below 130% of federal poverty line are entitled to free meals, while those applicants from the southern California region with a family income between 130-185% of FPL are entitled to reduced price meals.
Numerous agencies in the region are part of Food Stamp Outreach. The Community Action Partnership of Orange County is one of them and they provide resources through the Food Stamp Outreach program. This is a federal and state of California program designed to help low-income individuals and families on limited budgets buy nutritious food for their families. The Community Action Partnership is the lead agency for a county-wide collaborative to increase enrollment into the SNAP Food Stamp Program and CalFresh. The main objective of the program is to alleviate hunger for the over 400,000 individuals and children in the Orange County who are at-risk of hunger.
There are a few Family Resource Centers whose goal is to strengthen families and the communities that surround them. The centers tend to provide an environment that helps families become safe and self-sufficient. Building healthy and strong communities is the overall goal of these centers. Get referrals to low income housing and rent assistance, SSDI disability benefits application sites, public aid, clinics, and more.
HEAP, or the Home Energy Assistance Program, provides one-time assistance to eligible clients with paying their electric or gas bill. Clients of the organization prioritize their bills and determine which type of utility bill they need help. Residents who apply need to document details required for assessment of eligibility and establishment of benefit amount which will appear as a credit on the clients’ bill. If the monthly bill is included in a portion of the clients monthly rent expense, the individual receives a check in the benefit amount.
ECIP is also called F/T (Energy Crisis Intervention Program or Fast Track). Additional utility bill assistance is from this ECIP service. This assists eligible clients who are in crisis of having their electric or natural gas service disconnected. Residents who apply from Orange County California whose utilities are included in their rent are not eligible for services of this program.
ECIP/FT pledges are called into the appropriate utility company indicating an application has been processed with the amount to postpone or stop the pending loss of service. The client who is enrolled into the ECIP program is responsible for all deposits and fees if the gas or electricity is already disconnected.
The additional, basic services of this ECIP federal government sponsored program include heater repair and replacement. Or air conditioning units can be worked on. Eligible families are homeowners from the area only. The client needs to call the Gas Company to check appliances first.
Community Action Partnership of Orange County provides assistance to eligible individuals in the form of discounts on the electric bill or gas bill via CARE/FERA (California Alternative Rates for Energy, Family Electric Rate Assistance). The utility company providing the discount to the household will determine if the individual qualifies for CARE or FERA.
CAPOC offers the Weatherization programs to lower utility bills. It will also address safety and increase comfort in the home. Income eligible homeowners and renters are entitled to free services through programs offered by The Southern California and LIHEAP/ECIP (federally funded programs). LIHEAP program provides basic weatherization, health and safety repairs and additional minor home repairs.
The services from the conservation program include Caulking- Faucet Aerators, Weather-Stripping – Low Flow Showerheads, Extra Free Attic Insulation, Duct Testing and Sealing, Combustion Air Ventilation, Window - Glass Replacement, CO Detectors – Programmable Thermostats, Duct Repair and Replacement, Water Heater Replacement or Repair, and Furnace improvements and work when needed.
Southern California Gas Company (SOCAL GAS) will also offer free weatherization for both renters and homeowners. Assistance may include glass and exterior door replacement or free furnace repair. The SOCAL program is available to income eligible renters and homeowners. Many of the same improvements as noted above can be done to the home, such as weather Stripping, Low Flow Showerheads and/or Attic Insulation.
Refrigerator Replacement is rare, but may be available to eligible clients, based on guidelines. This free service consists of removing and disposing of the participants old refrigerator (or maybe freezer) and replacing it with a new one.
Other utility assistance is for qualified low-income homes. They can use a home energy assistance credit to pay for the current bill or to prevent a pending loss of their power or electricity service. The credit is applied directly to the gas or the customer’s electrical bill. Households can only receive financial assistance or a grant at most once per year.
Case managers and credit counselors from CAPOC tends to increase awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit. In partnership with the California Financial Stability Alliance, Community Action Partnership helps low-income families and individuals to get more money back each year via Earned Income Tax Credit program.
Backpacks for Success is for students. It has the objective of supplying needy children and low income students with the basic necessities for a successful education. Each child will receive a backpack with erasers, pencils, colored pencils, glue sticks, notebooks, paper, and other grade appropriate items. Additionally, each child’s pack will include nutritious food items and snacks.
Health Care Access from CAPOC (Community Action Partnership of Orange County) helps families and children to reduce a symptom of poverty through the Healthy Families and Medi-Cal Program. The statewide program is designed to increase outreach, enrollment utilization and retention into local the healthcare delivery system. Eligible low to moderate income families are encouraged to join the program with the help of polite social workers. Referrals to other healthcare programs are also available. Those programs are Access for Infants and Mothers, Child Health & Disability Prevention Program, California Kids, and Public Health Clinics and Community Clinics.
There are a few main sites/offices in the area. The locations are.
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