Many federal government and state of Virginia public assistance programs are administered by the Prince William County Department of Social Services. The organization has information on most of these resources, and case managers from DSS can help clients apply for help.
There are many government benefits and public aid programs administered. While some are available year round, others such as Fuel Assistance, are only occasionally available. All resources depend heavily on annual government allotments as well.
The Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center is a year-round shelter for single moms, families and adults. Examples of the support services include medical referrals, case management, job readiness or training programs, mental health counseling, and others. The Center is located at 14945 Jefferson Davis Highway/Route 1 in Woodbridge. Call 703-680-5403 for information.
Another option is the Winter Shelter. This is open to the Prince William County community, including single adult men and women each year. It is run from November 1 through March 31. The purpose of the cold weather shelter is to provide homeless residents with shelter from the cold and to prevent hypothermia, the flu and other cold weather-related issues. Address is 14730 Potomac Mills Road in Woodbridge. For more information, please call 703-897-0199.
The federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (previously known as the Food Stamp Program), assists low-income or working poor families with obtaining high quality food. Each qualified SNAP household is provided an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card, which can be used to purchase items (such as canned goods and fruit) at area grocery stores.
The total amount of benefits depend on factors such as the total family size and income. Applicants must furnish Social Security numbers, proof of residence, and proof of identity in the form of a driver’s license. Based on information from your application, the Department of Social Services (DSS) case worker may request more information from you.
All participants in the state of Virginia SNAP Program are also eligible to participate in the Employment and Training Program. This provides them with job training, educational services, and support such as skills assessment, personalized counseling and free access to fax machines and the internet.
Numerous other job programs are offered. SNAPET also provides clients with a number of events and workshops on subjects like preparing an effective resume and acing an interview. The main job programs are run from Virginia Workforce Center-Prince William, 13370 Minnieville Road, Woodbridge, VA 22192, dial 703-586-6800.
TANF, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, is one of the main state of Virginia and federal government public benefits. It provides short-term financial assistance to income-eligible families in the form of monthly cash payments or grants. The public aid can be used for basic needs such as food, shelter, and housing.
Other TANF programming includes Diversionary Assistance, which furnishes a one-time cash payment for families who are faced with a sudden and temporary loss of income. Another option is Transitional Assistance, which provides additional support services, such as child care vouchers, transportation, and medical bill assistance for up to 12 months after TANF benefits end.
Prince William County Department of Social Services reminds families that TANF is intended to be a temporary source of public assistance, and most families are required participate in the VIEW Employment program. This is a requirement in order to prepare for future independence.
Medical assistance is offered as part of Medicaid, also known as Virginia’s Medical Assistance Program. This program provides health insurance for low-income families, the uninsured, pregnant women, and elderly or disabled adults. For those at the end of TANF benefits, Medicaid coverage remains an option. The Family Access to Medical Insurance Security Plan (FAMIS), which is another health coverage program, is targeted at uninsured children from families who are at or below 200 percent of the Federal Government Poverty Level.
In order to enroll for programs such as TANF or Medicaid, families are required to provide support to DSS such as proof of income, birth certificates, and proof of pregnancy or disability as necessary, depending on individual circumstances.
DSS also operates a number of energy bill assistance programs for low-income residents of Prince William County. The main one, known as Fuel Assistance, helps on a seasonal basis with the costs of paying for home heating fuel, including wood, coal, gas, oil, or electricity.
As a supplement for Fuel Assistance and other heating resources, DSS also offers grants for utility bills from Crisis Assistance. Last, but not least, Cooling Assistance is also available for times of extreme heat. To make homes more energy-efficient, the Weatherization Assistance Program furnishes professionally installed home alterations.
A range of child care resources are operated by Prince William County Department of Social Services for low-income families. It is mostly for those that are working or that are in need of quality care for children under age 13 or the age 18 for children with special needs, such as the disabled.
The goals of the resource are to offer the best care for area children, while allowing parents to maintain employment, earn an income and otherwise work toward self-sufficiency. While some of the programs are limited to families enrolled in TANF or the Prince William County Schools Head Start Program, any family meeting eligibility requirements can take advantage of the child care subsidy. Availability is dependent on government funding levels, so families may be placed on a waiting list.
For more information on any of these Prince William County DSS programs, the number is 703-792-6000. A waiting list may be used for many of them, and some referrals may be provided too, such as to transitional housing or other resources.
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