Several resource centers as well as Expanded Family Support Services are available to individuals who reside in Hillsborough County Florida. These government and non-profit organizations provide several financial, cash, and public assistance programs. Resources offered range from energy bill help and food to homeless prevention and assistance for seniors.
A number of free services are offered from the Hillsborough Expanded Family Support Services (EFS). Services offered include childcare assistance, Financial Counseling, Budget and Credit Services, childcare, and Referrals to non-profits in the community.
For example, one of the services in highest demand is people trying to find a job. So Family Support Services can provide referrals to a resource known as Tampa Bay WorkForce for job search assistance. This center can provide a number of Career Support Services. Work with a case manager to create an individualized case plan to ensure goals are met, get a free in-depth interview to asses employment needs, and get help in addressing potential barriers to employment.
The resources below are oriented to providing cash to meet basic and emergency needs, such as housing and paying energy bills.
One of the primary resources in Hillsborough County is the Elderly Home Energy Assistance Program, or EHEAP for short. Funds to pay home energy bills is offered for anyone who lives in a home or apartment with someone who is over 60 years or older, and who meets income guidelines as established by this public resource. Cash and grants can be provided to senior households in Florida that have a heating or cooling bill crisis, including even trouble with an air conditioning unit or repairs.
Another primary public and federal government program is LIHEAP, or the Low Income Energy Assistance Program. Low income households who have an income less than 150% of the government poverty line may receive help for paying utility and cooling bills. Guidelines set up by the LIHEAP program, including crisis payments, can’t exceed $600 per summer or winter season.
Some of the Hillsborough County residents who qualify for help with paying energy bills include those who are on food stamps or collecting Supplemental Security Income. Applicants should call the Neighborhood Service Center nearest to you (see below) for more information or to apply.
Hillsborough County rent, mortgage, and general homeless prevention services are offered at neighborhood services centers. Qualified families can apply for public cash to use for paying shelter costs and possibly avoid eviction from their home or apartment. Case managers work at all of these centers, and they will review the individuals application to determine if they are qualified to receive rent or mortgage assistance. All cash payments will be made directly to mortgage companies and/or landlords.
Each case will be reviewed by representatives from Hillsborough County Florida. The exact amount as well as duration of the housing assistance provided will vary with each application. For example, homeowners or tenants who are experiencing an unforeseen emergency or financial hardship that is short term in nature may receive one month of assistance. On the other hand, Hillsborough County Florida residents facing a longer term hardship, in particular the disabled or those with an extended medical emergency, may receive a greater amount of assistance to pay their rent or mortgage. In addition, a case manager from the neighborhood services center will help a family get back on their feet by coordinating social services, credit repair, and other aid.
Transportation for disabled, low income and seniors may be provided. The Hillsborough County Sunshine Line can transport clients who can’t pay for their own transportation, or just do not have access to it. Free transportation services are provided primarily to Aging Services daycare, SCNAP sites, hospitals, and other medical facilities. If there is room, then transportation of non-medical trips may be offered too.
Cash and food are offered by the public Food Assistance Program (food stamps) as well as the Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA). These resources can help qualified residents purchase the food and groceries they need for good health. TCA can also provide cash to families with children to help them pay bills and provide for their basic needs. Families need to have children under the age of 18, or under age 19 if full time secondary school students, and the family needs to also have a pregnant woman in the residence. Some medical bill assistance can be provided from Medicaid as well.
Children across Hillsborough County Florida can receive free meals, including breakfast, lunch and/or an afternoon snack from the Summer Food Program. These free meals are provided from mid-June to mid-August at city and county parks, churches, YMCA day care centers, Boys & Girls Clubs, local charities that cater to children, and public housing auditoriums. Children aged 18 and under can qualify for this public food assistance program.
Receive quality, and competitively priced medical assistance, from the Hillsborough County Health Care Plan. People around the federal government poverty level (or below it) may qualify for public health care.
Many of the very low income and working poor in Hillsborough County Florida do not have health insurance, and don’t have the funds to pay their medical or doctor bills. Many clinics may ask for minimal fees and reimbursements from the patient. So what ends up happening is a health care issue becomes worse, and may result to a visit to an emergency room or some other urgent care facility. And that is expensive. The Hillsborough HealthCare program was created to address that issue, and to ultimately help contain and reduce medical costs.
Assistance for the homeless is available in Hillsborough County Florida. Case management and financial assistance is provided. Qualified families and individuals can gain access to a number of services, which can include shelter, non-supervised boarding homes, food, bus passes, and, maybe most importantly, referrals to job training and employment programs. People need to be willing and capable of gaining self-sufficiency.
Head Start/Early Head Start is available for children under 5 years of age. The county partners with individuals and families to provide quality educational opportunities for qualified children. The county also uses staffs who are committed to the physical well-being of all children and who can address social and emotional issues too.
Programs can help veterans too. A Hillsborough County agency known as Veterans Affairs can direct families and individuals to a number of federal, state, and local public assistance benefits. Case managers from the center both manage and support a number of Veteran’s activities within Hillsborough County Florida. This provides individuals with a single point of contact for government and other assistance programs. The highly trained staff also provides outreach service and other forms of support to residents across the region.
Department of Aging Services offers health services and social programs to seniors and older adults. This can encourage maximum independence of the elderly in the community, and will also help improve the quality of life for older adults as well as their caregivers.
There are several locations around the county. They can be found at:
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