Low income families in the parishes of Plaquemines, St. Tammy, and St. Bernard can call upon local non-profits for help. Maybe the leading organization is the St. Tammany Parish Community Action Association. They are part of the nationwide network of centers that focuses on assisting the less fortunate.
Assistance mostly resolves around addressing housing issues, which can include rental, shelter and security deposit assistance. Case managers will also work with those facing eviction and the homeless to locate a shelter or new, affordable transitional housing. Other community action programs are noted below, and may include LIHEAP applications, Head Start, and self-sufficiency training.
Must of the funding from the agency is part of the national CSBG - Community Services Block Grant. These are federal government funds from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and they can they can be used to pay for other programs where other program may be short. The Louisiana Department of Labor is a key participant in the CSBG distribution as well.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is for paying utility bills, including both during the winter and hot Louisiana summer. The primary purpose is to assist very low income and working poor households with paying their annual utility bills. These applications will be taken by appointment only. Any financial aid is paid out to clients is on a first come, first served basis with priority for the disabled, seniors over 60, and households with young children in them under 5 years of age.
How much LIHEAP pays out is determined by the number of people living in the home, total household income, the total cost of the utility bill, and whether the applicant receives a discount on their account. In Louisiana, the Tammany Parish Community Action Association is allowed to pay out at most three separate benefits to the family over the course of the year.
The agency will try to coordinate transportation for free or lower rates. This was created in an effort to transport eligible low-income individuals, welfare recipients, or people with a broken car to and from jobs and activities related to their employment, such as training. It helps to fill the gaps that exist in many local parishes between the residential homes of the low income and some of the nearby employment opportunities.
Housing assistance is wide ranging and can be help for rent, shelter, and transitional housing. There are resources for homeless families which can also assist with finding and paying for permanent housing or security deposits in parishes such as Plaquemines or St. Tammany. The agency works to reduce or prevent evictions and address the housing crisis in Louisiana.
The parish Transitional Housing resources offer a wide range of services. St. Tammany Parish Community Action Association coordinates counseling, life skills training, help for job searches, employment training, education, transportation to an interview, and budget management. Since funding is limited in the area, in some cases a loan may be issued to the client. They can use that money for expenses such as rent or transportation, and the funds provide them time to gain stability in their lives.
The Emergency Shelter Grants Program is one part of the continuum of assistance to enable homeless residents move toward independent living. The center and its staff work to stop the crisis from expanding. Aid is for those with a foreclosure, eviction or utility cut-off notice. The emergency can’t be of their doing and the applicant needs to have a good chance to pay the rent or utility bill on their own in the future, after they get stability and self-sufficiency services.
Overcome barriers with the Family Self Sufficiency Program. Specialists from the community action agency work with household members to develop a plan of action that is uniquely designed for each clients and their needs. Goals are set, measures, and a partnership is formed.
FSS can provide activities such as education, GEDs, information on a job training program in the region such as St. Bernard or Tammany and more. Several budgeting workshops and credit repair sessions are also sponsored as part of case management.
The Weatherization Assistance Program is also an important resource. It assists low-income households with saving money on their cooling or heating bills by providing them with free home energy and efficiency services.
After someone applies and is determined to be eligible, an auditor completes an inspection of the home for health, energy and safety concerns. Work will be done by approved, insured local Louisiana contractors at no cost to the occupants. It may include repairs, adding insulation, weather-stripping, furnace tune ups and other updates. Similar to LIHEAP, the state will focus on households with members who are disabled, elderly and that have young children.
St. Tammany Head Start is a comprehensive educational program for children. The state of Louisiana Head Start program provides medical, educational, dental and health care services to young children/students. It also provides parents social services and information on local opportunities.
Louisiana Housing Finance Agency as well as the Neighbor Works America offer low cost (or maybe free) foreclosure counseling. HUD-approved counselors provide information, guidance and assistance to families to stop or reverse a foreclosure. Clients can review mortgage assistance from options such as Making Home Affordable Program, modifications, or mediation with their lender.
Several parishes are supported by the St. Tammany Parish Community Action Association. Address is Slidell, Louisiana 70459-1609, call (985) 646-2090.
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