Tennessee community community action programs.

Programs offered from a community action agency focus on providing short term assistance and long term self-sufficiency to Tennessee families. If you are struggling and need help in an emergency then these non-profits may be an option for you. Get assistance in applying for grants to pay bills and provide for basic needs. Clients will also usually be signed up for case management and other self-sufficiency support that is available from the agencies listed below in Tennessee, such as job training or financial counseling.

Most of the agencies have limited funding, and the types of programs they offer can change. Some of the more common examples of what can be offered in Tennessee are below. Receive more information on services offered by calling a center.

Government grants for bills and emergency needs

The Community Service Block Grant Program is the name given to many of the resources offered. It can provide a range of activities, services, and assistance programs to eligible low-income individuals and families. Any type of aid distributed is offered to help people achieve self-sufficiency over the mid to long term. Some examples of what CSBG can pay for include:

  • Food and nutrition - The community action agency can distribute surplus USDA agricultural commodities to the needy, children, and senior citizens.
  • Home Repair and rehabilitation is offered for low income homeowners, in particular seniors. A focus is normally on homes that have safety issues.
  • Emergency assistance - This can include one-time cash grant payments to individuals or families in order to help them pay for emergency needs and bills. Examples can be money to pay rent (if faced with an eviction) or the federal government and state of Tennessee Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

The Commodity Food Program is offered in partnership with the U. S. Department of Agriculture. It distributes surplus foods to qualifying low income households a few times per year. Many local charities, churches, and organizations like the Salvation Army in Tennessee participate as well. Eligibility for the commodity food program will be based on total household income as well as number of family members.




Qualified individuals can typically receive 40-45 pounds of food. The box may contain canned fruits and vegetables, rice, beans, corn, juice, soup, spaghetti, powdered milk, nuts, peanut butter, dried fruit, and similar items. Any assistance is offered on a first come, first served basis as resources are limited.

USDA Commodities enable low-income families to stretch their grocery dollars. Items are usually distributed from a number of locations throughout the state. Volunteers and local agencies donate their time and effort to the program as well.

Housing rehabilitation may be offered. Government grants and/or low interest rate loans are used to rehabilitate homes and to bring them into compliance with the International Building Code. Many people, in particular the elderly, are able to continue to live in their homes and remain independent from the repairs. As indicated, priority is given to disabled low income homeowners or the elderly.

HOME Services is a similar resource. It also promotes the production, preservation and rehabilitation of housing units for the very low income. Low income and/or disabled applicants must occupy the home and they also need to possess a deed verifying ownership of property. Mobile homes can be replaced or repaired as well.

Community action agencies in Tennessee accept applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program/LIHEAP. It will provide a cash grant, or credit, on your monthly utility, heating, or electric bills. If you are faced with a shut off of your power, then the Energy Crisis intervention component provides services to qualified households which are subject to disconnection and life-threatening conditions. If your health is at risk without immediate intervention, then look into LIHEAP crisis grants.

The objective of the LIHEAP program is to aid working poor, seniors, and low-income households with the high cost of home heating or air conditioning bills. People may apply at designated times each year, and it is usually in the September timeframe. For the crisis component referenced above, clients need to have a disconnect notice for their utilities or have less than a 30-day supply of home heating fuel.




Other energy bill assistance programs may be offered as well. Many centers offer emergency help with paying utility bills. They use funding sources such as the federal government Emergency Food and Shelter Program and local utility company programs as well, such as Share the Warmth.

Free energy efficiency improvements are part of the Weatherization Assistance Program. While the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides funding to Tennessee, the program is administered in your local town and county. It will help reduce heating and cooling bills. The improvements made to your home are permanent, so they help reduce utility bills year after year.

Funds and grants from the government are used to improve the energy performance of homes or apartments of needy Tennessee families, and all of this is done as part of weatherization. Contractors will use the most advanced technologies and testing protocols available to ensure the effectiveness. Homeowners can receive updates such as insulation, caulking, and heating or cooling system tune ups.

The Summer Food Program is for children, teenagers and students. It will make sure that during the summer months children and students from low income families have good nutritious meals available to them. This is meant to replace the meals that students usually get from food served during the school year through breakfast and lunch programs.

Community Services are available across the state. They are usually funded primarily by the Community Services Block Grant (see above) and receive additional support from the Tennessee Department of Human Services. The community action agency centers provide emergency services in the form of vouchers to prevent utility disconnect notices, limited help with paying rent or mortgage, food, and more.Emergency support can also include USDA Surplus Commodity food and medications. At the same time someone uses these community services, they will usually need to sign up for job placement services and other social services.

Rental and housing assistance is offered as part of the Tennessee Housing Choice Voucher Program. Government aid helps low income families obtain safe and sanitary housing in the state at an affordable price. Learn more on Section 8 housing in Tennessee.

The state of Tennessee Medical-Support Program provides assistance to those who do not have prescription drug or adequate health insurance coverage. The program, and your local community action agency, also helps eligible participants with receiving health care supplies.

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program is administered by many community action agencies. This federal government grant program assists families or individuals with special emergency needs for rental, mortgage, or utility bill assistance. Money from the state of Tennessee and federal entities pay for it, and the agencies can help people locate financial assistance by state or county.

Nutrition Programs are offered as part of the Tennessee Emergency Food Assistance Program as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agencies can provide canned goods and non-perishable food items to eligible people and families. The program also teaches proper nutrition and helps participants make wise decisions with their food stamp vouchers.

Community action agency job, employment, and educational services

The Educational Opportunity Center is another federal government program and is paid for by the U.S. Department of Education. This resource is targeted at low-income, potential first generation college clients. It will assist those students who do not have a high school diploma, and the program will help them earn a GED. After that occurs, the goal is to enable those with diplomas or the equivalent to enroll in college, job training or technical programs. The state of Tennessee and the EOC provides assistance in completing forms such as financial aid applications and admission paperwork. The project also provides additional services to students including career assessment, GED pre-testing, referrals for basic computer skills, tutoring, and college loan default help.




Some locations may refer to this service as Upward Bound, and it is very similar. It will identify first-generation and low-income students with potential for education at post-secondary level. It will encourage them to complete high school as well as apply for college or additional job training.

The main employment and job training program in Tennessee is the Workforce Investment Act. There is also a component that focuses on youth. The main purpose of the program is to provide individuals and the youth across Tennessee with services, education, and experience to enhance their future employability. A broad range of coordinated services are available to assist the youth in meeting their career and academic goals. The Workforce Investment Act/WIA can provide for the following.

  • Tutoring and studies skills to youth and people going back to school
  • Paid and unpaid work experience and internships
  • Alternative secondary school services
  • Guidance, case management and counseling services
  • Basic computer skills training
  • Adult mentoring
  • Summer and holiday employment
  • Leadership development skills and enhancement
  • Occupational skills training
  • Ongoing support services are provided for one year after completion of the program
  • Resume review and development

The goal of WIA is to improve the opportunity for everyone on the economic ladder. Case managers, teachers, and volunteers will work with individuals in Tennessee and empower them. Services will help them  contribute to the economy in the way that they are most capable. Non-profit agencies provide workforce investment activities through the Tennessee Career Center system. There have been proven success in increasing the employment, retention, and earnings of customers. After all, having a job reduces the individual’s dependency on government or financial assistance, including welfare. It also increases the job opportunities and productivity of the client. Click here more information.

Senior Employment Services can help residents who are fifty-five years of age or older and who are looking for work. Priority is for those who are economically disadvantaged. Your agency on aging or community action office can coordinate training and supervision while the clients seeks employment.

The Head Start Program is the main federal government funded educational and child development program. It was created years ago in an effort to meet the educational, nutritional, mental, and social needs of children under the age of 5. Head Start can help all children succeed, regardless of the background or culture. Their parents can also take part in social services and job training that may be available to them. It also aims to make parents better caregivers and teachers for their children. Special Services are offered to help meet the special needs of children with disabilities.

Programs for seniors in Tennessee

Centers can refer seniors to, and work closely with, the Tennessee Office on Aging. The program provides a variety of informational services for the elderly, senior citizens, caregivers, and their family members. Examples of what can be offered includes Outreach, Information on programs such as Medicare; and Telephone Reassurance.

A limited Homemaker Service is available in some parts of Tennessee for frail, low-income elderly. This can provide them with transportation and shopping assistance. Other resources include counseling on Medicare choices, such as prescription drug plans. Even surprisingly, a pet food program is provided at some non-profit agencies to assist low-income seniors with securing pet food.





Mobile Meals are offered for the homebound. This is usually done between a local church, community action agencies, and charities such as the Salvation Army. Volunteers and others provides a midday meal to residents 60 years or older who are confined to their homes. Meals on Wheels are also offered for those who are unable to prepare meals for themselves for various reasons. Priority is given to those with the greatest need, with priority for seniors and the disabled in Tennessee. Find how to apply for Meals on Wheels.

A similar service is Congregate Meals. These can be free or low cost breakfast or midday meals for seniors. Meals are served at several congregate dining sites throughout the state.

Case management, guidance, and self-sufficiency

The locations are a great place for information, referrals, and linkage to government programs and other resources in Tennessee. Case managers can answer inquiries and questions about available services. They can make referrals to community programs and public aid.

Case Management Programs are a core service. These were created to help clients identify and overcome barriers preventing stability and economic self-sufficiency. Specialists can provide Comprehensive Family Case Management to the unemployed and also working households. The Elderly and Disabled services promote stability for this segment of the population as well.

The Individual Development Program (IDA) is a matched savings account and asset-building tool. This resource allows qualifying low income and struggling families the ability to save earned income for the purpose of saving for post secondary education or buying a first time home. Each client needs to complete an Individual Savings Plan, which lists a savings goal. Clients also need to complete a financial literacy education plan, attend credit counseling, and similar services.

Locations and addresses of community action agencies

Anderson County Community Action , Inc.
Address - 149 N. Main Street
Clinton, Tennessee 37716-3607
Telephone number - (865) 457-5500, or click more information.

Blount County Community Action Agency, Inc.
Location is 3509 Tuckaleechee Pike
Maryville, TN 37803
Dial (865) 983-8411
A number of services are offered by the non-profit. Sign up for job training and employment services. Other short term aid and grants may be available as part of LIHEAP or home repair programs. Find more information.




Bradley-Cleveland Community Services Agency
155 6th Street SE
Cleveland, TN 37320-3297
(423) 479-4111

Chattanooga Human Service Department
Main address is 501 W. 12th Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402
(423) 757-5551
Supports the Hamilton County region. Case managers will help people gain self-sufficiency. Assistance is offered in the form of credit counseling, information on emergency financial assistance, and more. Low income individuals can apply for other resources as well, such as LIHEAP, food stamps or government grants for back rent expenses. Click more information.

Clarksville-Montgomery County Community Action Agency
150 Lafayette Road
Clarksville, TN 37042
Call (931) 896-1800 for intake. Or read more.

Delta Human Resource Agency
915 Highway 51 S.
Covington, TN 38019
(901) 476-5226
Covers the counties of Fayette, Tipton, Lauderdale. Many services are offered by the non-profit community action agency, and locate help from Delta Human Resource Agency.

Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority, Inc.
Main address is 534 East First North Street
Morristown, TN 37814
Call (423) 587-4500
Supports the counties and regions of Grainger, Cocke, Hamblen, Jefferson, Sevier, and Monroe.

East Tennessee Human Resources Agency
Location is 9111 Cross Park Drive, Suite D-100
Knoxville, Tennessee 37923
Call (865) 691-2551
Low income programs are offered for families and individuals in Campbell, Morgan, Scott, Union, and Claiborne County. They coordinate home delivered meals for the elderly and seniors, legal aid, process section 8 vouchers in Tennessee, and coordinate other resources. Click programs from East Tennessee Human Resources Agency.

Highland Rim Economic Corporation
Mailing address is P.O. Box 208
Erin, Tennessee 37061
(931) 289-4101
Counties - Dickson, Stewart, Humphreys, Houston.
Everything from Emergency Grants to food, Head Start, and other programs are run by the community action agency. Find assistance from Highland Rim Economic Corporation.

Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee
Mailing address is P.O. Box 51650
Knoxville, TN 37950-1650
(865) 546-3500
Apply for homeless prevention, emergency rent assistance, and government assistance, including LIHEAP energy bill assistance and weatherization. A number of services are provided for seniors and the working poor. Access career counseling and employment opportunities as well. The homeless can look into funds to pay security deposits or first months rent from community action agency programs such as Project Succeed. Food, Head Start, and help for seniors is also administered. Continue.




Metropolitan Action Commission
Main address - 800 2nd Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37201
Telephone - (615) 862-8860
Provides a wide range of assistance to all of Davidson County. Emergency financial aid, case management, food, and basic needs are a focus. Other resources for qualified low income may be loans for paying expenses such as rent to prevent an eviction and referrals. Learn more on community action programs in Davidson County.

Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency
P.O. Box 310
Lebanon, Tennessee 37088-0130
Primary telephone - (615) 742-1113
Helps people in several counties, including Cheatham, Wilson, Sumner, Trousdale, Rutherford, Williamson, and Robertson.

Mid-East Community Action Agency
Mailing address is P.O. Box 790
Kingston, TN 37763
(865) 354-0451
Counties supported - Loudon, Roane

Northwest Tennessee Economic Development Council
Location is 231 South Wilson Street
Dresden, Tennessee 38225-
Telephone number is (731) 364-3228
Covers the NW part of the state. This includes the towns and counties of Carroll, Crockett, Benton, Dyer, Gibson, Obion, Henry, Weakley, and Lake.

Shelby County Community Services Agency
Main address - 100 N. Main Building, Suite 1300
Memphis, TN 38103-0513
Telephone number - (901) 545-4630
Resources offered include housing counseling, Head Start, and other government grant programs.

South Central Human Resource Agency
Location is 1437 Winchester Highway
Fayetteville, TN 37344
Call (931) 433-7182
Several counties offered are Bedford, Franklin, Coffee, Giles, Lawrence, Lewis, Hickman, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore, Perry, Wayne, and Maury Counties. To find how to apply for a grant, medical assistance, housing, or other aid from this community action agency, click South Central Human Resource Agency programs.

Southeast Tennessee Human Resource Agency
Address - 312 Resource Road
Dunlap, TN 37327
(423) 949-2191 ext. 124
Counties include Bledsoe, Grundy, McMinn, Meig, Marion, Sequatchie, Polk, Rhea.

Southwest Human Resource Agency
1527 White Avenue
Henderson, TN 38340-0264
Dial (731) 989-5111 for intake.
Supports counties of Chester, Decatur, Hardin, Hardeman, Henderson, Madison, McNairy, and Haywood. Click here.

Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency
580 South Jefferson Avenue, Suite B
Cookeville, Tennessee 38501
Call (931) 528-1127
If you live in Cumberland, Fentress, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, White, Cannon, Dekalb, Van Buren, or Warren and need help with bills, food or a job, call the non-profit agency for information on what they can offer.

Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency, Inc.
301 Louis Street
Kingsport, Tennessee 37662
Main number is (423) 246-6180
Counties are Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington.






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