When you need help or a job, your local community action agency is a great resource. Dozens of centers are located in West Virginia. Case managers from the locations can provide emergency financial assistance, cash grants, self-sufficiency programs, employment services and more to the less fortunate.
Funding will vary by location, and services are generally offered on a first come-served basis to those who qualify. Many West Virginia agencies focus their attention on families with children and seniors, however anyone who meets qualifications may be able to receive assistance.
An education is very important to increasing your income and/or obtaining employment. Many community agencies partner with other non-profit community-based organizations to provide services such as GED and classroom instruction. Centers can often provide free school supplies (such as backpacks) to low-income children whose families are unable to afford them.
Transportation may be provided for individuals who do not have a car, or if their automobile is in need of repairs. Rides can be offered for a short period of time to their place of employment. Or the Educational Transportation Program provides transportation services to individuals for job training and/or educational purposes.
Educational opportunities are available. These will assists clients and the unemployed with job skill development. Services can help prepare youth and adults for their future. Resources also support job-seekers in retraining and securing meaningful employment through networking and partnerships with area businesses. Employment and education programs include the following.
Employment and training programs are offered in partnership with the state, local agencies, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Resources are offered to people who want to improve their work-related skills, who are seeking work, or even to residents who want greater financial stability and income that comes with a better job.
These job training and employment programs also provide assistance to employers as well who need highly trained and qualified employees. Delivery of services is structured from regional One-Stop centers, and businesses or individuals can stop by those locations as well.
Some of the services available range from paying for training to just offering information about local job listings. Case managers can offer assessment, career counseling, job referrals, a review of a client’s education and skill levels, assistance with obtaining occupational credentials or educational certificates, supportive services, job placement assistance and more. Many programs are designed to meet the abilities and needs of individual clients. Read more job training in West Virginia.
The Community Services Block Grant is one of the main resources offered. It is created by federal and state government funds, and it can provide financial assistance to low-income, elderly, and disabled persons. These funds are used to assist agencies with their mission of helping people and changing lives. Many non-profits can provide direct payments to qualified low income residents.
Cash grants can be provided for utility bills, rent, medications, food, and in some locations eyeglass and prescriptions costs. When donations and funds are available, some centers may have more household type products, which can include baby items and items such as diapers, baby food, and formula.
Other CSBG programs may include the following. Emergency clothing assistance may be offered for people who need a job or children who need it for school. A clothing allowance or vouchers may be offered to victims of fire or flood. Other services paid for may be GED preparation, resume and job search assistance, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, Senior Nutrition, Low-Income Energy Assistance, and Optical Care.
Emergency food pantries are located throughout West Virginia, and your local community action agency will have information on them and may even donate to their operations. Staff distribute supplemental foodstuffs, perishable items as well as USDA commodities to qualified clients in order to assist them in meeting their daily nutritional requirements. In some pantries garden seeds are available for distribution during growing season to qualified individuals and are used to supplement a family’s nutritional needs.
Low Income Energy Assistance Program assists qualified households with the cost of paying their home heating bills. It will provide payments to utility companies on your behalf or direct cash payments. A crisis component is available as well (see below). The West Virginia LIEAP program is funded entirely by a federal government block grant, and the amount available will change from year to year.
The West Virginia Energy Crisis Intervention Program is a component of LIHEAP. It provides financial assistance for residences that do not have any heating service during the winter. Not only can it provide money for paying gas, kerosene, and electricity bills, but the ECIP program is also intended to address severely malfunctioning or non-operable heating systems or furnaces for households.
Emergency financial assistance is often available. Many community action agencies partner with churches or local charity organizations. Funds and grants can offer assistance with utility bills, including water, gas, electric, oil, propane and kerosene payments. Some agencies may provide grants, in partnership with the United Way and other organizations, from the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.
The Dollar Energy Fund is one of West Virginia’s primary energy assistance programs. The non-profit organization has been working to improve the quality of life for unemployed and struggling households experiencing financial hardships. The fund can provide utility and heating bill assistance, support, guidance and other services that lead to long term self-sufficiency. Representatives from the non-profit can also work on your behalf with utility companies to explore payment plans and other options.
After School Meal Programs provide free, nutritious, hot meals to help children and students get the nutrition they need to learn and grow throughout the school year. Most of the aid is offered to children and students under the age of 18, and meals are served at numerous after-school sites located throughout West Virginia. Many of the locations also offer educational, life skill and homework assistance activities.
Discount prescription medications or vouchers may be offered. One resource available is the 340B federal government discount drug program. It currently offers qualified low income or uninsured families with access to the least expensive medications. It really targets those high priced, non-generic drugs that people may need for life threatening conditions. Many pharmacies also participate in numerous pharmaceutical manufacturer indigent drug programs that provide medications to qualified low income or uninsured patients for a small service fee. These services will help ensure people are offered the lowest prices available for their medications. This assistance is generally provided to recipients when no other payment options are available. Verification from a physician of emergency need and referral from West Virginia DHHR are often required.
A similar service is the Patient Assistance Program. This provides medication for qualifying uninsured patients without prescription drug coverage. Case managers will help people complete the paperwork needed by the drug companies and manufacturers. Clients will often work with a so called patient advocate, who will help them fill out and submit the necessary forms. This is offered for qualified patients and can assist them with acquiring their needed medications from the pharmaceutical company’s drug programs.
Weatherization Services will assist in reducing expenses for low-income and working poor families by improving the energy efficiency of their homes. A side benefit will also address health and safety concerns of a homeowner. Typical weatherization resources offered include some or all of the following. Attic insulation and sealing, dense pack sidewall insulation; Duct testing, repair and sealing; Furnace modification and retrofit; Primary air sealing and blower door standards; Hot water talk and pipe insulation; Floor and Duct insulation. Some agencies may even use government grants to pay for window repair. Furnace, water heater and refrigerator replacement are also possible if warranted.
Your community action agency, which processes applications for weatherization, will employ trained crews to install improvements in low-income homes. It will enhance overall energy efficiency and conservation measures as prescribed by energy audits and diagnostic testing. The home must be structurally adaptable for weatherization materials. The specific work done on each home is dependent upon the need discovered thorough pre and post-work inspections.
Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program is a time limited program. It may have financial assistance and cash grants to income eligible households. Applicants will need to be on the verge of eviction or have fiscal burdens that have contributed to homelessness.
Financial assistance offered may include payment of back rent, moving costs, current and back utilities, security deposits, and short and medium term rental assistance. Some utility expenses paid for include heat, sewer, electricity, water, and garbage collection.
Clients will also need to enroll in case management services. This is offered to assist individuals/families with employment assistance, life skills, money management, credit repair, parenting, and referrals to other non-profit and government community resources.
Senior Centers provide older adults an opportunity to socialize with others. Many activities are offered, including the distribution of a free, hot nutritious meal. Many centers also offer access to computers, exercise equipment, a dining and recreation area, and more. Agencies may coordinate assisted transportation, telephoning, trainings, and health screenings. If someone can’t make it to a center in West Virginia, then look into the Home Delivered Meal Program. It was designed to provide free meals to residents who are homebound and unable to shop or cook. Not only does the client receive a hot nutritious meal delivered to their home, but they are receiving contact from the driver who can check in on them.
Home Repair and Preservation is offered to address safety concerns, especially for seniors and elderly in West Virginia. Agencies can coordinate and maybe offer grants to pay for the repair, renovating or rehabilitating homes that have safety hazards. Some low to moderate income homeowners can also apply for the Housing Emergency Loan Program (HELP). These funds can be used to provide low interest loans to help repair, rehabilitate, or renovate homes that have safety hazards such as a windows, siding, or roof.
Having safe and affordable housing is one of the most important steps in stabilizing a family and it can also assist them with their move toward self-sufficiency. Some agencies provide lower interest loans or grants to qualifying customers to assist in both the repair and even the purchase of housing.
First Time Home Buyer programs can assist families and individuals in obtaining affordable housing. Counselors can provide advice, suggestions, and hold workshops on the process. As funding allows, grants can be issued to help cover down payments and closing cost assistance. Any money is distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis in each county and jurisdiction in West Virginia, and any aid is limited to funding availability.
Housing Counseling Programs are often arranged. These can be held as a one-on-one session or held in a group setting. The Homebuyer Education Workshop, which can be arranged by community action agencies, can guide a potential homeowner in the home buying process. This can include addressing budgeting and credit issues, purchase readiness, help with obtaining a mortgage loan, advice on predatory lending, and home maintenance.
Credit counseling services can offer techniques and plans to maintain and/or improve your credit score. The program provides clients with free or low cost support. At the end of a session, individuals may be enrolled into debt management plans. Or if someone is looking to buy a home, they may be provided with a housing counseling certificate that can be used for various home mortgage programs.
Financial counseling, and improving overall literacy, is very important to long term stability. Community action agencies can help with this need as well. Learn how to improve your credit scores and clear issues your reports. They will often work with agencies to coordinate personal and family budgeting counseling. Work with a case manager and counselor on family financial records assistance, such as establishing checking and savings accounts.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance centers help older taxpayers and low to moderate income level residents of any age prepare and file their returns. This is done for free. Representatives will assist individuals and families with preparing and filing, screen for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit eligibility. They will also go over with you the ins and outs of the tax code to ensure you receive every benefit that you are entitled too. VITA offers both federal and state of West Virginia tax return preparation as well as direct deposits and electronic filing.
West Virginia Saves is helping families build wealth through the reduction of debt and building savings. Credit counselors will provide the tools and tips needed in order to help people reach their personal financial goals and improve their finances.
Case Management services are offered by most centers. They will provide intensive, individual assistance to families and individual. Case managers will work with you to address key issues and provide clients with supportive services to overcome barriers to self-sufficiency. They will assist in overcome the identified challenges. You will be able to create short and long term goals to address any obstacles towards self-sufficiency, employment, and fiscal challenges.
Early childhood development is offered by Head Start. This was created by the federal government, and it offers comprehensive child development, education, and health care for children birth to 5 years old. The goal of the Early and/or Head Start programs are to enhance children's social, physical, emotional, and intellectual development. It will to support parents' efforts to fulfill their parental roles and help families move toward self-sufficiency. Services are individualized by the state and local West Virginia schools in order to meet the specific needs and developmental levels of the enrollees. Most centers will also provide support for children with disabilities. Case managers will also partner with parents’ in their efforts to fulfill their roles and provide other social services, such as career counseling and public aid.
Referrals are offered to government and private resources. Get information on, or how to sign up for Right From The Start, which is care for parents and babies, Food stamps, WV Children's Health Insurance, The Gabriel Project (which is support to pregnant women and families with infants and young children) and another resource known as WV Birth to Three, which is early intervention services and support to families with children at risk of developmental disabilities.
Capital Resource Agency, Inc.
Address - 413 D Street
South Charleston, West Virginia 25303
Telephone number - (304) 720-5413
One of the primary non-profit agencies in the region. Services available include homeless prevention and housing counseling. Low income families can also apply for LIHEAP energy bill assistance at the center. Other assistance may be rental, housing vouchers, and funds for paying security deposits. Provides services for the counties and regions of Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, and Putnam. More information.
Central West Virginia Community Action Association, Inc.
Mailing address - P.O. Box 1070
Clarksburg, WV 26302-1070
Telephone: (304) 622-8495
Supports counties of Harrison and Lewis.
3136 West Street
Weirton, West Virginia 26062
Supports counties of Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, and Brooke. Click here.
Coalfield Community Action Partnership, Inc. or Mingo County.
P.O. Box 1406
Williamson, WV 25661
The vast majority of programs are focused on Mingo County, but there can be other services, such as weatherization, for other regions such as Kanawha or Boone. Other resources include emergency rental assistance from Supportive Services for Veterans, clothing vouchers, and information and referrals to benefits such as SNAP in West Virginia. More on Coalfield Community Action Agency Partnership.
Community Action of Southeastern West Virginia
Mailing address: 307 Federal Street, Ste. 323
Bluefield, WV 24701
Counties - Mercer, Monroe, Summers. Read more.
Community Resources, Inc.
Location - 601 Avery Street
Parkersburg, WV 26101
Call (304) 485-5525 for intake
Agency supports counties of Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Pleasants, Ritchie, Tyler, Wetzel, Wirt, Wood, Jackson, and Roane, so this community action center covers a wide area. It provides employment referrals and training, and information on government assistance, such as Head Start and food stamps. Cash assistance, or maybe loans may be issued for some expenses such as utility bills, back rent payments or medications. More on Community Resources community action agency.
Council of the Southern Mountains
Mailing address - PO Box 85
Northfork, WV 24895
Telephone: (304) 862-3144
Eastern West Virginia Community Action Agency
401 Maple Avenue
Moorefield, West Virginia 26836
Supports people in counties of Grant, Pendleton, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, and Morgan. Various social services and emergency aid is offered. More on programs from Eastern West Virginia Community Action Agency.
Mountain CAP of West Virginia, Inc.
Main address is 26 North Kanawha Street - Suite 201
Buckhannon, WV 26201
Telephone: (304) 472-1500
Counties are Upshur, Webster, and Braxton.
While many programs are run by this community action agency, of particular focus is on homeless prevention. The non-profit runs an eviction assistance program known as HPRP, operates low income housing, assists with utility bills, and may even have funds for other housing costs, such as rent. Other aid is also provided. More Mountain CAP.
Mountain Heart Community Services, Inc. of Wyoming County
Mailing address is P.O. Box 1509
Oceana, WV 24870
Call (304) 682-8271
Apply for resources such as weatherization or job training. Case managers will help the unemployed, seniors, and others get the help they need.
Nicholas County Community Action Partnership, Inc.
Address - 1205 Broad Street
Summersville, WV 26651
Telephone: (304) 872-1162. Numerous services are available. Read more.
North Central West Virginia Community Action Association
1304 Goose Run Road
Fairmont, WV 26554
Telephone: (304) 363-2170
Regions are in the northern part of the state, and include counties of Barbour, Greenbrier, Taylor, Marion, Monongalia, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph, and Tucker County. Find more details.
PRIDE Community Services
P.O. Box 1346
Logan, West Virginia 25601
Phone - (304) 752-6868
Counties – Logan
Raleigh County Community Action Association, Inc.
Mailing address - P.O. Box 3066
East Beckley Station
Beckley, WV 25801
They offer several programs to the low income, including the Project for Assistance in Transitioning Out of Homelessness as well as help for car repairs in the form of discounts. Applications for heating bill assistance and other resources are provided too. More Raleigh County Community Action Association.
Southwestern Community Action Council, Inc.
Office address - 540 5th Avenue
Huntington, WV 25701
Counties covered are Cabell, Lincoln, Mason, and Wayne. A shelter system addresses housing and eviction prevention. There are also emergency financial aid programs, job training from the Senior Community Service Employment Program, and other resources from the community action agency. Learn more.
Location is 891 Auto Parts Place
Martinsburg, West Virginia 25403
Telephone: (304) 263-0916
Provides low income assistance and services to the counties of Berkeley and Jefferson.
They serve the part of the state area. It is a community action agency that provides many services to low income families. They assist the under and unemployed, offer job training, and even have emergency financial aid or loans in West Virginia. Read more.
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