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Assistance programs from Alabama community action agencies.

Assistance programs and self-sufficiency services are provided by non-profit community action agencies listed below. Resources are for families and individuals in Alabama who need help or who are faced with a crisis. Case managers will partner with clients to help them overcome barriers to employment or self-sufficiency. As that is occurring, some short term financial aid may be offered for paying bills, housing, food, and other basic needs.

The exact resources and funding available by each location will vary. However almost every center in Alabama will work with the unemployed and low income in some capacity. So when you are facing a hardship or need support, call a local non-profit agency.

Programs for children, including Head Start in Alabama

The nation’s primary Child Development Program is Head Start. This is offered for infants and children from low income families, and it is a quality, comprehensive program that includes health, educational, and nutritional services. It also includes parent involvement and provides them with access to social services. All of the services are designed to prepare children ages 1-5 for entry into Alabama public schools. Children with disabilities, as well as a home-based model, are available in some towns and counties.

The main goal is to encourage and allow each child to learn and prepare them for school and future success. All of this is done at their own pace. Head Start clients also get linkage to free or low cost medical care and dental care services.

As part of Head Start, social workers offer parents Family Services. Staff will work with families in setting goals, help them learn about government and state resources, and support participants during times of crisis. This also includes availability of information on a variety of ways for parents to increase their knowledge about children's issues. Also access employment services for those looking for a new job, or increased income.

On-site services are offered at many schools. These are available for children with special needs such as developmental delays or speech/language disabilities. In needed, transportation is provided in some Alabama towns for children who live over two miles from a center.




Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) is sponsored by your local community action agency as well as the state of Alabama. The program is paid for at the federal level by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services. The CACFP can support people of all races, creed, color, or national origin, and it does not discriminate. A healthy lifestyle, and in particular nutrition, is an important part of good health. So children, and their parents, are encouraged to learn and enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods while they build strong bodies and minds.

The main objective of the CACFP program is to improve the diets of children from lower income families who are 12 years of age and under. Some exception can be made. For example, children from families of migrant workers are eligible up to age 15 and certain disabled persons can anticipate in the program regardless of age, if they meet other conditions.

Woman, Infants and Children/WIC is another option. It provides help to pregnant and nursing women, infants, and their children who are younger than 5 years of age. WIC can offer weekly vouchers for nutritious foods and nutrition education for clients. Qualifications are in place, and there is an income criteria that needs to be met. There are other financial aid programs for pregnant women.

Once approved by your local community action agency or a nutritionist, WIC participants are provided aid from the state. They will be given appropriate nutrition and/or health education, food vouchers, and other referrals for services. Vouchers provided can be used to buy formula, rice, breads, fruits, cereals, and more, and the vouchers can even be used at most grocery stores. Or the staff can direct the Alabama family and show them a free diaper bank near them.





Resources for bills, housing, food, and more

Alabama Coalition Against Hunger is committed to ending hunger across the state. Non-profit agencies, churches, and other groups partner together to provide all Alabama residents enough nutritious foods that are needed for their health and general well-being.

The coalition has also worked to expand the availability of federal nutrition programs such as SNAP. Case managers provide advocacy services and community education for residents with low incomes. This particular non-profit did a great job in expanding participation in the Food Stamp, WIC and School Breakfast programs in Alabama.

ACAH serves as an information clearinghouse and offer referrals. Even well-known programs such as WIC, Medicaid, Worker Investment Job Training, and Food Stamps are under-utilized by some qualified families, so your community action agency, working with the coalition and other groups, helps direct people to all government and other resources that may be available to them.

Rent and housing services

Housing counseling is offered, and this can include foreclosure prevention, first time home buyer, and even tenant services. Many organizations are U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development certified counseling agencies.

Programs are offered to potential home buyers in Alabama as well as current homeowners. Counselors provide families and individuals with free information about how to obtain safe and affordable housing. They can meet with clients to help them resolve problems fair housing, delinquent mortgages and home ownership. Many individuals and families take advantage of the budget counseling workshops and can be provided assistance with mortgage default.

Resources are also offered for renters and those facing eviction. Counselors and staff from your local community agency can assist in improving housing conditions and help people meet the responsibilities of tenancy. They can also refer them too local resources, including tenants that need help paying rent.

Many clients have underlying issues that is causing their hardship. So families not only need affordable housing, but they also need to improve in other areas. This can include money management skills, literacy, level of education and training, and budgeting.

Clients will receive access to an extensive range of social services, in addition to any rent or housing counseling. For example, you can get help in signing up and applying for other resources such as job training, debt reduction plans, and government loan modifications. They will do whatever they can to help homeowners get back on track.





HUD-certified housing counselors work with community action agencies and the public to provide rental and mortgage counseling and prevent homelessness. For families looking into buying their own home then a free first-time homebuyers class/workshop is offered. Also, clients wishing to establish goals for self-sufficiency and financial budgets may be interested in the free financial literacy classes offered in Alabama.

Cash grants from non-profit community action agencies

Heating, cooling bill, and utility assistance is offered as part of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Government grants can help Alabama  residents who are faced with a crisis caused by an inability to pay their monthly utility bills. Qualified low income families may receive a grant paid directly to their utility company on their behalf. Any financial assistance is limited and income requirements must be met by applicants. Assistance is only provided at most once each summer or winter season. This program also provides free energy counseling and weatherization in order to help residents reduce their future energy bills. Read more on LIHEAP energy assistance in Alabama.

Operation Warm is offered in some parts of the state. It is a limited area energy program that provides one time assistance to households that are elderly, in a health crisis situation, or who are handicapped. Funding is provided from donations, so if you can contribute please do so.

Rent and utility assistance may also be offered from the Emergency Food & Shelter. Funds are very limited, and need to be provided on an annual basis from the government to a community action agency. If funding allows, food, mortgage, rental assistance is offered to individuals who are at risk of becoming homeless because of an eviction notice or mortgage foreclosure. Those facing hunger may also receive free food or nutrition.

Operation SHARE is another service limited program, and it is run in certain parts of Alabama in partnership with the American Red Cross. Grants are offered to the low income, elderly, and people with a serious medical condition.

Alabama Charitable Trust Fund supplements other private or public resources. The nonprofit organization known as the Charitable Trust Fund was created by Alabama Power. The Trust works with local non-profit community action agencies to help pay winter heating and summer cooling costs of low-income families and those struggling with temporary financial problems such as a job loss.

The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program is offered in collaboration with partner agencies such as homeless shelter providers, Legal Services, and non-profit housing counseling agencies. These various community agencies function as a provider of homelessness prevention assistance. For those who need a place to live, they can coordinate rapid re-housing as well.

Resources available can include emergency rental assistance, legal assistance, credit repair, security deposit, utility payments (not phone or cable), temporary housing, and even grants for moving and storage costs. Case managers also work with the client on long-term housing stabilization and this can subsidies, budgeting, and other aid through intensive case management.







The Centsable Energy Program offers counseling for low income participants. It will help people become more energy efficient and reduce their annual power and electric bills. Find other ways to save money on utility bills.

Another key resource is the Weatherization Program. Staff from non-profit community action agencies will determine homes that qualify. There is high demand for help, and your local agency will help coordinate provision of needed caulking, insulation and other services to reduce the energy consumption of a home or mobile home owned by an income-eligible individual.

Qualifying low-income homeowners will receive a one time home weatherization assessment to determine improvements and measures that can reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills. Also, energy education counseling is available for those wishing to learn how to save money using low or no cost measures.

General assistance

Senior companions is a program that involves seniors, 60 and older. They will be recruited to provide assistance in the homes of those individuals who are at risk of having to accept alternative care rather than continue to live in the familiarity and comfort of their homes. The program assists with monitoring medications, offers light housekeeping, prepare meals, and provide respite care. Or transportation for low income senior citizens can be arranged by a community action agency. Companions enable other clients to maintain their independence over the short to long term as well.

Free food and meals are also provided to the homebound, elderly, and senior citizens. A number of multi-purpose senior centers are located in Alabama, and they serve as focal points for people in the community. Many agency on aging centers run them, and community action agencies will have details on services provided. However most of the centers also offer information and assistance, health screening, transportation, legal services to counseling, recreation activities, education, and wellness programs.

Meals on Wheels is another service for seniors, and it relies heavily on volunteers. Thanks to donations and contributions from volunteers and people in the community, the Alabama Meals on Wheels program may be the most visible and well-known service that many agencies provide. Up to five days a week volunteers deliver free hot meals to the elderly, homebound and disabled clients. A donation is appreciated for the drivers and the meals.

Another non-standard resource for Meals on Wheels clients is the "PET" -Pets Eat Too program. This can provide pet food for Meals on Wheels clients and is distributed by volunteers as well.





Counseling, budgeting, and Alabama jobs programs

Savings and matching grants are offered from the Individual Development Account. It is administered by the Office of Community Services of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The program helps qualified individuals who open an IDA account by matching the clients earned income and savings with Alabama and federal government funds. The IDA program promotes financial stability and savings.

Find help preparing and filing taxes from VITA. Community action agencies can offer free income tax assistance to eligible lower income individuals and families. Many seniors may also qualify for VITA.

IRS trained volunteers offer the low income and those who qualify with free tax preparation assistance and electronic filing/e-filing as well. Staff will also ensure you receive all the credit that you are entitled too, including earned income tax credits. The VITA program really focuses on low-to moderate families, elderly, disabled and limited English speaking individuals and families that cannot prepare their own tax returns.

Family Development is for those local families who are ready to move beyond the need for government aid and public assistance. Community agencies provide case management to help families learn to obtain job skills, budget income, receive further education and gain employment. The goal of the case managers are to help the clients acquire the tools for life that will move him or her beyond the need for public aid.

A major part of development is on ensuring families have a job that pays life sustaining wages. Therefore the state of Alabama, using federal government funds, provides a number of free training and career development services to the unemployed and people looking to better themselves. Learn more on Alabama job training programs.

Fatherhood Initiative is for men who do not have custody of their children and who are seeking ways to become a better parent. Clients who enroll in this initiative will be enrolled in training and mentoring programs that teach parenting responsibilities and other important aspects of being a good father.

Community action agency locations in Alabama

Alabama Council on Human Relations, Inc. of Lee County
Main address - 319 West Glenn
Auburn, Alabama 36831-0409
(334) 821-8336. More details.

Chambers-Tallapoosa-Coosa Community Action Committee
Main address is 170 S. Broadnax St.
Dadeville, AL 36853
Telephone: (256) 825-4287
Offers low income assistance to Chambers, Tallapoosa, and Coosa. Programs range from free meals for seniors to USDA food items. The non-profit also offers state of Alabama housing programs and LIHEAP, among other programs. More on Community Action Committee programs.





Community Action Agency of Northeast Alabama, Inc.
Address is 1481 McMurdy Avenue South
Rainsville, AL 35986
(256) 638-4430
Covers counties of Blount, Jackson, Marshall, St. Clair, Cherokee, and DeKalb.

Community Action Agency of Northwest Alabama, Inc.
Main address is 745 Thompson Street
Florence, AL 35630-3867
Telephone number - (256) 766-4330
Regions of Colbert, Franklin, and Lauderdale County. Click here.

Community Action Agency of South Alabama
Main address - 26440 North Pollard Road
Daphne, Alabama 36526
Telephone: (251) 626-2646
Supports southern part of the state and Baldwin, Escambia, Clarke, Monroe, Conecuh, and Wilcox County. A number of services are offered, and more details on financial help from Community Action Agency of South Alabama.

Community Action Agency of Talladega, Clay, Randolph, Calhoun & Cleburne Counties
136 North Court Street
Talladega, AL 35161
Main number - (256) 362-6611
Programs offered from this location can include LIHEAP grants for utility bills. Other resources include food, homeless prevention, and financial literacy workshops.

Community Action of Etowah County
624 Broad Street
Gadsden, AL 35901
(256) 546-9271

Community Action Partnership of Huntsville/Madison & Limestone Counties, Inc.
Main address - 3516 Stringfield Road, N.W.
Huntsville, AL 35810
Call for intake - (256) 851-9800
Meet with a case manager. Explore local job training programs and receive career counseling. Emergency financial aid may be offered for bills and other needs. Other programs include LIHEAP and Head Start applications, cash assistance or loans for paying rent, and referrals to non-profit. Read more.

Community Action Partnership of North Alabama, Inc.
Address of office - 1909 Central Parkway, SW
Decatur, Alabama 35601
Dial (256) 260-3127
Supports Counties of Cullman, Lawrence, Morgan
Offers programs for the homeless, including rent and motel vouchers, Meals on Wheels for seniors, and other forms of financial support for the low income. Read more North Alabama community action agency.

Community Service Programs of West Alabama, Inc.
Main address - 601 Black Bears Way
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401-4807
(205) 752-5429
Counties covered are Fayette, Greene, Lamar, Tuscaloosa, Hale, Sumter, Choctaw, and Bibb. Find more details on Community Action of West Alabama.





Eleventh Area of Alabama Opportunity Action Committee
5 Village Square
Clanton, AL 35046
(205) 755-1204
Chilton and Shelby County.

Elmore-Autauga Community Action Committee
Mailing address - P.O. Box 967
Wetumpka, AL 36092
(334) 567-4361
Autauga, Dallas, Elmore, and Perry County residents should call this center.

Human Resources Development Corporation
100 George Wallace Drive
P.O. Box 31-1407
Enterprise, AL 36331-1407
Call the center at (334) 347-0881
Low income families in Barbour, Coffee, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Dale, Pike, and Covington should call this location. Some of what is offered includes free food, energy bill assistance, and they process applications for government programs such as Head Start.

Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity
Location is 300 8th Avenue West
Birmingham, Alabama 35204-3039
Telephone: (205) 327-7500
Call - (205) 327-7549. For more information on assistance programs from the non-profit agency, click here.

Macon-Russell Community Action Agency, Inc.
102 Lakeview Road
Tuskegee, Alabama 36083
(334) 727-6100

Marion-Winston Counties Community Action Committee, Inc.
Main address is 372 7th Avenue SW
Hamilton, AL 35570
Call (205) 921-4224 for hours and information

Mobile Community Action Agency, Inc.
Main location is 461 Donald Street
Prichard, AL 36617
Telephone: (251) 457-5700
Programs are for both Mobile and Washington County. The agency offers housing assistance (such as rent or help with paying security deposits), energy bill assistance (LIHEAP and weatherization), GED classes and even free holiday assistance in Alabama from the Christmas Wish Program. Continue reading.

Montgomery Community Action Agency, Inc.
Location is 1066 Adams Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
(334) 263-3474
The unemployed and working poor can call this center. Apply for services such as weatherization, or speak to a case manager for job search assistance. The non-profit agency can direct low income Alabama families to transitional housing, provide weatherization applications, and advice on security deposit programs for the homeless. Click here.

Organized Community Action Program, Inc.
Address - 507 North Three Notch Street
Troy, AL 36081
Telephone: (334) 566-1712
Counties and regions - Bullock, Butler, Pickens, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Pike, Walker, and Lowndes County. They offer many federal and state of Alabama programs, and find more details on Organized Community Action Agency.





Pickens County Community Action & Development Corporation, Inc.
Address - 71 Lakeside Street
Carrollton, AL 35447
(205) 367-8166

Walker County Community Action Agency
Address: 644 19th Street West
Jasper, Alabama 35502
Telephone number - (205) 221-4010


By Jon McNamara

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