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Alamance County Community Services Agency assistance programs.

The working poor and people looking to exit poverty in the counties of Alamance and Caswell are the main clients of Community Services Agency. The non-profit organization may be able to refer people to basic needs as well as long term, case management and educational services. More information on their services are below.

Emergency food assistance is provided. The agency relies on USDA commodities and donations from the community to operate pantries and soup kitchens, and there may even be special seasonal resources such as Christmas food or Thanksgiving programs. Usually a three day supply of free groceries are supplied.

Congregate meal sites are available as well. The focus if these locations is on assisting senior citizens from Alamance County with their nutritional needs, and they may receive free meals and access to other activities, such as information on applying for Medicare and government benefits.

Low-income persons suffering from health issues have access to free food and related items from the nutritional supplement program. With doctor certification, persons 60 years of age and older may be eligible for subsidies for their needs. A limited amount of assistance is also granted to individuals who are under 60 years of age. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Home and Community Care Block Grant, Henderson County Hunger Coalition and local donations provide the funding for this program.

Referrals may be provided to the HUD supported section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. This is available across the state of North Carolina to help very low-income individuals and families obtain standard housing. It works by giving clients rent subsidies, and it is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

While program terms can change, eligible applicants in Alamance and other counties must have an income level below 50% of the area median. In addition to that, they are expected to contribute 30% of their adjusted monthly income toward their total utility and rental expenses.

Although the remaining balance due to the landlord is subsidized as part of section 8, it is subject to established ceilings. Before leases and housing assistance payment contacts are signed by the tenant, the apartments are inspected to ensure compliance with minimum standards set by HUD.





Low income families and individuals in the section 8 HCV program face annual evaluations to determine if they still qualify for the rental assistance. During these yearly assessments from Alamance County Community Services Agency or a local public housing authority, case managers re-inspect the housing quality standards of units and may adjust how much money participants contribute to rent. The non-profit may have a list of affordable housing for the general public.

In addition, the non-profit community action organization offers the family self-sufficiency service for families enrolled in the program. This resource aims to help families move beyond government assistance through case management and puts money in escrow for later use as a down payment to buy a home on their home. Staff from Alamance or Caswell County Community Services Agency will have information on this service too.

Transportation, even including low cost car loans, are part of the Wheels to Work service. The social service department and Alamance County Community Services partner together on this to provide cars for work related reasons.

The self-sufficiency program from Alamance County Community Services Agency works with individuals and families in crisis to help them progress toward economic stability. This service focuses on affordable rental housing, employment, low cost childcare, budgeting, healthcare and increased household income. Another focus is on helping people apply for grants for expenses such as rent or the homeless can receive help with paying a security deposit.

There may be limited amounts of grants to use for buying uniforms, pay for transportation, food and more. In addition, education may be provided if funding is available, and Alamance County Community Services Agency may refer clients to other agencies in central North Carolina to help them achieve their goals.




Additional services also include free financial workshops on budgeting and related topics for the public as well as the IDA savings account service. The state funds the self-sufficiency program through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), with additional funding periodically available.

Applications for state of North Carolina and federal government utility bill programs are available at Community Services Agency. The main resources include grants for LIHEAP, and energy conservation from weatherization. They also run the HARRP air conditioning repair program.

The focus of these services is on ensuring low income families in the service area, including Alamance and Caswell County, have access to heat during the winter and air conditioning during the summer. Funds can be used for paying bills and updating a home.

Transportation is also available in certain towns. Non-profits offer consolidated services in partnership with human-service agencies in Burlington, NC. Through the Elderly and Disabled Transportation Assistance with agency on aging offices, qualified elderly and disabled citizens receive transportation for medical appointments and grocery shopping.

Referrals are usually offered from the Community Services Agency. The non-profit and its case managers can be a great source to learn about local resources such as for SNAP food stamps or maybe even SSI disability applications. While the agency will not necessarily process the forms, they can redirect families to where to go for help.

Alamance County Community Services Agency oversees Head Start and Early Head Start programs in the region. The programs serve children up to five years in age and emphasizes education, social service, medical care; parental involvement, nutrition and health. There are several different education centers in the region.

So called Wrap-Around services, which include longer classroom days and additional months of childcare, are available at centers for parents who are working or in job-related training. While participation in Head Start or Early Head Start is free of charge, Wrap-Around requires fees based on a sliding scale.





Furthermore, a home-based Head Start service for preschool children is available for families who either live in remote areas, the disabled or for those who prefer to keep their children at home. Under this version, a teacher makes weekly visits to the homes of enrolled children to work with both the children and their families. The eligibility qualifications are the same for center- and home-based Head Start and Early Head Start programs. These criteria include age and family income.

For more details on these or other programs, call the center at (336) 229-7031. Or stop by 1206-D Vaughn Road, Burlington, NC 27217.


By Jon McNamara

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