Alexandria Virginia Center for Economic Support programs.

The primary mission of the Alexandria based Center for Economic Support is to help residents of the community who are in a crisis situation. The agency mostly relies on government grants and funds in an effort to provide a wide range of public assistance services for Alexandria area residents.

CES strives to cover the entire spectrum of basic needs, including medical services, shelter, long-term housing, food, clothing, family care, financial assistance with paying home heating and cooling, employment support services, and much more. The municipality encourages everyone in need of help or referrals to call 703-746-5700 for information in regard to these services. Some of the assistance programs are described in greater detail below.

The CommonHelp website operates as a one-stop center for low-income or working poor residents to access and complete applications for various public assistance benefits. Some of the available government benefits include those for SNAP food stamps, Medicaid or FAMIS (Medicaid for Children) for assistance with medical needs and affordable child care programs.

For those having difficulty obtaining healthy or affordable food, and in addition to SNAP, CES provides referrals to Alexandria Virginia area emergency food pantries. Additionally, the center coordinates for the home delivery of prepared meals to those who are homebound.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, provides very low income eligible families with a monthly cash payment to meet basic needs, while also emphasizing the importance of working toward independence and personal responsibility. This is available as the goal is to help get people off of public assistance.

Support services from Virginia Center for Economic Support may include job skills training, placement for work experience, child care assistance, job-readiness training, transportation, and other work-related assistance. To be eligible for a grant from TANF, families must be US citizens or eligible immigrants and have a child. The children are required to be living with a parent or relative, and to be attending school on a regular basis. Other conditions are in place as well.

During the income tax filing season, the City of Alexandria makes free federal and state government tax preparation assistance available to lower-income residents. Community Tax Aid provides the town with trained volunteers, who prepare and electronically file returns, with special emphasis on ensuring that each taxpayer receives all applicable credits and deductions. They especially focus on the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).




Funeral help is offered too, in some cases. Call the CES Office of Community Services for information on available assistance with basic burial or cremation needs for eligible low-income or indigent Alexandria residents.

Housing, rent help and shelter programs

Often, families or individuals face the prospect of eviction or foreclosure due to circumstances that are out of their control. Help is offered to stop this from happening. The CES Homeless Intervention Program provides financial assistance to income-eligible households in this situation. This is available while they work toward regaining self-sufficiency.

Rent Relief from the state of Virginia is available to help the disabled and/or low-income tenants aged 65 years and up. Cash grants may be offered to those who have no alternative source of assistance with paying their rent. Monthly benefits are determined on a sliding scale, based on income level.

In order to qualify for Rent Relief, combined annual household must meet low income levels that are in place. Assistance paid out comes in the form of a cash grant of up to $4,100 per year. To apply or for more information, dial 703-746-5918 and request to speak to the Community Services Specialist managing the Rent Relief Program.

The Emergency Shelter Fund is another option. This assists eligible low-income Alexandria residents with rental and/or utility bill payments. This program is intended for those in short-term crisis, and any assistance or loans paid out are limited to once per year. Future self-sufficiency must be verified as well be participants.

The Alexandria Community Shelter, located at 2355 B Mill Road in Alexandria, offers emergency housing for men, women, single parents, and families. This facility is owned by the city of Alexandria and managed by New Hope Housing. The Crisis Child Care Center, which is also on site, is available to care for children of shelter clients who are out looking for employment.

Center for Economic Support (CES) can help those who have been displaced due to eviction or foreclosure with storage of household goods or furniture through the Eviction Storage program. For those making the transition back into permanent housing who need furnishings, case managers will also make referrals to non-profits, such as the Salvation Army or the ALIVE, Inc. furniture program, which offers donated furniture to those that qualify.

For more information on any of these programs, the Center for Economic Support can be reached at 703-746-5700.





Home energy bill assistance in Alexandria

With government funding from a Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) block grant, CES operates a Fuel Assistance Program in partnership with the state of Virginia. It will assist eligible households with the cost of paying for various home energy sources, including electricity, heat, natural and liquid propane gas, oil, kerosene, or wood.

Winter heating and summer cooling bills can be paid by the Virginia Energy Assistance Heating and Cooling Program. This provide assistance with paying utility bills, repairing equipment or furances, and delivering fuel when someone is out. To qualify, households in Alexandria must meet income guidelines. In addition, to receive cooling assistance, households must include a permanently and totally disabled individual, senior (60 and older), or a child (six and younger).

Dominion Virginia Power Fuel Fund Energy Share Program is another option for income-eligible households in need of help with paying home energy costs. If service has been disconnected or is in danger of being disconnected, please call CES at 703-746-5700 or the Salvation Army at 703-836-2427 to learn more on this service.

Washington Area Fuel Fund provides financial aid with heating bills. Partial payments may be issued for income-eligible households in danger of losing their primary source of heat. This program is administered by the Salvation Army, 107 E. Bellefonte Ave., Alexandria, dial 703.836.2427.

Health and medical care programs from CES

Medicaid provides payments to doctors and medical service providers for services rendered to eligible individuals. Eligibility is determined through an evaluation that compares the individual's personal circumstances, including income and assets, to an established standard.

CES also provides vouchers as a form of prescription assistance on a one-time-only basis. If someone does not qualify, then referrals to the local Health Department or various other prescription assistance programs are also available.

In addition to assisting with medical care, the Center for Economic Support offers assistance with obtaining dental, low cost medical and vision services. Based on the results of a dental screening, a program may be able to assist. The dental service performs screening and then refers low-income patients without insurance to the Northern Virginia Dental Clinic. To receive services, please contact 703-746-5700. In an emergency situation, residents can call the Alexandria Health Department's Adult Dental Clinic at 703-838-4420.

For assistance with obtaining free or low cost eye exams and glasses, contact CES for a referral to a local nonprofit organization, such as Prevention of Blindness, Lions Club or another nonprofit.




Center for Economic Support Employment Support Services

As a certified career resource center, JobLink is a valuable resource for those who are in search of either a new job or more fulfilling employment. JobLink can help, whether you are unemployed, recently graduated from college, under-employed, discharged from military service, re-entering the workforce, or changing careers.

While JobLink is an option, CES of Alexandria also provides referrals to area clothing closets for low income individuals in need of work-appropriate or interview appropriate business clothing. Availability of any items depends heavily on donations from the community.

Bus tokens or METRO passes may be offered. Qualified clients can use them for getting to work or to other destinations for participants in our Homeless and Homeless Case Management programs. In addition, the Aging and Adult Services Program can provide a list of additional transportation services in northern Virginia.


By Jon McNamara

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