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Arkansas River Valley Area Council assistance programs.

Supporting the counties of Conway, Johnson, Logan, Franklin, Perry, Polk, Pope, Scott, and Yell, the Arkansas River Valley Area Council provides assistance to low income families. Other support will be for seniors and the disabled in the region. Examples of services offered include the Emergency Food and Shelter, emergency rent help, free food from pantries, as well as the Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Food banks and a garden project are offered in partnership with local soup kitchens, churches and pantries in Conway and other counties. ARVAC will provide groceries, food, and other items to the poor and less fortunate in the community in partnership with those other non-profits.

The Garden Project will pass out seed to those facing poverty in the service area. What this does is help people gain self-sufficiency, as they can grow their own food, fruits, vegetables, and other goods. This can then be combined with assistance from pantries to ensure that residents of the area get a significant amount of their nutritional needs met.

Another resource from the community action agency is Commodity Foods. This will generally be surplus government items, canned goods, and maybe some perishables.

Food stamp applications are available as well.  Vouchers or debits cards can be used by families to buy the groceries they need as well. Among other things, in order to apply for SNAP food stamps, they need to have proof of income, assets, and more.

Emergency Food and Shelter can help customers with the payment of their rent, food, mortgage, or security deposits. ARVAC can assist families who are threatened to be evicted, foreclosed on, or that owe money on overdue utility bills. A one-time cash payment can be made to the landlord, bank, or energy provider.

Utility bill assistance is part of the Crisis Intervention Program / CIP as well as LIHEAP. The Crisis Intervention Program from Arkansas River Valley Area Council is used to pay bills for those faced with a disconnect notice or grants can be for utility hook-ups. Applicants can’t have received Crisis Intervention assistance for their utility bills in the past year.




The LIHEAP - Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program is another key service. This can help qualified low-income people with paying their heating costs. Those meeting the federal government income guidelines can receive a onetime credit or cash grant for paying their utility bills. Lower income households from the region, including Conway, Polk, and Logan, that are using forms of energy other than gas or electricity can still qualify. LIHEAP is also for renters as well.

During certain times of the year, free fans are distributed by Arkansas River Valley Area Council when a weather-related emergency is started. The Fan Program from the community action agency offers this form of assistance to households with serious medical conditions that place them at risk when facing extreme heat.

Homeowner programs are for low-income Arkansans. They need to have successfully completed the Home to Own program. If they do this, then they will be eligible to receive a subsidy to be applied to their closing costs or down payment.

Money management classes and workshops are provided for Social Security claimants who are disabled or otherwise mentally incapable of financially managing their money on their own. This management from ARVAC includes paying monthly household rent or bills. There will also be sessions made with the claimants to determine their future needs.

The main Arkansas River Valley Area Council office is in Dardanelle, AR 72834. Main phone (479) 229-4861.




By Jon McNamara











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