Assistance programs from ASSIST.

The ASSIST Agency, Inc. works closely with other organization to provide help to families in Jefferson Davis, Acadia, and Vermillion parishes in Louisiana. Some emergency assistance is provided along with longer term self-sufficiency to those that qualify.

The organization serves as the regional community action group. The ASSIST Agency provides some of their own services as well as information on other resources that may be available in parishes or from the federal government. For example, clients can get help in applying for SNAP (Food Stamps), Welfare from the Department of Children and Family Services Employment, free Legal Aid, Social Security, Section 8 Vouchers, and Community Services. When needed, referrals are made to income qualified clients who are seeking help. In many cases, the low income family will qualify for a host of social services and government benefits of which they were not aware.

Other programs offered by the non-profit ASSIST Agency focus on short term Emergency Services, Housing, and Medical Programs. Secondary services can include affordable but high quality childcare, income tax assistance, low interest rate small business loans and they also partner with Toys for Tots to provide free holiday assistance.

One Time Emergency Services are offered by the ASSIST Agency. This is offered in cooperation with local non-profit agencies. They can provide financial assistance and cash grants on a one-time basis to income qualified clients who have suffered a loss due to circumstances beyond their control. This can include an unexpected job loss, eviction or medical crisis. One focus is on addressing housing needs and emergency rent help. The agency will also coordinate ongoing food assistance to those with continued need in Jefferson Davis and Vermillion.

A Pharmaceutical Access Program is offered between the Lafayette Community Pharmacy Clinic and ASSIST. This medical program was set up as a collaboration and is an attempt to bring affordable prescription drugs to the clients. The program is run from the Community Health Care Clinic. This program has made a big difference in how the elderly, indigent, disabled and working poor access the prescription medications they need to stay healthy.




The agency will have Medicaid / LaCHIP Applications. Coordinators can assist clients in the parishes of Acadia, Jeff Davis, and Vermilion Parishes. Receive information on public care and help in applying for Medicaid.

The community action agency will also work with local physicians, advocates, and pharmacists in directing qualified patients to the program so that they can qualify for free or low-cost medication. The agency will also partner with pharmaceutical companies to ensure there is an adequate supply.

ASSIST Agency housing programs

The non-profit ASSIST administers four different housing programs that range from shelters to affordable housing programs and HUD counseling. ASSIST can provide temporary lodging, down payment assistance, and workshops that provide residents the skills they need to maintain housing on their own.

The agency has one fully furnished home that can house approximately 12 women and children for up to 90 days. It is a temporary shelter facility which also provides qualified residents with free meals, clothing, personal hygiene, GED classes, life skills education, job services, day care, a clothing bank, and medical assistance. Aid is for both women and their children. Other programs provided to people staying at the shelter include substance abuse treatment, mental health care, food stamps, Medicaid, child support, transportation, permanent housing and more.  The center also coordinates with Lafayette, Baton Rouge and surrounding area shelters.

Another shelter is available to dually diagnosed homeless men from the nearby parishes. Male clients with substance abuse and mental health issues can be served at the Hope Center. The location houses up to 12 men and provides them with case management, basic needs, and employment assistance. The residents can also receive group and individual counseling. The goal is to help residents transition from a life of dependency on alcohol and/or drugs to a life of independence and self-sufficiency allowing them to become productive members of the community.





The ASSIST Agency also has programs for those who are looking to rent or buy a home, as well as mortgage assistance programs. The objective is to keep people in their homes and apartments and ensure housing needs are met.

Other local resources

Holiday assistance is offered as part of Toys for Tots. This seasonal program is coordinated with partners such as the United State Marine Corps and the Salvation Army. It will provide free toys and gifts to children of families on public assistance. The U S Marine Corps has a site located in Lafayette, Louisiana and it is able to supply the toys and presents to these families.

Affordable Childcare Centers are operated by ASSIST Agency. The non-profit offers affordable, quality childcare in Abbeville, Crowley, Church Point, and Rayne Louisiana. The centers are open to the general public and accept children up to 12 years of age. The centers will offer children and their parents full time, part time, and even after school care with snacks in a nurturing environment.

Financing is available from the Revolving Loan for Small Business Development and Expansion. The community action agency provides low interest loans to help individuals from the community start or expand a business.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is available from specialists that were trained by the Internal Revenue Service. The staff work for The Assist Agency and will provide free tax preparation for low income and senior individuals from Acadia and Jefferson Davis.

The counselors are trained on laws and regulations such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other federal government tax benefits that are available. The EITC program is a refundable income tax credit for low-income working poor individuals and families. Among other things, it will help them offset the burden of Social Security taxes and to provide an incentive to work for the individual. In addition, as part of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, the agency will work with client on budgeting and financial planning  and focus on what is needed to help the family accumulate assets and move out of poverty.

The administrative office is located in Acadia Parish. The address is 11 N. Parkerson Ave., Crowley, Louisiana. 70526, dial (337) 788-7550. Additional sites in Jefferson Davis Parish include 107 E. Nezpique
Jennings, Louisiana. 70546, dial (337) 824-7800. Another site in Vermilion parish is at 407 Charity Street Abbeville, LA 70510. Call (337) 898-9554.



By Jon McNamara

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