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Calcasieu Parish Community Services and aid programs.

If you or your family needs help, the Calcasieu Parish Community Service agency may be able to assist. They provide the less fortunate with direct financial assistance or maybe referrals to both state of Louisiana and federal government resources.

Some of the main goals are to prevent hunger and homelessness. So to this end, emergency rent help, funds for paying utility bills, and free food may be provided. However as this is occurring clients of the non-profit can also participate in self-sufficiency or job training programs. Or they can get help with applying for government aid such as section 8 housing vouchers or LIHEAP energy bill assistance.

Financial aid in the parish

Low income families can look into the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development initiated Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program. This offers rental assistance subsidies to eligible families. The Calcasieu Parish Housing Department, or CPHD, works with the community action agency in an effort to support the implementation of the Section 8 component of the HCV program. It provides affordable apartment and home selection choices based on its administrative plan approved by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. The HCV program lets qualified families search for their own suitable housing or apartments within the CPHD’s jurisdiction.

Once a family is found to be eligible to benefit from this type of rental assistance program, and after funding is available, the public housing agency (PHA) issues a housing voucher to the client. Then the individual is given ample time to find a suitable housing unit. When they have decided to take on a home, the landlord of it enters into a leasing contract with the family.

To apply for this form of rent help, the family from the parish must have an annual income equal or lower than the HUD specified income brackets. They need to be citizens, they must agree and sign the consent form, need to have a decent rental history, attend case management, and meet other conditions.

Shelter-Plus Care is an option for those hard-to-reach homeless persons. Aid is for those with disabilities and the goal is to not leave them. This is the primary driver behind the Shelter-Plus Care (S+C). It provides long-term housing assistance and supportive health care services, which are funded using federal grants. Primarily, disabilities covered in this program may range from having serious mental illness to more.




Hard-to-reach homeless families in Lake Charles and across the area are defined by Calcasieu Parish Community Services as those living in commonly uninhabitable places such as emergency shelters in Louisiana. They will often take priority when it comes to this form of support.

The program has a variety of housing choices and health care services available in response to the needs of the cited population. Other federal, states and local, private partners are continuously encouraged as part of this resource to fund the supportive healthcare services.

The Calcasieu Parish Community Services homeownership program aims to transform people from having rented houses to becoming actual self-sufficient, strong homeowners. The requirements to qualify for this program are as follows. The person looking to enroll must be a Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) participant,  otherwise an application to be FSS eligible may be submitted first. Also, they need to be a consistent full-time employee at a local employer for a year prior to application for home ownership assistance. Applicants for homeownership also need to be able to meet income eligibility requirements.

Rental counseling and tenant mediation will help potential lessees determine their priorities in searching for a place to rent before signing a lease. It is always better to know and understand the content of a contract than to sign a blank space. The topics to be covered are the following:

  • Fair Housing Laws
  • Loan Programs for Rental or Security Deposit Payments
  • Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) Overview
  • Tenant’s Rights and Landlord Obligations
  • Eviction Prevention Programs

Mortgage help and foreclosure counseling is for those in the parish that are having trouble making regular home loan payments. As an HUD Housing Counseling Agency, Calcasieu Parish Community Services offers free advice in the form of counseling services to help avoid foreclosure and direct clients to mortgage programs.

Parish counseling sessions are available. They will all be confidential and free of charge for those that qualify. Each session tackles budgeting strategies, options to avoid foreclosure by designing action plans, and it provides guidance on negotiating with the lender.

If in any case that foreclosure can no longer be avoided, the session would let the borrower understand the foreclosure process, where to get loan modifications from as a last resort, review the “rescue” scams and how to avoid them. Last but not the least, the non-profit agency guides people by having a foreclosure mediation session held.

LIHEAP is a grant program implemented at the State level in Louisiana and available in all parishes.  Grantees, or low-income households, can get financial assistance in paying their home energy bills. The program prioritizes those with the most needs and risk, such as the elderly.





Low income households may also approach the State of Louisiana LiHEAP program for emergency assistance when their home energy service has already been shut down. Not only that, they may also be assisted when their utility service is about to be disconnected.  Weather-related improvements, utility equipment repair and replacement and energy budget counseling are also offered services.

Calcasieu Prescription Discount Drug Program is for any anyone who lives in the parish. They can buy their prescription medicine at a discounted price and save money for other bills. An average of 25% off from the suggested retail can be saved for every prescribed medicine not covered by the health insurance plan a patient has. This is even for family medicines or what your pet may need. There are no membership fees required to get this card, its distributed for free. Simply get the discount card from any participating pharmacy or ask your doctor about it.

The federal government Summer Food Program is a joint effort of the Louisiana Department of Education, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other charities. Breakfast and lunch are provided for all grade levels of several schools and Head Start centers located near Calcasieu Parish.

Transportation from the Calcasieu Public Transit System is available. It operates as a curb-to-curbside transit service sponsored by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and also the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

Calcasieu Transit offers residents rides and transportation in rural areas of the parish. People can get access to shopping, health care, education,  public services, employment, and recreation services on a first-come, first-served basis. There are also services for the elderly, general rides, and the disabled. Some will require a minimal fee.

Food for Families and Seniors Program from Calcasieu Parish Community Services is to eliminate hunger by providing proper nourishment to mothers, children, the elderly and senior citizens. It provides a food box worth $50 to $60 containing supplemental nutrition for income eligible recipients such as seniors, pregnant women, new mothers, children up to age of 6, and disabled individuals.

The groceries and fresh foods address a number of needs and can prevent hunger. Calcasieu Parish is proud to collaborate with the Archdiocese of New Orleans, U.S. Department of Agriculture, local churches, and Louisiana Office of Public Health for the continuous operation of the program.

Medical needs can be met by the agency, including from the Dental Discount Program. Through its affiliation with the National Association of Counties (NACo), the parish created the NACo Dental Discount Card Program to help families save money on routine visits, cleanings, orthodontic treatments and a host of other dental care services through a network of participating clinics and private practitioners. Administered by providers such as Careington International Corporation and NACo, this affordable program offers individuals and their families monthly and annual options to  enjoy throughout the year.

Self-sufficiency and case management

Free credit counseling and financial literacy class is for residents in Calcasieu, Beauregard, Allen and Cameron parishes. Clients can receive personal financial counseling from an HUD Certified Housing Agency. Classes include how to restructure credit card debt, to establish reinstatement plans, to seek loans and to manage and address household finances. First time home-buyers can get homeownership training. Group classes on financial literacy are organized as well.




Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program is an HUD program that encourages communities to develop local strategies for the employment of section 8 voucher families leading to economic independence and self-sufficiency. The various local public housing agencies (PHAs) collaborate with businesses, welfare agencies and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program that gives participating FSS family members the skills and job training needed in order to  equip them for minimum wage employment.

FSS program benefits may include, but are not limited to. Child Care voiuchers and subsidies; Homeownership Counseling, Transportation for work needs; Education; Job Training and Employment counseling; and Substance/alcohol Abuse Treatment. Public Housing Agencies in Calcasieu Parish administer the FSS program locally for participating families, who are at the same time receiving assistance under the HCV.

The location of the Calcasieu Parish Community Agency Agency is Lake Charles, Louisiana 7060. Call the office at (337) 721-4020.


By Jon McNamara

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