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CHANGE community action agency assistance programs.

A leading non-profit in the West Virginia counties of Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, and Ohio is the CHANGE community action agency. The organization focuses on addressing numerous issues that may be faced by low income and working poor families. Emergency assistance may be offered along with long term support and self-sufficiency services.

Utility assistance programs from CHANGE

One key resource is the Energy Crisis Intervention Program. This provides help with paying for heating costs for no-heat households during the cold West Virginia winter season. Not only may clients receive cash grants for paying their bills, but ECIP can also pay to repair or replace severely malfunctioning and unsafe heating systems or furnaces.

West Virginia Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) can pay out direct cash payments or credit to utility companies on the households behalf. Applications are processed by CHANGE community action agency for this federal benefit. LIEAP is funded by a federal government block grant as well as the Office of Economic Opportunity. The priority is for those families in Brooke, Marshall, Hancock and Ohio County with senior members, disabled, and young children.




Most of the grant based aid from the state, which CHANGE can help people apply for, is for families that live in poverty. Both heating and regular energy bills can be paid. More on West Virginia LIHEAP assistance.

The Weatherization Assistance Program is also run by the community action agency. This assists clients in reducing costs and saving money. It is for low-income families and the working poor and it will help them by improving the energy efficiency of their homes while at the same time ensuring their health and safety. Weatherization can pay for things such as Hot water tank insulation, Duct testing, Furnace modification and retrofit, attic insulation, and more.





Another non-profit organization is the West Virginia Dollar Energy Fund. The agency relies on customer donations and operates as a non-profit. It is available in both West Virginia and nearby states. It uses donations from the community to help families pay their heating and utility bills. The program provides a cash grant directly to your utility account and is available to even more moderate income families that are facing a one time crisis.

Financial assistance and basic needs

Food assistance is offered from the SFSP, or the Summer Food Service Program. This passes out free, nutritious groceries and meals to help children get the nutrition they need during the summer months while they are out of school. A meal is served to them. Another option is the After School Meal Program. This serves a hot, nutritious meal and snacks to students under the age of 18 during the school year.

The NEEDS Program is Marshall County is run in partner with the community action agency, local churches, charities, and social service groups. It offers help with paying utility bills once every 12 months and payments can be made for natural gas, electric, water, oil, kerosene, and propane bills.

The churches and other non-profits may occasionally offer other support as well, namely for housing issues. If a family is facing an eviction then emergency funds may be offered for paying rent or other housing costs. Or CHANGE can provide information on rental subsidies from section 8 housing vouchers.

The Regional Job and Educational Access Transportation Programs can help people get to work, job training, school or maybe an interview. CHANGE and its volunteers or staff provide a ride for individuals to their place of employment or an interview, within limitations. Most of the rides need to be within Brooke and Hancock County. There is also a Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Program, which is for doctor appointments.

The Lighthouse Domestic Violence Shelter is for Brooke and Hancock County. It will offer women and their children protection, intervention, housing and other support. Aid is for victims of domestic violence. Short term shelter, self-sufficiency, information on free legal aid and more can be coordinated by CHANGE, Inc.

Additional services, including medical care and case management

Health and medical support is coordinated from the Family Medical Care Community Health Center. This is a fully comprehensive clinic with highly trained doctors, nurses, and medical professionals on staff. Health and dental care is available regardless of the patients income, age, gender, or insurance status. A discount scale is in place for uninsured and low-income patients and the Community Health Center also accepts Medicare, Medicaid, and Third-Party Insurance as a form of payment.

Women’s Health Center is part of the operation. In fact, it is one of Marshall and Brooke counties premier locations for affordable and extensive women’s medical care. If needed, the center will arrange for Non-Emergency Transportation for Appointments. Patients need to call the FMC Health Benefits Coordinator at least one day in advance.




Dental care is also provided at Family Medical Care Community Health Center. Services offered are Cleanings, Extractions, X-Rays, Fillings, Crowns/Bridges, and Dentures. Referrals are provided to specialists in West Virginia if needed.

CHANGE also can refer patients to the Family Care Pharmacy, which is part of the Medical Care facility. There are programs and options that will offer a variety of options for those who qualify to obtain prescription medications at a discounted price.

The pharmacy takes part in the 340B federal government discount drug program which currently offers the least expensive drug prices to patients, including non-generic medications. The Family Care pharmacy also participates in numerous pharmaceutical manufacturer indigent and low income drug assistance programs that provide medications to qualified patients for a small fee. This includes things such as Patient Assistance Programs.

There is also a Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (BCCSP) in the region. This provides free mammograms, screening, and others tests at no cost to West Virginia women who qualify.

First-Time Home Buyers Program is available to assists individuals and families in obtaining affordable housing in Marshall and Ohio County by providing closing cost and down-payment assistance. It is officially called the Choice First Time Home Buyer program (FTHB) Services.

The program can help those that qualify in obtaining housing within the City of Weirton, Brooke and Hancock County by up to $10,000 for closing costs and down payments. Any money is limited and is paid out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Credit Counseling and Homebuyer Education classes are also offered by CHANGE, Inc., as they are a federal government HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agency. Sessions are held as one day events or for a few times per week. Since they are a HUD agency, staff can provide insight on rental assistance and low income housing units in the region.

The workshop are held by specialists and participants will get help and information on buying a home including budgeting and credit issues, purchase readiness, shopping for a home, obtaining a low interest mortgage loan, predatory lending issues, how to account for home maintenance and keeping a home. The second component, Credit Counseling, which is overseen by CHANGE offers individuals plans and techniques to maintain and/or improve their credit score.

Free income tax preparation is offered as part of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA. Specialists from CHANGE and partner groups will work with low to moderate income level residents, the disabled and older taxpayers prepare and file their returns. You will also explore programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), federal deductions and the Child Tax Credit.





West Virginia Saves can help people with reducing debts, paying of credit cards and saving money. It can provide clients with the tools and advice they need to meet their goals. Everything from budgeting to saving, credit card hardship programs, and other debt reduction is available from CHANGE.

The CHANGE, Inc. Case Management Program provides advice and free intensive assistance to struggling and unemployed individuals and families. The agency will work with the client to address key issues and providing social services to help them overcome barriers to self-sufficiency.

CHANGE, Inc. has a few offices in the area. They are noted below. Call them for information on emergency assistance or long term support.

  • 3136 West Street, Weirton, West Virginia 26062., call 304-797-7733
  • Moundsville Outreach Office, 700 First Street, Moundsville, WV 26041, 304-845-8269
  • 3136 West Street, Weirton, West Virginia 26062, call 304-748-2828
  • Wintersville Center, 200 Luray Drive, Wintersville, OH 43953, call 740-314-8258
  • 3136 West Street, Weirton, WV 26062, dial 304-748-4200

By Jon McNamara














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