The City of Baton Rouge Louisiana, Office of Social Services assistance programs.

A leading poverty fighting agency that can be called upon in a crisis is the City of Baton Rouge, Office of Social Services agency. They are involved in offering short term help as part of the CSBG - Community Service Block Grant and other government funding. Social workers from the parish will also direct qualified clients to other self-sufficiency type resources.

Much of the funding for emergency assistance come from the CSBG funding source. This is government funds that are limited and allocated annually. The demand for help in these challenging times is high, so in general only a limited number of families can be supported.

The funds will also normally run out. However, whenever possible the Office of Social Services in Baton Rouge works to offer some of the following.

  • Housing needs and costs – This can include funds for paying security/move in deposits, rent, or maybe even a mortgage. Financial aid is usually for people facing foreclosure or eviction.
  • Utility assistance – This can be for paying energy, heating, or air conditioning bills.
  • Health care needs – Vouchers for medications or other medical costs.

Federal government grants from Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, is a form of utility and electric bill payment assistance. Payments, or a credit, is made to energy vendors on behalf of eligible East Baton Rouge Parish families. Qualification for any amount of financial assistance is limited to a maximum of one payment in a six month period, contingent upon availability of funds and income thresholds being met.

Project Care is Emergency Services to the Disabled and Elderly. The Baton Rogue Office of Social Services accepts applications for the program. It is a form of emergency utility bill assistance for persons 60 and older. Another focus in on people from the parish with a disability and that has a referral from the Council on Aging.

Free groceries and food may be part of the federal government USDA Commodity Food Program. The community action agency organizes the distribution of surplus government commodities, groceries and food products. The items are for eligible households throughout East Baton Rouge Parish, with a focus on seniors and children. The surplus items are normally passed out a few times per year.




Another option is the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. There a local pantries, charities, and churches that offer food or groceries to individuals and needy families. The applicants to a pantry need to prove an urgent need for food.

The national Emergency Food and Shelter Program is for people facing eviction or homelessness. The Rent and Mortgage Assistance Program may be for families with an eviction or foreclosure notice. There may be grants or loans issued to qualified families for a partial rent or mortgage payment. Eligibility for assistance from City of Baton Rouge, Social Service is limited to one payment per year at most.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, known as HOPWA, is targeted at low-income persons (or their family members) who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The financial aid program creates and supports access to affordable private housing and apartments. HOPWA assists clients to reduce homelessness and better maintain a stable living environment. Funds may be for paying rent, mortgage, and utility bills. In addition, applicants can get access to free health care and supportive services in the parish.

Some discounts may be provided for Solid Waste Fees. There is an annual application fee and it can help offset recent increases in the fees.




Income tax assistance is from trained staff. They are part of the Baton Rogue Office of Social Services prepares State of Louisiana and Federal Government Income Tax forms. The services, including the filing of the forms, is done at no cost for low income families as part of VITA.

Ryan White Care Act Program can help under insured or low income people living with HIV/AIDS. The nationally recognized program can help pay the bills for primary medical care, oral health, HIV related medications, mental health treatment, and coordinate case management services.

Other referrals and government benefits may be offered too. It may be such things as job training from WIA, information on SSDI disability compensation or applications, low income transitional housing and more. The City of Baton Rouge, Social Service is at 4523 Plank Road, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70805. Phone (225) 358-4561.




By Jon McNamara

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