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Clay, Smith, Macon, and Jackson County assistance programs.

Find help for bills including utility and rent

There are a few help centers and charities that may offer direct financial aid. Any funds will be limited though, and come with restrictions and income criteria.

UCHRA is the leading community action agency, and they support all of the Upper Cumberland region. They support all of the counties in the area, including Smith, Jackson, and a few others. Many people from the community will contact this agency first for help. Even if they can't assist, the case managers will often have information on public aid and other assistance.

  • Rent assistance – For people that meet income, age, and other requirements, there may be funds or short term loans for paying a portion of rent. The goal is to stop an eviction.
  • Job training referrals can be provided by UCHRA, as there are centers in Clay and other counties.
  • Working poor families can learn about local food pantries, including at churches.
  • Apply for benefits such as disability, SNAP food stamps, Medicaid, and more.
  • UCHRA will also process energy programs. The primary options include grants from LIHEAP and the free energy conservation, or weatherization program.

There are a few locations of the non-profit, as they operate in each county. Applicants for any type of financial aid will normally need to go through a case management process. For more information, or to apply for a program, call the local center.

-500 Dow Avenue, Celina, Tennessee 38551, dial (931) 243-3674
-UCHRA of Macon County is at 607 Highway 52 By-Pass, Lafayette, TN 37083. Dial (615) 666-3377
-Jackson County families can dial their office at (931) 268-9840.
-UCHRA Office Smith County - 120 Paulene Gore Way, Suite A, Carthage, Tennessee 37030, dial (615) 735-0476

Abba's House Benevelonce Ministry is located in the town of Hixson. As funding allows, there may be small dollar amounts or vouchers for food or medications. They can also assist with a portion of rent. Telephone - 877-6462




Macon HELPS – A food bank and one time financial aid is in Macon County. Dial (615) 666-6607 for applications

Gainesboro First United Methodist Church (phone (931) 268-4771) offers assistance for Jackson County only. Grants may be issued for utilities, including water, electric, and gas bills. The church may also help pay a deposit on new utility service, or the security costs for an apartment.

Smith County Help Center, located in Carthage, Tennessee, offers emergency financial aid. Clients are domestic violence survivors and the disabled. Rent, utilities, medications, and more is available. (615) 735-8090

Legal Aid of Tennessee – Call (423) 778-7807. Staff can offer free advice to people facing an eviction or disconnection of their power. Other civil matters can be handled too.

A local community clinic is at Hope Family Health Services. This is in a nearby county. There may be low cost medical care to the underinsured. Check ups, medications, referrals to hospitals, and other medical or dental care can be arranged. Dial (615) 644-2000.

Local food pantries

New Hope Baptist Church, located at 311 North Murray Street in Gainesboro, has emergency boxes of groceries, holiday meals, clothing, blankets for the homeless, and more. (931) 268-2172

Stevens Street Baptist Church Care Center - 406 Short Street, Cookeville, Tennessee 38501, dial (931) 520-4881

Bethel Family Worship Center is open on Thursday only in Lafayette. Phone - (615) 666-5738.

Called Out Ministries Worship Center has a free food pantry in Red Boiling Springs. Dial (615) 699-4514.




Trinity Outreach Center is based in Cookeville at 235 Main Street. Clients can get non-perishable food, baby formula, and more. Call (931) 537-9814.

Bread of Life Homeless Shelter and Clinic – Basic medial care is offered as well as a hot meal. Or get information on programs for paying a security deposit, transitional housing, and other support. Address is 281 W Fourth St, Crossville, TN 38555, (931) 707-0503.


By Jon McNamara

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