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Grainger, Cocke, Hamblen, Jefferson, and Monroe County assistance programs.

Emergency financial aid for basic needs and bills

Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority, Inc. operates in all nearby counties. Both short term, crisis assistance is provided as well as longer term support and guidance. Most of the services are paid for by the federal government Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and are administered from local Neighborhood Service Centers in counties such as Monroe or Cocke.

Utility bill assistance is provided from the Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Funding comes from the federal government as well as the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Money can help pay your monthly bill or funds can be expedited during a crisis. The LIHEAP program will help low-income and struggling/unemployed households with the high cost of home heating or cooling bills. All grants are offered on a first come, first served basis. There are other resources available as well, and locate additional programs that offer help paying electric bills.

Vouchers can be provided to help pay for other basic needs. Limited support may be provided to pay rent/mortgage if faced with an eviction or foreclosure. Families facing a utility disconnection may apply for assistance. Free food and groceries are offered from pantries in Hamblen and Grainger counties as well as other towns. Additional anti-hunger resources come from the USDA Surplus Commodity food program.

Working on self-sufficiency is a focus of the Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority. The non-profit provides job placement services, education, and provides errands for elderly and disabled clients as well as limited home visits.

The Senior Nutrition Program is administered in the region by the community action agency. It provides free home delivered meals to the homebound and disabled. The agency also works with local charities to provide congregate meals at senior centers in the area, including Jefferson and Monroe. If you can’t make it to a meal site, then volunteers or staff may offer transportation to the local centers. Everyone, no matter your age or income level, should be able to receive at least one hot nutritious meal per day.





The Douglas-Cherokee Head Start and related Early Head Start programs provide free quality care for children under the age of 4. Assistance is also for their parents and pregnant mothers. Services are also provided through local school systems for children from low income families with disabilities. Education, food, and basic health or dental care is all available from Head Start.

The U.S. Department of Education Federal TRiO works with the non-profit to offer education assistance from EOC. It can assist those local residents without a high school diploma and the program will help them prepare for and earn a GED. Also receive assistance in completing admissions and applying for financial aid and scholarships.

Employment and job training is available in Grainger County from the WIA. It can also help teenagers and youth. A wide range of services are available including paid and unpaid work experience, guidance and free career counseling services, occupational skills training, and summer employment.

The community action offices in counties, including Hamblen, are at the following. Not only may they offer grants or loans for electric bills or transportation, but referrals are also provide for resources (such as job training) that can break a cycle of poverty.

  • 534 East First North Street, Morristown, Tennessee 37814, telephone number is (423) 587-4500
  • 884 Englewood Road, Madisonville, TN 37354, dial (423) 442-3769 for hours
  • 750 Old Knoxville Highway, Sevierville, Tennessee 37862, call (865) 453-7131
  • Office at 534 East First North Street, Morristown, TN 37814, main phone number (423) 587-4500
  • 115 Mulberry Street, Newport, TN 37821, main number (866) 631-4120




Catholic Charities of East Tennessee assists with housing, social services, food, and emergency needs. Low income and transitional housing services can assist the homeless and people facing eviction. Food, hot meals, and Christmas assistance may be offered, especially to children. Some short term financial aid can be available for paying housing expenses, rent, or utilities. Case managers from Catholic Charities will also offer a number other social services and referrals to qualified low income residents of Hamblen and Monroe County as well as other towns. 703 East Jackson St, Jonesborough, Tennessee 37659, (423) 753-3001.

Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency (UETHDA) of Kingsport can provide assistance to those that meet State and Federal funding guidelines. The non-process processes applications for USDA Commodity Program (TEFAP), weatherization, Senior Community Service Employment Program, Low Income Home Energy Assistance program, and head start, among other resources. (423) 246-6180.

The Salvation Army is the local branch of the nations leading non-profit. Programs can help with energy costs, including providing vouchers to pay for propane or kerosene. Other programs include free food, Christmas assistance, help for seniors, and housing assistance. Social services and referrals are offered as well to low income families and the poor. The closest location can be reached at (865) 908-4010.

East Tennessee Human Resources Agency provides some limited services for the region. Low income families and the working poor may be able to get help in the form of referrals or information on government benefits, such as weatherization. Clients of ETHRA can also learn about low income energy bill assistance, Legal Assistance for the Elderly Program, and other financial aid. Click here.

Sweetwater Area Ministries can disburse emergency funds for paying utility bills, including heating and air conditioning. Vouchers for buying food can also be disbursed. Call (423) 337-0210 for information.

Morristown Hamblen Central Services may provide heating bill assistance during the winter months. The non-profit also offers several other programs, mostly from referrals. There may be financial aid for rent to stop evictions, prescription medications, and other aid from their clearinghouse.

Other support is free Christmas programs from the Holiday Hope Fund, Foreclosure Counseling, free food from pantries, and a thrift store. They are a leading non-profit for the Hamblen County area. 2450 S Cumberland St in Morristown, Tennessee 37813. Call (423) 586-9491, or read Central Services assistance programs.





Eastern and northeastern food pantries and non-profit centers

Gods Store House is located at 121 N Cosby Hwy, Newport, Tennessee 37821. Call (423) 623-4855.

Sunset Gap Community Center food pantry will only help the needy in Hamblen County and other towns. Proof of hardship is required. Families can only use the pantry once a month. 1300 Sunset Gap Road, Cosby, TN 37722, main number (423) 623-4313.

Breadbasket Central Charities is also in Newport. Dial (423) 623-8630 for emergency groceries, meals, or Thanksgiving and Christmas support.

Sevier County Ministries administers a pantry for the less fortunate in eastern Tennessee. (865) 428-5182.

Morristown Hamblen Central Services can offer free groceries, food, and other support once every 3 months. 2450 S Cumberland St, Morristown, Tennessee 37813, call (423) 586-9491.

Ministerial Association of Dandridge - Emergency Food Pantry. (865) 712-8905.

Appalachian Outreach may have clothing, school items, food, canned goods, and perishable items. The address is 511 Municipal Drive, Jefferson City, TN, call (865) 475-5611 for intake.

Several other centers are in the region and can help the needy. Find Tennessee food banks.

Medical centers and community clinics

Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic - The nearby non-profit center offers free or low cost primary medical and health care services. The low income and uninsured may benefit from health screenings, check ups, pediatric care and general medicine. The community clinic also offers diagnostic procedures, medications and follow up treatment. 312 Prince Street, Sevierville, TN 37862, phone (865) 774-7684, or read medical bill assistance.

Chota Community Health Services - Tellico Plains Clinic operates a sliding fee scale. A wide range of family medical and dental services are offered to low income insured and uninsured. 412 Hunt Street, Tellico Plains, Tennessee 37385, (423) 253-6545




By Jon McNamara

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