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Cornerstone Community Action Agency in Central Texas assistance programs.

Residents of Central Texas can contact their local community action agency, and the best place to learn about the local options is from the United Way 211 service. The  center provides the low income and working poor with support. The objective is to help people gain self-sufficiency and overcome poverty. While financial aid is limited, they may have some forms such as medications and applications for energy bill assistance. Other assistance is administered for educational matters.

Case managers from the various community action agencies offer support in several counties. They include the Texas Counties of Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Gonzales, Hays, Lee, Llano, and Williamson. Referrals are also available for other local churches, charities, and local non-profits.

The agency offers a great number of programs to low-income men, women and children in order to provide needed assistance. One of these resources is the CEAP (Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program) that is available to eligible residents of Hays, Caldwell, and Blanco counties.

Qualified clients are entitled to use services that include energy education, budget counseling, needs assessment, utility bill payment assistance, and even repair of existing heating and cooling units.

Support may be provided for the purchase of portable heating and cooling units. This is also included in the program services. Priority is given to low-income households with high energy use. Another focus is on the disabled and elderly or those that use a high energy burden, or the presence of a child (age 5 or under), or elderly individual. All eligible applicants need to fill in the application.

San Marcos Electric Utility - SMEU provides assistance to income qualified families, elderly on a fixed income, or disabled on a fixed income. SMEU is funded by the City of San Marcos Texas. Note that it  is intended only for San Marcos Electric Utility customers.

Assistance includes payment of electric and water/wastewater portions of one month’s utility bill. Eligible applicants can use the assistance twice a year, each every six months. An application is required. The program’ application period lasts from October to September each year.

Pedernales Electric Cooperative is a program of Central Texas Community Action Agencies. The programs provide help to residents of Hays, Caldwell, and Blanco Counties. Eligible clients need to be at or below 250% of the Federal government Poverty Income Guidelines in order to meet needed requirements for program enrollment It is founded by PEC.




The organization uses a Household Priority Rating Form to screen and help determine who can apply. It is only for those applicants who do not already meet the established eligibility criteria for the CEAP program indicated above. Electric use payment assistance is included in the service. The application is required for assistance and the maximum amount is about $500 annually per household, as funding allows. The program’s application period starts in January and ends in December each year.

Central Texas Primary Health Care provides free or reduced priced medical care services for low-income men and women. The applicant need to have a family income that is 25% to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level. Services include limited prescriptions, medical visits limited dental care, free health screening, monitoring of blood pressure and blood sugar, health risk profile, referral services and preventive health education.

The Prescription Assistance Program is designed for eligible uninsured residents of Hays County Texas. The program provides for assistance by utilizing the free prescription services operated by the major pharmaceutical and drug companies. So the number of options is extensive. Currently there are several existing, free patient assistance programs are available for qualified clients.

In the cooperation with area physicians, the program checks eligibility of the patients by screening and then organizes appointments. Appropriate pharmaceutical company applications with the patients’ information are required in order to confirm that patients are receiving their medication. When it is time to reapply to the pharmaceutical companies, the patients are contacted.

The Senior Citizens facility in San Marcos Texas serves the elderly by providing resources that enhance quality of life, support independence and encourage community involvement. The goal of the program is to give elderly and seniors an opportunity to achieve self-sufficiency by participating in recreational activities and pursuing mutual interests. Services include field trips, workshops and crafts activities, low cost health screenings,  information and referral to other social services agencies. Assistance in completing government forms and applications is also provided by staff.





Assistance and case management for HIV positive individuals through the Rural AIDS Services Program. The assistance is provided to the residents of Bastrop, Burnet, Blanco, Caldwell, Hays, Llano, and Williamson counties in Texas. Case Management also includes transportation to physician visits, medical and dental appointments, financial assistance for housing, funds for utilities, free food, prescriptions, and radiology services.

Case Management Services from Cornerstone Community Action Agency include assessment of the needs and linkage with medical and social providers and the Texas HIV Medication Program. Financial assistance is provided for paying for certain items. It can be prescriptions, radiology services, specialty physician services, and mental health counseling.

Low-income clients are entitled to emergency food vouchers, financial assistance for housing costs such as utility bills. Transportation to medical and dental appointments for clients lacking transportation or too ill to drive is also provided.

The Head Start Program has been helping low-income children and families for tens of years. The program provides assistance to hundreds of children in counties such as Hays and Caldwell at dozens of different locations.

The goal of Head Start is to help children in their search for knowledge and skills, enabling them to learn and grow in a safe environment. In addition, the program helps parents to be better role models to their children. Parents are child’s first teacher and it is important that child gets the best support from their parents.

For those that qualify, Head Start provides many support services to whole family by giving them a chance to grow. With the help of parents, the program provides best help for children and their growth and success. Many Head Start parents and families have gained skills that helped them get jobs and education. Head Start offers tools that can help low-income families and their children to reach their goals.

Assistance available may be for addressing disabilities, Operations, Mental Health, ERSEA, Nutrition, Education, Health, and Family & Community Engagement.

Education assistance for adults and teenagers is offered as well. The Community Action Agencies that operate in Central Texas GED (General Educational Development Certificate) is one of the services available for adults. The GED is obtained after passing several subtests. The tests administered include Science, Language Arts-Writing and Reading, Social Studies, and Mathematics (which includes the use of a scientific calculator).

English & Literacy Civics (EL Civics) and ESL (English as a Second Language) classes are the part of the Adult Education Program services. These sessions and workshops assist students in language acquisition through listening, reading, speaking and writing the English Language. EL Civics classes educate participants on American history, government, and information related to the United States Citizenship test. Acquiring the knowledge and skills to become active and informed parents, workers and community members is the main goal.





Employment services from the Career Pathways for Central Texans program provides help to unemployed and those looking for new skills. It will coordinate workforce education, career counseling, and other job training opportunities for adults. The goal of the program is to prepare participants for smooth transition into occupational certification programs, college credit programs and the workforce. The services of the program include career planning, financial aid workshops, workforce readiness training, assistance in navigating college systems, and college readiness preparation.

Applying for assistance from Cornerstone Community Action Agency

As noted, there will be multiple locations in the Central part of the state of Texas. For more information on assistance available, as well as how to apply, dial 211.


By Jon McNamara













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