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Community and Family Services emergency assistance programs.

Resources are available for low income families from Community and Family Services. The type of support provided is ever changing, and the best place to call for information/referrals is (260) 744-0700. Assistance can be arranged for seniors, the unemployed, disabled, children and the less fortunate. The main programs are noted below, however CFS may have referrals as well. They partner with many other charities in counties such as Adams, Blackford, Huntington, Jay, Randolph, and Wells Indiana.

Some of the focus of the agency is on addressing an emergency, and that may include eviction prevention or LIHEAP crisis utility bill assistance. However, a primary objective of any community action agency is on helping clients gain self-sufficiency and stability.

Financial aid for rent and other bills from CFS

Housing issues, such as delinquent rent, are a sad but common reality for many who are trapped in the cycle of poverty. The mission at Community and Family Services is to prevent homelessness. They do all they can to stop evictions and keep people housed in their current home or apartment.In order to make this happen, they can arrange initiatives focused on improving the circumstance for low-income residents of Blackford, Huntington, Adams, Randolph, and Wells Counties, among others. The goal is to provide short-term solutions, such as funds to pay a security deposit or rent.

There is also help for people so they can obtain safe and affordable housing, and then move them toward becoming self-sufficient. Case managers can direct individuals to low income apartments, as well as loan programs for paying any first months rent that may be due. There will be ongoing advice provided to tenants so they do not get evicted in the future.

The HUD supported Housing Choice Voucher Program provides a form of financial assistance as well. The federal government and state of Indiana can also help with rent payments for income-eligible families.

As part of section 8, the tenant needs to agree to pay the remainder of any rent that is due to the landlord. While it can vary, the tenant’s share usually equates to around 30 to 40 percent of their total monthly adjusted gross income. This federal government issued rent assistance service enables poor or struggling families to live in safe housing that might otherwise be out of their financial reach.




The disabled may benefit from other government housing solutions as well. They can long term get rent assistance from Shelter Plus Care. This is another voucher-based financial assistance program that is administered by Community and Family Services. This resource targets those fit one of the following criteria. Applicants need to be seriously mentally ill, HIV-positive, or recovering from drug or alcohol abuse.

In addition, clients need to be low income and also must be compliant with all of the program requirements to remain eligible. Individuals must currently be in treatment at a CFS/CANI partnering agency, which initiates the referral. Further, they are required to be in compliance with Shelter Plus requirements during their tenancy to remain eligible.

Utility and heating bill assistance is available from LIHEAP. It helps people pay for various energy expenses, including air conditioning bills. Grants can be used to pay a portion of a client's costs or Summer Cooling provides a one-time credit that the utility company uses toward the client’s bill.

Depending on individual circumstances, those households in Indiana who have not benefited from this service in the past five years may also qualify to receive air conditioners at no cost to them. Most of this aid is for the elderly (over 60), those who are disabled and receiving disability benefits, or children five years old or younger that live in Adams, Blackford, Huntington, and Wells County.

Weatherization provides free energy-efficient home improvements. The resource is for seniors, the disabled, and other qualified low-income families, with the aim of reducing the high costs associated with heating their homes. Improvements to the home, including older residences, may include insulation of walls, and floors or attics; repair of poorly-installed heating equipment or leaking ducts; and some repair of the furnace, as necessary.

Those who benefit from weatherization from CFS are required to reside in a site-built home, a mobile unit, townhome or an apartment in Indiana. They also need to be found qualified for the Energy Assistance Program referenced above.

SSVF, or the Supportive Services for Veteran Families assists discharged veterans who are struggling with paying their rent. There are federal grants for those that are homeless, facing eviction, or that are having difficulties in securing stable housing in Central Indiana.

The program may provide help with locating and securing stable housing; paying the rent on it, moving costs, security deposits, or utility deposits. There is also guidance from Community and Family Services in obtaining VA benefits that can include vocational and employment, training, rehabilitation counseling and education.





The agency runs a Child Care Voucher Program to assist low-income parents with finding affordable, quality day care for children under 13 years of age. To qualify for a voucher for paying, parents are required to be enrolled in school, employed or receiving job training.

Case management from Community and Family Services

CFS offers the Family Development Program. This is a form of self-sufficiency, and it is comprised of a set of services that work together as a whole to help families reach their goals. It is a key resource for obtaining stability. This is a voluntary, in-home program for working poor or otherwise struggling families who have the desire to change and are willing make an effort toward fulfilling their goals.

Through a series of monthly home visits in counties such as Adams or Huntington, the case managers first work to identify family strengths. This will also touch upon their skills sets, desires, and needs. After that, the process will then move on to setting goals, such as on employment. People will also be creating action plans specifically detailing how those objectives will be accomplished.

While the Family Development participant (the individual) will need to do the bulk of the work, case managers provide support throughout the process through referral, follow-up, and various assistance programs designed to promote success.

Education is available in regard to financial matters such as banking, credit, debt reduction and savings. All of this is vital in building toward self-sufficiency. CFS meets this need by offering Financial Literacy Classes that are based on the FDIC Money Smart Curriculum.

Another option, IDA, or the Individual Development Account, is also designed to help in the effort to reach financial self-sufficiency. The service provides assistance with establishing a savings account, and then matches each dollar deposited by the client. Once a certain amount is accumulated, the funds that have been saved and accumulated can be used for certain expenses.

Medical programs and insurance

Provided a little or no cost to the needy, Hoosier Healthwise is Indiana’s primary health insurance program for children, women, seniors, and low-income families. Covered services include doctor visits, prescription drugs, hospital stays, vision services, eyeglasses, dental care and more.

In addition, women in counties such as Huntington or Wells can gain other assistance from Hoosier Healthwise. The coverage of services may include prenatal care, the birth of the baby, and the post- partum visit.

For low-income and adults facing poverty who have been without health insurance for six months or more and do not have access to an employer-sponsored health plan, the state offers the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP). As a side note, if your children are covered by Hoosier Healthwise, it is very likely that you qualify for HIP coverage from the state as well. This will pay for bills including doctor check ups, prescriptions, mental health services, and other expenses.




Children can also benefit from Head Start. This is available as a comprehensive program for that provides educational and social support services that extend to the entire family. Participants have access to free health care, mental health service, dental, vision, and hearing services. Children with special needs or that are disabled are welcomed and included in all programming that is available in Indiana. Parental involvement is strongly encouraged and supported. Free nutritious meals and snacks are furnished, as well.

Another option is Early Head Start. This is a federal government funded program for low-income pregnant women and their children. Most of the services arranged by Community and Family Services are based on weekly in-home visits by providers who work with both parent and child.

Early Head Start services emphasize education, family self-sufficiency, child development and parenting skills. It is available in Indiana and nation wide as an inclusive and diverse program, with multi-lingual staff available as needed.

Location of Community and Family Services is Portland, Indiana 47371-1087, dial (260) 744-0700 for referrals.


By Jon McNamara













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