Community Services Agency of South Texas assistance programs.

Dimmit and LaSalle County families can get assistance from the Community Services Agency of South Texas for a number of needs. The non-profit works to prevent poverty, homelessness, an unemployment in the region. They administer numerous services in an effort to do this.

Emergency Services is available to assist residents who are in a short term crisis. Clients are welcomed on a walk-in basis, and if they are found to be qualified for financial aid they are linked with the Family Development staff. This individuals will gather information, including total income and expenses of the family.

They will also assess the situation, and resolve the crisis, by providing referrals to various CSA programs. They will also offer information to resources offered by other agencies in the greater community. Examples may include no interest loans for paying bills, SNAP food stamps, rent or security deposit programs, and much more.

FSSP - Family Self-Sufficiency Program from Community Services Agency of South Texas guides low-income families through the process of service and needs identification, referrals, and participation in other programs. Along the way, FSSP provides support and assistance by performing personal interviews, researching online job and employment opportunities in the on site Computer Lab, holding mock employment interviews, and gathering information. This resource is quite extensive, requiring a minimum of 15 weeks of participation to reach the goal of achieving self-sufficiency.




Self-sufficiency also includes information on medical and health care services. Many residents of LaSalle and nearby counties are uninsured. Other struggle to pay for their insurance premiums as well as deductibles. Or they need help in finding affordable care. Case managers can direct them to health insurance deductible assistance programs and/or give them tips.

CSA Family Service Centers meet the energy needs of low-income households in Dimmit and LasSalle Counties through the state of Texas Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP). They do this by the following.

The Energy Crisis Component of CEAP assists residents with paying for the energy costs for main sources of heat or cooling when summer temperatures soar above 99 degrees or when winter temperatures drop to the 40-degree mark.





In order to qualify for a grant or a credit on an energy bill, all applicants must meet income guidelines to participate. Benefits are disbursed in the form of a direct payment to energy-providing utilities, and may only cover part of what is owed to the utility company.

Another option is the Crisis and Safety Net Component. The Community Services Agency of South Texas service provides a one-time crisis assistance payment for delivery of fuel, after basic CEAP benefits are exhausted. Benefit eligibility and amounts are determined according to household income for people in Dimmit County. This utility bill assistance program is available only to households who use deliverable fuels for heat. Other utility company customers are not eligible for this CEAP component.

The state of Texas Heating and Cooling Component allows for repair or replacement of appliances, such as air conditioners, refrigerators, natural gas heaters, and water heaters. Eligibility is dependent on the ratio of income to energy costs, and must fall within a certain percentage range.

Last, but not least, the Co-Pay Component is for families who are continuing their education with the goal of escaping poverty. Financial assistance or other forms of support can be provided for up to 12 months for those families who are income eligible and meet priority criteria.

The goal of the state of Texas and community action Weatherization Program is to provide energy-efficient home repairs or alterations to dwellings that help households save on the costs associated with keeping a home running.

Both homeowners and renters from Dimmit and LaSalle County are eligible for the free Weatherization services, which may include sealing structural air leaks, insulating attics and sidewalls, and inspecting the furnace in the home. The conservation program also provides energy-efficient lighting and may even replace a faulty freezer or refrigerator. All work is done at no cost for qualifying households.




The IDA - Individual Development Account program involves opening and maintaining a special account in order to build assets. This is defined as something of value that is likely to return substantial long term benefits to its owner, including stability, security and opportunity to accumulate more income. Typically, each account deposit made by a client is matched by the organization.

The community action CSA runs several programs designed to assist elderly and/or disabled residents of Dimmit and LaSalle Counties as well. Most of it is part of the Multi-Service Senior Centers, which in effect act as the hub for CSA’s comprehensive set of services for the elderly (aged 60 and older).

Services include counseling, information and referral through the Outreach Program, energy bills assistance, weatherization, case management, physical fitness, information on Medicare applications, instruction and training, and others. In addition, CSA offers hot and nutritious home-delivered and congregate meals for the elderly and/or disabled.

Senior aid is funded by Title III and provided through the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) in Texas. The free Congregate Meals are served onsite at a number of Senior Centers and Nutrition Sites within the region. Also, the free Home-Delivered Meals are funded directly from the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), and distributed through Senior Centers. A referral by a DADS caseworker is necessary to participate in the meal programs.

For more information on these and other programs, call for an appointment or information. The Community Services Agency of South Texas is located at 910 S. 5th St., Carrizo Springs, Texas 78834, dial 830-876-5219.



By Jon McNamara

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