Assistance from Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council.

Serving several counties in the region, the Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council can help qualified low income or working poor families with their basic needs. The non-profit agency coordinates programs for shelter, food, nutrition, and medical needs, among other resources. More details are below.

Emergency funds for expenses, including rent, utilities, and others

C-SCDC operates as a private, non-profit corporation. The case managers from the site are dedicated to helping residents of Sebastian, Crawford, Polk, Logan, Franklin and Scott Counties in Arkansas. Staff work with clients to help them obtain self-sufficiency. One goal is to provide improved housing conditions, stop evictions and promote long term homeownership opportunities for low-to-moderate income households.

Rent or energy bill help to prevent homelessness is available. The federal government created Emergency Solutions Grant program is dedicated to providing direct financial assistance and support services. It is an option for residents of Scott, Crawford, Sebastian, Polk, Logan, and Franklin Counties who are facing evictions, foreclosures, or that are currently homeless.

Those who have no other resources and that are found to meet income may receive short-term help with making rent payments, housing relocation assistance, and stabilization services. There may also be grants to pay for security deposits or moving costs.

Clients also receive support and case management programs from C-SCDC. These include budgeting classes, utility bill payment assistance, help with job searches, and case management. Please call 479-785-2303.

Individuals and families who meet HUD (Housing and Urban Development) criteria for being considered homeless are eligible for Rapid Re-Housing Assistance through the C-SCDC ESG program. In order to be qualified, some of the criteria include sleeping in an emergency shelter or in a place not meant for human habitation, such as a park, car, abandoned building, street/sidewalk. Or they may have been remaining in a hospital or other institution for up to 180 days.

The Community Action Agency Dental Clinic is available to low-income and uninsured residents who are in need of dental care, but cannot afford the cost of seeing a dentist. Many of the experienced, licensed dentists at the Arkansas based Dental Clinic volunteer their time to help patients, many of whom are striving to get off welfare or are among the working poor.




Extensive assistance is available on site. Clinic dentists can perform extractions, but do not fill cavities. Cleanings, fluoride, and more is available. There is also a C-SCDC program in place for those who require dentures. All patients receive free screenings for oral cancer. For children, the Community Dental Clinic operates a Tooth Fairy Program, which offers educations and basic checkups for children.

Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council food programs

The community action agency tackles hunger in Arkansas. Almost 200 food pantries, senior centers, emergency shelters, soup kitchens and day care facilities across the various river valley counties receive grocery items from the C-SCDC Food Bank.

These nonprofits pantries and other centers then use the items to feed infant, senior citizens, the homebound, disabled, and needy neighbors. The Food Bank operated by Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council processes and distributes millions of pounds of food and canned goods each year.

C-SCDC Emergency Food and Shelter Program is to provide financial help to low-income residents living in the neediest areas of counties such as Crawford or Polk. The aid is for those who are having difficulty managing the costs of paying for their housing, food, and other basic needs. The program's is made up of representatives of Catholic Charities, American Red Cross, the Jewish Federations of North America and other groups.

Asset Development and Homeownership Center is a Crawford-Sebastian Community Action Agency program that has helped hundreds of low-income families with home purchases each year. It works by providing them with direct financial and counseling services that guided them toward achieving self-sufficiency.

The regional Homeownership Center presents clients with a variety of grants and other programs to help with paying for down payments and closing costs for both first-time and repeat homebuyers. The buyer must use the home as his or her primary residence and work with an approved lender for their mortgage.





Get help from energy bill assistance programs from Community Development Council

LIHEAP Winter Regular Program applications are available at C-SCDC. It will assist low-income families, including from Crawford and Sebastian County as well as other towns. It will help households with paying heating bills.

In order to qualify, all applicants must demonstrate that heating costs are included in their monthly rent payments, show a current heating bill, and be able to verify all of the previous month's income.

Both Regular Assistance and Crisis Assistance provide a one-time grant to the utility company. For Regular LIHEAP Assistance, the program makes use of a payment supplied by the Arkansas Department of Health in Little Rock. Crisis Assistance covers what is currently due to avoid disconnection of power. It will also help pay for what is due to reconnect already disconnected utility services, or the amount required in order to supply propane to the home, with a $500 limit.

Energy conservation is available using funding from the Department of Energy and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. The Arkansas Weatherization Assistance Program provides homeowners with free, computerized energy audits and cost-saving improvements to the homes of income-eligible residents.

Once the needs of the homeowner are determined through the audit, technicians install updates. This will include weather stripping on doors and windows; insulate attics, walls and floors; caulk and seal cracks and holes; install storm windows, energy-saving light bulbs, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; repair and retrofit furnaces; and/or replace energy-wasting refrigerators and electric water heaters.




In addition to these free updates making homes more comfortable or warmer, these weatherization services improve quality of life and provide motivation for households to move forward in a positive direction. The money saved on utility bills, which Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council has estimated to be hundreds of dollars per year, frees up needed resources for other necessities, such as transportation, food, medication, or new clothing for school.

The Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council is located at PO Box 4069, Fort Smith, Arkansas 72914. Call the non-profit at 479-785-2303.


By Jon McNamara

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