Crosswalk Community Action Agency.

Much of the assistance available in Williamson, Franklin, Jackson, and Jefferson Illinois is administered by Crosswalk Community Action Agency. The case managers from the organization help clients apply for emergency assistance that can be available for a number of needs.

Some of the aid is provided by federal government grants and some is from private sources. Regardless, there may be help available for needs such as paying rent to prevent evictions. Free food from Crosswalk will address hunger issues and the agency offers more as well, such as weatherization and case management.

Funded by a number of different sources, the Emergency Services Program available from CCAA is intended to provide financial assistance to individuals and households experiencing a genuine crisis. There may be grants available for emergency situations that cause a lack of immediate life necessities, such as medicine, shelter, food, rent and so on.

Any type of financial assistance from the Emergency Services Program is provided on a one-time-only basis. Crosswalk Community Action Agency maintains outreach sites for these services in Williamson, Franklin, Jackson, and Jefferson Counties.

Similar to above is the federal government EFSP - Emergency Food and Shelter Program. The goal is to provide assistance as a supplement to the work of local social service agencies and churches. It works in partnership with both nonprofit and government-run programs in Illinois.

The focus of this government resource is on providing financial assistance to agencies that are involved with helping people who are confronted with emergencies. The cause of the crisis can be a flood, fire, tornado, or other disaster. EFSP funding is open to all organizations helping hungry and homeless people. Grants from EFSP must be used to provide food, clothing, permanent and transitional shelter, rent, mortgage and utility bill payments.

Crosswalk Homeless and Eviction Prevention Services is part of the Illinois Homeless Services Continuum of Care. Any type of support is targeted toward eligible individuals and families who are in danger of eviction or that are currently homeless. There may also be assistance for those in danger of foreclosure in counties such as Jackson.




The main intent of the housing program from CCAA is to help the homeless with securing shelter, or, ideally, to prevent homelessness altogether by helping them pay rent or energy bills. The goal is to retain their existing homes.

The program is designed to support individuals, seniors and families as they work to stabilize their current housing situations. So it may coordinate payments for a security deposit or maybe a loan as a form of rental assistance. This will reduce the time spent in regional shelters. Case managers will also help clients with finding housing that is suitable and affordable.

A food pantry is also offered. Residents have access to once-monthly food or grocery assistance at CCAA. Meats, fruits, vegetables, and more may be passed out.

The federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, helps low-income households pay for winter energy services and heating bills. There may also be aid for re-connection of energy service that has been terminated due to failure to pay.

There are several factors are taken into account in determining the amount of cash assistance provided to a household, including the type of fuel used for heating, the number of people in the home, household income level, age, and geographic location. An applicant can be a tenant or a homeowner.

The Illinois LIHEAP program does not require the individual to produce an over-due bill or shut-off notice. Those wishing to apply for assistance from Crosswalk Community Action Agency are encouraged to stop by intake sites in Franklin, Williamson, Jefferson or other counties.

Most homes in the state of Illinois are not 100 percent energy efficient. To help people save money, improve the energy efficiency and comfort of low income residents' homes, the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP) provides assistance. Homeowners can contact Crosswalk Community Action Agency.





The program will help with sealing leaks and cracks, performing repairs on windows and doors and insulating attics and walls. Additional services from the non-profit include an evaluation of your heating system to ensure that it is safe and in good working order. The IHWAP program provides furnace cleaning and tuning, repairs, retrofitting or replacement if deemed necessary by the contractor.

The primary mission of the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) is to assist communities in the service territory. A focus is on those areas with high concentrations of low- to moderate-income households. Help is offered for meeting their greatest economic and community development needs.

Using funding from CSBG program, Crosswalk Scholarships assist low-income, disabled and disadvantaged persons of high academic attainment or potential. They get assistance with paying for higher education or job training at accredited colleges. Particular consideration is given to fields of study in high technology areas or other growth occupations.

Both expanding and new businesses are encouraged to take advantage of Crosswalk's Small Business Loan. The program offers qualified residents with long-term, fixed-rate financing in exchange for employment or job creation for community members in Williamson, Jefferson and other areas.

For more information on these programs, or referrals, call 618-937-3581. Crosswalk Community Action Agency is also based at 410 West Main St., West Frankfort, Illinois 62896.



By Jon McNamara

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