Dekalb County Family Services information center.

A free information service will offer details on available financial aid and basic needs for families across DeKalb County and Decatur. The main resource is run by Family Services and another non-profit known as the United Way, and there is help for everything from nutrition to homeless prevention. Other support can be in the form of free medical care to the uninsured or working poor. It is key to note that Family Services does not offer direct support on their own, but rather staff refer people to resources across the community.

Callers can receive details on a variety of social services that are operated by non-profits or government agencies. There are programs, both financial and resources such as job placement, that are focused on economically disadvantaged individuals, senior citizens and families interested in achieving self-sufficiency. Residents of Dekalb County can get information on a variety of services.

Some utility companies in the state of Georgia offer help with energy bills from donation programs for their customers. Money will come from private donors as well as businesses, and there are often matching grants from the energy companies themselves as well. All of the money will then be paid out to low income individuals, often in the form of a credit on their electric or heating bill. Any type of utility assistance will often be only for families in a crisis, that have final notices and/or disconnections.

Family Services or the United Way may have information on these services and funds which can be provided to eligible applicants. There is often priority for senior citizens, households with young children or disabled members, and families who are in imminent danger of having their electrical service disconnected. The utility donation programs will often be combined with federal grants from LIHEAP, and this aid can help customers in Dekalb County with upcoming disconnections.

Some non-profits in Dekalb County receive federal or state grants from Emergency Food & Shelter, or EFSP. When this occurs, the United Way will know about it and can provide referrals to agencies to apply at.

What this service does is it provides both rent and food assistance to customers or tenants experiencing a one-time crisis situation. There may also even be emergency funds for a security deposit for a currently homeless resident.




The aid is targeted at people who do not have the ability to pay rent or other critical expenses, such as utility bills or food. The program also provides other forms of housing assistance for temporary shelter on a limited basis or maybe transitional housing. So EFSP is very wide ranging in what is offered. Note, the applicant must be able to document the crisis they are facing, prove their income and show ability to maintain expenses after the receipt of the emergency grant for their bills.

Food and also basic needs, such as clothing, is distributed. Charities, as well as many churches in Dekalb County provide customers with free food and/or clothing based on availability. Family Service referral line can direct callers to these pantries or clothing banks, and some agencies will even give customers gift card(s). These can be utilized for emergency assistance, and the vouchers are for customers with documented crisis.

The United Way is a place to learn about Family Development as well. There are many resources that can help people gain stability and self-sufficiency, and some examples of this are below. There are resources for immigrants, the unemployed, and others that need guidance in Dekalb County, including people that are struggling with their debts.

  • Citizenship classes can prepare individuals going though the naturalization process, no matter what country they cam from. for the Citizenship Test.
  • Computer Training is for low-income individuals and really anyone across Dekalb County who has a desire to learn about computers. There are also free classes for people that have an interest in entering the workforce in a computer-related field.
  • Get referrals from Family Services to English for Speakers of Other Languages, or ESOL.
  • General Employment Preparation and Training will help people as they seek a job in the public or private sector. This process includes employability skills training, job coaching and referrals.

Many people also need help with medical or dental care. In these cases, there are clinics that can assist. Most centers are staffed by volunteer doctors, nurses, or dentists, but the bottom is that free or low cost medical check ups can be performed, or some families may receive basic dental check ups.




Non-profit organizations and groups across Decatur offer many other programs as well, and Family Services can be a source of information on them. Learn about everything from the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Initiative to Housing Assistance Grants or Foreclosure Counseling. There are also discounted telephone services from Lifeline available in the state of Georgia, and this can help with telephone bills too. So a wide range of services are available, and people can dial either the United Way or Family Services at (404) 371-2000 to get more details.


By Jon McNamara

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