Dickinson-Iron County Community Services Agency assistance programs.

Residents of both Dickinson and Iron Counties can apply for financial aid and case management at DICSA, or the Community services Agency. This organization is part of the statewide and national community action agency network. They will administer various programs for the working poor. Examples include Supportive Services for Veteran Families, Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and many others

Emergency help from community action

From time to time, as both government or non-profit funds become available, the DICSA Emergency Services Program assists low-income families or individuals who are in a crisis. The program provides monetary assistance to help the client make it through the period.

There may be grants to help with utility bills and deliverable fuel, such as fuel oil, wood, propane, natural gas and wood pellets. In some cases, Dickinson-Iron County Community Services may have funds for paying back rent. Budget counseling is also available to help ensure that future crises do not occur. Or learn more on the benefits of budgeting. Income guidelines vary according to the services requested.

The Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program, or SSVF, is also administered. This is for families in Dickinson, Menominee, Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties. The HUD supported program helps homeless or at-risk veterans and their families obtain and remain in stable, permanent housing.

SSVF also also includes case management and follow-up services. Temporary financial assistance may also be available, including for rent, depending on the needs of the veteran client or their immediate family. To be eligible for a cash grant, applicants must meet income and other federally established eligibility guidelines.





DICSA works with the USDA - United States Department of Agriculture to operate the Commodity Supplemental Food (CSFP), widely known as the “Green Card” program. The free food from CSFP is intended to be an addition to the existing diets of individuals over 60 years of age.

USDA approved CSFP food packages contain items from the basic food groups, including beans, canned meats, fruits, juices, vegetables, peanut butter, non-fat dry milk, cheese, pasta, milk, and cereal. Bi-monthly distributions take place at sites in Iron Mountain, Sagola, Felch, Crystal Falls, and Iron River.

In addition to that service, DICSA also operates a bi-monthly CSFP program in cooperation with the Menominee Delta School craft Community Action Agency. This will offer additional support to the low income that are facing hunger. Other partners include the Alger Marquette Community Action Board, and the Chippewa Luce Mackinac Community Action Agency.

The Emergency Food Assistance Program from Dickinson-Iron County Community Services Agency conducts food distributions at Iron as well as Dickinson County Senior Centers. This will take place two to four times per year.





The food items from TEFAP typically vary from one distribution to the next, based on availability. Items that remain constant include dairy, beans, rice, canned meats, frozen vegetables, fruits, and flour. Cards are not required to participate, but clients should expect to sign a form in regard to income eligibility at each distribution. The United States Department of Agriculture provides the food for these distributions.

Residents aged 60 and over, as well as their spouses, are invited to join the agency for Congregate Meals. Based on the season, these are typically served at lunchtime on weekdays at most of the DICSA Senior Centers.

The low cost or even free Congregate Meals not only provide nutritious foods that might be lacking in some seniors’ diets, they also present an opportunity to take advantage of our nutrition education programming as well as socialize with their peers in a group setting. As an example, clients can even learn how to use tactics such as unit pricing when grocery shopping. Diners aged 60 and older are asked to make a suggested donation of $4.00 per meal to Dickinson-Iron County Community Services Agency in order to help support the program, but the money is not a requirement.

Those under the age of 60 are also welcome to come in and enjoy a low cost meal as guests, for a suggested guest donation of $5.00 per meal. Certain Centers in the community, such as in Iron County, offer evening meals on specific days.

The Home Delivered Meals Program serves homebound seniors as well as the disabled in Dickinson, Iron, and Baraga Counties. The purpose of this free program is to ensure that seniors who are unable to get out to Congregate Meals sites referenced above or to the grocery store have their daily nutritional needs met.

Each year, DICSA’s Home Delivered Meals Program brings thousands of hot and healthy meals to eligible participants. No fee is charged for this service; however, participant donations are greatly appreciated to help pay for delivery expenses and the food as well. All money will be cycled directly back into the program.

Please call any of the local Senior Centers for more information or to sign up. Your deliveries will begin immediately, although DICSA will require a comprehensive in-home assessment to determine eligibility and create a service plan.

The local Weatherization Program helps reduce home heating costs for income-eligible homeowners and renters. The process from staff that are part of DICSA begins with a computerized in-home energy audit that indicates what type of repairs or alterations are most appropriate.




After that has been done, next, their licensed and insured contractors do the work on the home to help the family reduce their usage. This federally funded program, while limited in that it often has a waiting list, will cost you nothing and it makes it so easy to get the help you need in order to save money throughout the year.

Care for seniors from Dickinson-Iron County Community Services Agency

The Family Ties Adult Center in Iron Mountain as well as Dickinson County offers an alternative to placing a family member into care. The resource is for people who have been diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer disease, or another debilitating disease, and the goal is to keep them out of a long-term care facility.

The Center’s services allow the participant to remain at home, living in familiar surroundings, while also supporting the needs of both their caregivers as well as other family members. The structured program at Family Ties strongly emphasizes socialization as well as stimulating activities to promote a feeling of accomplishment and pride.

Respite for the family caregiver is another advantage to using Dickinson-Iron County Community Services Agency. This is a resource that gives the caregiver time to fulfill other daily responsibilities while their loved one is cared for in a  secure, safe, and stimulating environment.

DICSA offers a number of In-Home Services to help Dickinson as well as Iron County seniors (considered age 60 older) maintain their independence and continue as vital members of the community. The Office of Services to the Aging, which is a key partner, requires completion of an assessment to determine specific household needs prior to providing any In-Home Services. Or if not qualified below, or need additional assistance, then find financial aid for seniors in Michigan.

Once the assessment is done, and if the applicant is qualified, they will set up a schedule for one of our trained aides to visit the home to provide care. The low cost In-Home Services include the following.

Homemaking Services range from doing the laundry to dusting, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms and kitchen. Staff also help with activities such as meal preparation, shopping, errands, changing of linens, sweeping, and mopping.

The Respite Care Program from DICSA enables the caregiver to be away from the pressures involved in caring for a member of their home. In addition to that, respite also helps the person who caring for the senior to keep up with daily tasks and necessities that might otherwise be put aside.

Another service is from Personal Care aides. These individuals assist with dressing, grooming, bathing, toileting, transferring, ambulation, and eating. Please note that Personal Care aides do not dispense medications or perform any type of medication set-up.

Dickinson-Iron County Community Services Agency also offers door-to-door transportation for both senior and non-senior residents. This is a low cost service for people that live in Kingsford, Iron Mountain, Norway, Iron River, and Crystal Falls. The non-profit has a wheelchair accessible van that will pick up the client at the door and take them to appointments.





Applying for help from DICSA

Both emergency assistance, food, care and more may be offered to clients of all ages, backgrounds, and income levels. For more information, the Dickinson-Iron County Community Services Agency is located at 800 Crystal Lake Blvd., Iron Mountain, MI 49801. Call the staff at 906-774-2256 for more information.

By Jon McNamara

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