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Douglas County General Assistance Programs.

Residents of Douglas County who are out of options may be able to get help from General Assistance. The program is available as a last resort for residents of the Omaha region and the county that can't get financial help from any other source, even including public benefits.

The program, also commonly known as GA, can help qualified low income residents with a number of bills and expenses, ranging from funeral to heating costs and rent. There can even be grants or vouchers for more basic needs, such as food or clothing, and more details on the resources are below.

Housing expenses can be paid by General Assistance. There may be funds for tenants facing an eviction, as well as homeowners that are threatened with a foreclosure from their bank. Money from the county is available for rent or partial mortgage payments.

Utility bills of all types can be paid by GA in Douglas County. Grants can pay for heating bills during the cold Nebraska winter, or their may be help for more regular electric bills. In some cases GA can help with water costs.

Omaha area families facing hunger, that don't qualify for help from a local pantry or public aid such as food stamps, can apply for General Assistance as well. This will help them pay for groceries and basic food supplies. The county can also refer residents to other resources in a crisis, such as a soup kitchen at a church, as those sites rarely turn anyone away.

GA may arrange transportation. This is mostly for local trips for job interviews or similar areas, however in some cases out-of-county transportation can be arranged.

The county will also provide funds from GA for cremation assistance. This is a form of financial support for people who die within the geographic boundaries of Douglas County, provided they are indigent and meet other conditions. The family can't have savings or an income to pay for the funeral costs on their own.

If a family qualifies for financial help, the funds will be paid directly to their vendor or energy provider. Cash will not be offered to the applicant. So this means that payments  are made directly to the landlord for rent, or if someone owes money to a Nebraska energy company, then GA will provide funds to that provider.




On the other hand, if someone needs food or items such as clothing, then what the county will do is offer vouchers or merchandise cards to the clients. They will then need to use them for the purchase of non-food necessities or maybe a box of groceries at Dollar General Stores in Omaha or Douglas County.

Also, most beneficiaries, provided they do not have a severe disability, will need to work or at least participate in job training. Douglas County will not just give people a hand-out, so therefore if someone is requesting financial aid, they need to have some form of ability to gain self-sufficiency. If this is not possible, then community service is always another option.

If needed, job placement and training can be arranged for clients. There is guidance for people that face significant barriers in re-entering or even entering the competitive job market in Douglas County. Some barriers that can be overcome include helping people with little or no recent employment experiences, health limitations, address age discrimination, reading comprehension difficulties, criminal records, or maybe someone lacks social skills.

If someone just can't get a job, then the county General Assistance department can help address these challenges through resources such as Transition to Work Program and others. It will teach clients how to develop habits and attitudes that will allow the participant to keep the job, interview well, create resumes, and also secure suitable employment.

For more information, call Douglas County at (402) 444-6215.




By Jon McNamara

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