Public assistance in Duval County.

Duval County is supported by a government run service center, the Department of Family Services, and also  the Division of Community Nutrition. A number of assistance programs are offered for low income families, seniors, and the disabled from these organizations. Services can provide free food, TANF, food stamps and more. One of the primary ways the government can help is also by referring people to additional non-profits and/or public aid and cash assistance.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, is a federal government funded program that is offered across Duval County and Florida. The resource can provide cash assistance for low income and needy families in the community. The public assistance program only runs for a defined period of time. TANF is available to pregnant women, or those who are or expecting a child.

Not only will cash be provided to help pay bills and basic needs, such as housing, food, and energy bills, but social services and self-sufficiency is provided too. For example, access job preparation, work opportunities and gain access to government funded supportive services such as child care.

At most clients can get five years of cash assistance, and the aid is available for adult recipients. Some of the conditions include that recipients of public aid need to be working or at the very minimum participating in a work-related activity, such as job training.

Assistance is provided in different forms. Duval County Florida recipients of TANF may be given electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, receive monthly checks, or be given cash vouchers. Any of these tools will allow them to access their cash benefits in a variety of ways.

SNAP food stamps are available from a federal government funded program. However it is administered locally by the Duval County Human Service department. Vouchers to buy food are offered to indigent or low income households from this public program. Participants will be given an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card that can be used in most grocery stores in Jacksonville and Duval County to purchase food.

Households approved by the Duval County Department of Family Services will be entitled to buy a designated dollar amount of food utilizing their debit cards. The amount of public support provided will be based on the household’s net income and their household size. In addition, there is an emergency food stamp program for people in a crisis. Food assistance can be made available within seven days for people who are in an emergency situation and whose total household income as well as spendable resources are within specified limits.





Another federal government program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, can provide food, meals, and nutritional support for new mothers (breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding), pregnant women, infants, and children. The public program can provide qualified Duval County Florida families with nutrient-rich supplemental food, nutrition education, and information on and access to health and social service referrals.

Many of the social services above are run by the Division of Community Nutrition, which is based in Jacksonville. Phone 253-1500. They focus on developing and implementing programs to enhance dietary patterns of the low income families in the community. The underlying goal of Community Nutrition is to maximizes nutrition resources and provide food for the purpose of improving the health of Jacksonville area Florida residents, with special emphasis and focus on disadvantaged or high-risk populations.

Some of the other cash assistance programs, like TANF and Medicaid, are run by your local service center. Those locations and phone numbers are below.

  • Southside Service Center – Duval County, 3740 Beach Blvd. Suite 3720, phone Jacksonville, Florida 32207
  • Gateway Service Center, 5000-1 Norwood Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida 32208, dial (866) 762-2237




By Jon McNamara

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