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El Dorado and Alpine County Department of Community Services.

The government affiliated Department of Community Services provides help to residents of both El Dorado and Alpine County in California. The non-profit offers support for a number of needs, all of which are focused on helping families overcome challenges and meet their basic needs.

While the programs do rely on government grants, including federal and state of California, case managers will do their best to help the low income, seniors, and disabled. The main resources available are noted below.

Financial support from Community Services

The federal government has created a utility bill program to help those who need assistance with paying their electric bills. This federal and state of California government funded program is to help income eligible households to offset the cost of heating during the winter and the cooling of their homes during the summer.

Homeowners or renters may apply to have a grant credited to their electric utility accounts or they may receive financial aid to obtain propane, pellets, firewood, gas or heating oil. Priority is given to seniors, the disabled and families with children under years of age. Residents of El Dorado and Alpine County are encouraged to apply for this service.

If you live in Alpine County, dial 530-573-3492 to make an appointment. Tahoe Basin Residents are to call 530-573-3492 and those with a HEAP application can dial 530-621-6150. Proof of income and other documentation is required.

Free vouchers, formula, and food from WIC is available. This resource is a government funded nutrition program that helps pregnant women, new mothers, babies and young children (up to the age of 5 years old). It will help them eat well, stay nutritious, and to stay healthy over the long term. In South Lake Tahoe, dial (530) 573-3491. In Placerville, call (530) 621-6176 for details on WIC. It is also offered in Somerset, El Dorado Hills, Georgetown, Pollock Pines and Markleeville California.

WIC offers income qualified families with vouchers or checks that are used to buy foods such as eggs, milk, fruits/vegetables, juice, cereal, cheese, whole grain foods, dry beans and peanut butter. In some cases, other items can be bought too.




Not only that, but health education and nutrition education is also offered to participants to assist them in becoming more physically active and eating better. WIC staff are trained to support and provide information about health care providers, clinics, benefits such as CalFresh and other community services that participants may need.

El Dorado County Department of Community Services offers a free service for people who spend too much money on their utility bills. It is known as weatherization and could help both renters and homeowners in saving money.

This program is federal government funded and is offered to low income homeowners and renters who are residents of El Dorado and nearby Counties. The Weatherization Program provides free energy conservation modifications to the participant's home, helping to reduce their monthly energy bills.

Such energy saving services may include changes to the home such as caulking to doors and windows, attic insulation, a free water heater blanket, heating/cooling system repair, and other energy saving measures. These services are available to all income working poor and eligible residents living within El Dorado County.

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is there to provide subsidies and rental assistance to low income persons and households. There are similar services for the disabled as well. It also offers them the ability to choose where they want to live.

Qualified participants can decide to live in either rental units from apartments, homes, mobile homes and from the private market located within El Dorado County. Participants pay approximately 30% of their income when renting from a landlord. If they are found to be qualified, then the Housing Authority pays the difference, up to a certain amount, directly to the landlord.

El Dorado County Department of Community Services also offers a Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program that was created to help low income households with paying for home repairs. The money will be used to correct health and safety violations or to meet the standards of code compliance.

These either zero interest or forgivable loans are available to homeowners in the unincorporated areas of El Dorado County. Funding has been provided from the HOME Investment Partnership (HOME), Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, and also the County's revolving loan fund. Income limits are in place, the applicants must own the home, and it needs to be in need of approved repairs. Up to $40,000 may be paid out at a very low interest rate.




The loan repayment schedule can be reduced or deferred depending on the participant's financial status. The improvements paid for can also be used to repair and replace roofing and foundations, weatherize homes, upgrade plumbing and electrical systems, replacement of heating/air conditioning units, replace siding, elimination of termites and other modifications that make the home safe and a healthier environment. Any type of financing or loans are available to eligible participants on a first-come first-served basis until funding runs out.

Another financing resource in the region is the First Time Homebuyer Loan Program. This is provided by El Dorado County Department of Community Services to lower to moderate income residents. This service provides affordable, second mortgage loans to eligible homebuyers to help with the purchase of a residence located in the unincorporated areas of El Dorado County. Funding for this program has been provided from the CDBG - Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Programs.

Medi-Cal is the state of California's Medicaid Program. It is a form of insurance that can assist with paying medical or dental bills. It is government funded. This public health insurance program which provides health care services for low-income persons including families with children, disabled / handicapped persons, the elderly, uninsured, pregnant women, and low income individuals that have specific diseases.

CMSP - County Medical Services Program is another option that can provide essential health care services to homeless adults who are not eligible for assistance through the Medi-Cal Program referenced above. In addition, the client can't have enough money to pay their medical bills on their own while still meeting their basic needs.

The regional County General Assistance Program is a repayable service that was created to help the very low income and homeless individuals. Grants or loans will be used to help them meet their basic needs by providing vouchers for shelter, personal needs, utilities, rent and transportation. Other expenses can be paid too.

In some cases, low interest  loans may be issued for paying some of these expenses, such as rent costs or other bills. There are 4 parts to this program such as assistance for the unemployed, non-resident persons who are in need of transportation to return to their place of residence, the disabled, and elderly.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF) is known in AlPine and El Dorado County as CalWorks. This program is to provide time-limited financial aid and cash grants to families with children.

CalWORKs participants may be eligible for financial aid, including Medi-Cal and may also qualify for CalFresh (Food Stamp) benefits. Any type of cash aid paid out is based upon the total number of persons in the family, with all sources of income taken into consideration.

The CalWORKs programs gives emergency services to families with eligible, children in need who are deprived because of the absence, disability, or death of a parent. It can also assist those impacted by unemployment of the head of household when both parents are in the home. Financial aid is also provided to caretaker relatives of a child who is receiving Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment Program benefits or in Foster Care.





The total amount of a family's monthly cash payment depends on a certain factors, which include the how many people are qualified and the special needs that any of those family members may have.

The Food Stamp - CalFresh Program is a government funded program run by El Dorado County Department of Community Services that assists low-income individuals to buy the food they need to maintain their health. For most households in Alpine and El Dorado, CalFresh is just one small part of their food budget. Clients must also spend some of their own income along with their CalFresh benefits just to have enough food for a month.

Employment and self-sufficiency services

Connections - One Stop Americas Job Center of California is a collaborative effort that can help people find a job. It is made up of both public and private sectors in El Dorado and Alpine County that provides an integrated, comprehensive approach of a quality service for job seekers.

These services are available to the public free of charge. The main purpose of Connections - One Stop Americas Job Center of California is to enhance employer business productivity and to match local employers with those looking for work. The staff from the centers also provide information and referrals that relate to job training and any workforce problems.

The Government funded Workforce Investment Act (W.I.A.) offers a variety of workforce development activities for job seekers or those looking for new skills. Activities that workforce development offers benefit those looking for work, youth, those who have been laid off, incumbent workers, veterans, disabled persons and even local employers.

The goal of these Department of Community Services activities are to promote an increase in the employment, job retention, earnings, and skills improvement by those who participate.

One component of this is the Adult and Dislocated Worker Program. This mission is to increase employment and job retention by providing training and technical assistance to clients in Alpine and other counties.

The Youth Services Program is for people under the age of 21 and offers services to prepare participants for vocational training, post-secondary education and/or employment. Another option is the Rapid Response Program which is there to provide closure/layoff aversion services to businesses and aid for workers with a rapid return to the workforce.

For more details or to apply for help, call a center near you.

Placerville Office is at 3047 Briw Road, Placerville, CA 95667, dial (530) 642-4850

South Lake Tahoe Office, 3368 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, call (530) 573-4330

801 Vernon Street, Roseville, California 95678, Main telephone: (916) 782-3443

By Jon McNamara

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