Financial support from Embarras River Basin Agency.

The Embarras River Basin Agency is the community action agency for the region. The non-profit administers several short term, emergency assistance programs. Other support from the agency can include referrals to government resources, education, and much more. They help thousands of unemployed and Illinois families facing a crisis every year. The agency operates across Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Jasper, Lawrence, and Richland County.

Rent help, utility and food assistance may also be part of the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter. This is for income eligible applicants facing a crisis that live within the region, including Cumberland and Jasper Counties in Illinois. This is available all year to those that need help, while funds are available.  Funding is provided by the federal government through the local United Way.

Trying to improve employment prospects is one of the main goals of the ERBAINC community action agency as well as the Workforce Development Services. Not only can it help employers and businesses across the region, including in counties such as Cumberland and Clark find employees, but the program was crafted to help job seekers and the unemployed. It is really for anyone that wants to bring their career prospects and their income to the next level.

Some of what may be available from Embarras River Basin Agency and local job centers include training, overall employment assessment, skill set seminars and more. People who use the workforce programs can get information on local employers and access to the Illinois workNet system.

Embarras River Basin Agency offers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, commonly called LIHEAP. It is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and can help the elderly, low income families with children and the disabled pay their heating and utility bills.

There is a one-time cash benefit paid out in Illinois. The exact amount depends on the households total income, number of people in the home (so the size) and the type of fuel used. It can help renters and homeowners. Applicants also do not need to have a disconnection notice in order to get help from LIHEAP.

There is also a crisis component of LIHEAP. This will pay out emergency financial assistance to those with a disconnect notice. Funds, in the form of a grant or credit on their account, may be issued when a client is out of heating oil or faced with a disconnection.




Permanent housing assistance is for the homeless that are also disabled. Embarras River Basin Agency may be able to offer rental assistance up to HUD Fair Market Rent allowance, loans for security deposits, case management, etc. it will last for only up to 24 months.

Eviction prevention is also available from ERBAINC. It is only for those that are facing a very short term economic crisis that was not caused by them and is out of their control. Emergency rental assistance may be issued. What may qualify includes, but is not limited to, loss of employment, Illegal action by a landlord, delay of some form of public benefit check, or medical crisis. Other reasons may qualify too.

Housing assistance, including referrals to financial support in counties such as Edgar, Coles, and Richland is available from case managers. The non-profit provides individuals with access to information on financial assistance programs. Or learn about local shelters. There may be funds, or even a short term, repayable loan, for security deposit and rental payments.

The case manager from Embarras River Basin Agency will also offer support to deal with the cause of homelessness or missed rent payments. So get information on self-sufficiency such as job training or public aid that is available from the Illinois Department of Human Services' (IDHS). Or get referrals to government social services in counties like Crawford Illinois. The goal of many of these community action agencies is to prevent evictions and homelessness.

Two other options in the state of Illinois and the several county service area are the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance and section 8 housing vouchers. Both of these will allow families to live in affordable, subsidized homes or apartments.




Another energy service is the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program, or IHWAP. Staff from Embarras River Basin Agency (ERBAINC) can refer people to this. It was created for saving money on heating bills. It works by providing the homeowner with free energy efficiency updates. This can include insulation, caulking, furnace tune ups and more. Other benefits for homeowners may be windows and doors repair, replacement, or extra attic and wall insulation.

Embarras River Basin Agency, Inc. has several offices. They are noted below.

Clark County, 2 W Cumberland, PO Box 124, Martinsville, Illinois, dial 217-345-4840
Coles County, 825 18th St, Charleston IL, 217-382-3412
Crawford County, 100 Washington, Robinson, IL 62454, telephone number is 618-544-8780
Cumberland County, 115 S Kentucky, Greenup, Illinois 62428, 217-923-3599
Douglas County, 107 W. South Central, Tuscola, IL 61953, 217-253-4434
Edgar County, 502 Shaw Ave, Paris, IL, 61944. For intake, dial 217-465-4911
Jasper County, 904 W Jourdan, Newton, IL 62448, call 618-783-3987
Lawrence County, 1211 State, Lawrenceville, IL, 618-943-2938
Richland County, 306 E Main, Olney, Illinois 62450, telephone number is 618-395-2714




By Jon McNamara

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