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Highlands County assistance programs.

There are many resources for the low income, struggling, and working poor. Find emergency financial help for bills (rent, mortgage, utility, electric, medical, etc.). Or get free items (clothes, school supplies, food, Christmas toys, etc.). Counseling and free advice is given too (foreclosure or debt help, legal aid, etc.). There are many charities, government assistance programs or churches in Highland County that help low income families.

National and state resources assist too. There are free medical and health care clinics for the low income, government health care or insurance policies, grants and more. Whether a senior citizen, low income family, immigrant or disabled residents needs help, assistance is offered below.

Emergency services, cash grants, and referrals

Catholic Charities of Central Florida serves people in Highlands County and Sebring Florida. The non-profit charity type agency offers low income and other residents access to dozens of assistance programs and other resources and services. They offer emergency services for unexpected expenses other crises, senior programs, and access to health care services.

  • Emergency financial assistance programs - This Catholic Charities program will process emergency financial assistance for paying bills and expenses on clients behalf, provide referrals to charities and government programs or advocacy. They run a food pantry, and in some cases will provide short-term case management, loans for bills and benefits screening to qualified individuals.
  • Free health and medical care - The agency partners with local hospitals and clinics to offer patients access to free medical and health care. Some of the facilities which you may be able to go to include Lazarus Free Medical Clinic, St. Luke’s Free Medical & Dental Clinic, and the St. Thomas Aquinas Free Medical Clinic.
  • Senior centers and programs - Catholic Charities works with other agencies to offer programs and aid to seniors who are living independently or with family members.
  • Food pantry and assistance - They can refer people to local food banks and distribution centers, where people can receive free food and groceries.




To learn more or to apply for assistance, call the Catholic Charities of Highlands County at 863-686-7153

Highlands County Florida Community Action Agency

The Highlands County Coalition For The Homeless, Inc. is the local agency that runs many of the community action type programs. Find help with bills, rent and housing aid, financial assistance, self-sufficiency programs, and other forms of support. Detail information on the programs and services they offer include those indicated below. They also direct low-income clients, whether they have health insurance or not, to health care, and learn more about free medical community clinics.

Community Services Block Grant - This program provides funds for a wide variety of resources and services, and supports activities that will help assist the needs of low to moderate income families and individuals. The programs focus on the low income, the homeless, unemployed, migrants and the elderly in the community.

Services offered under this resource typically assist with childcare expenses, help people find employment, provide education and job training, emergency services, or access to health care and dental programs. A major focus is on employment, so various work from home and job training programs are coordinated.

There is also housing assistance, youth development, nutrition, transportation assistance, and provide for the coordination of resources and community participation in Highlands County.

  • Rental assistance programs - Another program administered by the community action agency is the federal government/stimulus funded Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re Housing program. This housing program was created from federal government dollars. It provides low income, the people facing an emergency, and others struggling from the recent economy with rent and housing payments. Qualified individuals can receive up to 1 month of rent assistance, grants for security deposits, counseling, and other forms of rent and housing aid. All applicants need to be income qualified and meet other conditions.

Contact the Highlands County Coalition For The Homeless, Inc. at 863-314-8901 While the agency is based in Sebring, they cover the entire county.





The Agricultural and Labor non-profit agency is another leading organization. They provide services in Highlands County, including for the elderly, low income families, and immigrants. While financial aid may be offered, it is limited and often administered in partnership with other charities. But there may be funds to pay for electric bills as part of LIHEAP, medications or rental assistance.

  • Help with energy, electric, and air conditioning bills - The agency is also known as ALI. They administer the federal government LIHEAP - Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program. The LIHEAP program helps pay the summer cooling bills as well as the winter heating bills of low to moderate income, the disabled and elderly people in the community. There are two main components of the program, one of which is ongoing regular assistance and the second is a crisis component option. the crisis component focuses its aid on people who are about to have their electric service terminated or disconnected.

Housing counseling includes foreclosure and eviction prevention services. Case managers advise homeowners, or renters on options available to them. Some of the educational services available include Project Achieve, Head Start as well as job training. The agency works with clients on these services, and more, in an effort to lead them towards self-sufficiency. Continue with Agricultural and Labor community action agency.

Sebring area Salvation Army offers both social services and possible emergency financial aid. Whether one time rent, electric bills, or medications, some funds may assist. There is also a free food pantry, homeless shelter, or substance abuse counseling. Or Highland County families can apply for free seasonal aid such as Thanksgiving or Christmas meals (or toys), back to school supplies, a fan during the summer and more. Continue with Salvation Army Highland County assistance programs.

Rent programs can be applied to when facing an eviction. There are resources offered by the government as well as non-profit agencies. The goal is to prevent homelessness, which includes from a foreclosure or tenants .with an eviction notice.

So they try to offer some money for back rent, but funds are limited. So the staff may try to mediate a solution or pay the security deposit on a new, more affordable home. Highlands County rent assistance.

By Jon McNamara

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