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St. Martin, and Iberia Parish assistance programs.

Low income residents do have options when it comes to getting help in St. Martin and Iberia parishes Louisiana. A few non-profit organizations, including the SMILE Community Action Agency, runs assistance programs for those who need help. The resources are listed below.

The SMILE Community Action Agency is the local non-profit that works with families to end the cycle of poverty, and case managers can direct individuals to emergency financial assistance programs. There are multiple locations in the region.

Early Head Start is offered for children who are age 0 to 3. The federal government program provides comprehensive family support services as well as early childhood development services to qualified low income families. Resources are offered year-round. Children as well as pregnant women can get help and support with enhancing a child’s intellectual, physical, social, emotional development. Parents can benefit from Early Head start too, as it supports parents in fulfilling their parental roles by providing job finding programs and other support to parents. The goal is to help parents move toward self-sufficiency.

Head Start will assist over 1300 kids per year who range in age from 3 to 5. School age children can benefit from increased social competence in nutritional, health, educational, and social. This federal program also offers disability services for children, and provides special needs for them so that they can assimilate and interact in the learning environment. Children can get free food, medical and dental care, and other aid.

Community Services Block Grant Program is the main resource that provides support services for anti-poverty programs and projects. The very low income can benefit from emergency assistance for bills and basic needs, weatherization, transportation, and housing.

Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – Low income households, particularly the elderly and disabled, can receive cash grants to pay for utility and cooling bills.

Weatherization – Another federal program that provides energy conservation and preventive measures to eligible households.





Assistance for General Transportation can help people attend medical and hospital appointments, job interviews and social service appointments. Beneficiaries who use this service will need to pay a minimal fee for the transportation. Another program known as STEP provides transportation for low income qualified participants, including preschool children who are transported to day care facilities, education sites and job interviews. TANF clients are the primary beneficiary, and the goal is to help people secure independence from outside resources. Read more on transportation assistance, including car repairs.

Emergency financial assistance programs – Can help with basic needs, such as rent, prescription medications, housing, and can offer free food.

Emergency Food And Shelter National Board Program (FEMA) – The service offers those faced with a crisis housing, food and shelter. In addition, as funding allows, may be able to help with paying rent or mortgage payments, and in general provide housing assistance.

Referrals and Counseling – This is one of the main benefits of the SMILE Community Action Agency. Access information on alternative services, including government and public assistance programs that may be available to clients. Get referred to churches and local non-profits. Also get information on local government programs from St. Martin and Iberia. These resources can provide supplementary assistance for transportation, rent, housing, section 8 and other emergencies.

Homeless Assistance Program – Those who have been evicted and are currently homeless can get assistance in transitioning out of poverty. The program also provides social and maintenance assistance to these individuals.

HUD-approved Comprehensive Housing Counseling – For people faced with foreclosure, or who may be looking to buy a home, this service may be able to help. Counselors can provide free housing and mortgage counseling assistance to clients. This can include relocation assistance, mortgage default, pre-purchase activities, preoccupancy rental, consumer education, and rental delinquency resources. HUD programs can also provide the pros and cons of becoming first-time homebuyers.

Transitional housing - The homeless or recently evicted can have a place to stay. This provides time to obtain employment or save money for a security deposit.

Medicaid Application Assistance – Can assist seniors and the uninsured with completing applications for clients wishing to enroll in the federal government Medicaid Program.

SMILE Community Action Agency offers those programs above, and there are two main offices. They are listed below. To find other services available from the non-profit, read more.

  • St. Martin Community Action Center, 2097 Terrace Road, St. Martinville, Louisiana 70582, call (337) 394-6013
  • Iberia Community Action Center, 722 Walton Street, New Iberia, Louisiana 70560, phone number (337) 365-8151





Social Service Center – Can assist residents who live in Iberia parish. All aid is first come, first serve, and they open their doors at 9 am. Qualified individuals can receive free food, clothing, emergency rent and utility bill assistance, among other help. Must bring proof of your financial hardship, such as rent receipt/eviction letter, food program sheet, and similar support. Location is 432 Bank Ave., New Iberia, LA 70560, dial (337) 369-6384. Read more public assistance in Louisiana.

Council on Aging, Inc./Iberia Parish has two locations. Programs focus on seniors and the elderly, including food, information on government assistance, Medicaid, and transportation. Specifically, the programs run include.

  • Support and Case Management – Work with a social worker to assess needs, develop a plan of attack, arrange service and aid, and the social worker will coordinate programs.
  • Home Delivered and Congregate Meals –The homebound can get meals delivered to them. Or the center also will serve the needy hot, nutritionally balanced meals to help people meet nutritional needs.
  • Referrals, Information and Assistance - Provides the client with current information on services and opportunities that are available to the individuals and low income families within their local communities and parishes.
  • Health Care and Medicaid Enrollment Center – Individuals can apply for Medicaid or other government health care. Assistance is offered from federal government funded programs that provide health care coverage, medications and other aid to persons. Also get help in understanding and navigating programs including Medicare, Long Term Care Insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare Supplement. A Prescription Assistance program will help determine an older individual's need for medications and prescription assistance and provides funding for the medication. Wellness activities were created to improve and support the older person’s mental and/or physical wellbeing, such as blood pressure checks, exercise, health screening, and flu shots.
  • Emergency Utility Bill Assistance – A social worker will determine an older individual's need for utility or electric assistance and provides needed financial assistance and grants for these expenses.
  • Transportation is available for older persons to such necessary services as grocery shopping, medical appointments, social security, banking, and other basic essentials.
  • Material Aid can offer devices and other goods, such as personal hygiene items, walkers, wheelchairs, fans, and government commodities.

Stop by 6 W. Washington St., New Iberia, Louisiana 70560, call (337) 367-1556 or the office at Council on Aging/St. Martin Parish, 511 Wild Cherry Lane, Breaux Bridge, LA 70517, phone (337) 332-3063.

Regional Catholic Charities provides assistance to the low income, seniors, poor, unemployed and others. A number of churches and other non-profits in Iberia Parish and nearby towns participate. Among other things, the group provides meals, food, clothing, and other basic needs. The Monsignor Sigur center administers emergency financial assistance for needs such as utilities, rent, and medications. Other support includes hot meals for senior citizens and the homeless. Also call for information on shelters and housing. Continue with Catholic Charities of Iberia assistance.




Iberia Parish Health Unit offers government health care and WIC. Health care services offered are immunizations, STD and HIV testing, eye care and vision evaluation, general health information, nutrition education, health information for overseas travel, community education, and other medical care.

Families and pregnant women can also apply for the WIC Program, which is a special supplemental food program for women, infants and children. Children up to 5 can benefit from this government food and nutrition resource.

  • 121 West Pershing St., Courthouse Annex, New Iberia, LA  70560, telephone (337) 373-0021
  • St. Martin Parish Health Unit, 303 W. Port Street, St. Martinville, Louisiana  70582, call (337) 394-3097

Salvation Army centers operate in the Iberia Parish region. Apply for assistance and services including, but not limited to, the following. Low income families may receive free food or clothing from pantries and thrift stores. Some emergency cash assistance may be offered to prevent evictions or homelessness, so the money can be used to pay rent or energy bills. Seasonal programs available can include back to school supplies or free Christmas gifts or toys for children and meals for the entire family. A number of resources are available in the Iberia Parish region and those are just a few examples. Also get referrals and other information from onsite case managers. Learn more.


By Jon McNamara

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