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Iowa community action agency assistance programs.

Programs in Iowa that are administered by community action agencies can help individuals with achieving long term self-sufficiency. The non-profits may offer emergency, short term financial assistance. Qualified families will be able to meet with case managers to explore all resources available to them. Resources available from the agencies listed below range from job training and career counseling to government grants to pay for housing, rent, or energy bills.

Financial resources for paying bills and emergency needs

Transitional housing can be administered, often in partnership with local housing authorities and government organizations. One example of a program is known as Crossroads. This is a housing resource that offers a structured environment for people looking to regain self-sufficiency. A focus is often on homeless women and children in Iowa. Programs can provide them with free food, shelter, clothing, and overall preparation for independent living. Each and every non-profit or charity that offers housing, including Crossroads, will help people set goals for job training, education and eventual gainful employment.

The Welcome Home Project is run by some centers, and is another version of a self-sufficiency/transitional housing program. It is combines outreach services with short term housing in order to get recently evicted and/or homeless families off the streets. Non-profits can give individuals and families a safe, furnished place to live, free food, and clothing. They will also be registered for family development and case management programs. The goal is to help people finally afford housing where individuals or families return to a life of economic stability.

Energy bill assistance is offered from LIHEAP. Non-profit agencies accept and process applications for a number of grant programs, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. LIHEAP is a heating and utility bill assistance program that is paid for by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Community action agencies partner with the Iowa Department of Human Rights/Division and local social service organizations.




The program can help qualifying low-income Iowa homeowners and renters pay for a small portion of their primary heating bills. LIHEAP only provides supplemental assistance to Iowa families. The amount of the grant will be based on household size total household income, type of dwelling, type of heating fuel and other factors. Applications for energy assistance are accepted on a first come/first served basis at your local community action office. There are many other resources in Iowa from a community action agency, and find energy bill help in Iowa.

The LIHEAP Emergency Crisis Intervention Payments (ECIP) is another component. It can help with some or all of the following. Furnace repair/replacement, Reconnect fees, Continuity crisis payment, and Temporary shelter.

Crisis Assistance Programs can help working poor and low income Iowa families experiencing an emergency. Grants can help pay utilities and rent or other costs. Agencies often administer a number of local utility company customer donation funds to assist households experiencing emergency energy needs such as a shut off notice. Staff will also work closely with you and your utility company to assist with setting up payment agreements and to advocate for the family. Emergency rental assistance may also be available during certain times of the year, as funding allows.

During the summer, free fans or air conditioners may be provided when available. These may be offered to the most vulnerable individuals, such as seniors, who are experiencing health problems. Applicants will generally be required to have a physician statement form completed by their doctor certifying their medical need.





The Weatherization Assistance Program helps eligible lower income customers save money by conserving energy in their home. Crews and/or subcontractors that are coordinated by your community action agency will perform work on an eligible applicant’s home, including adding insulation, caulking, and more. In addition, free energy education is incorporated in each step of the weatherization process. Detailed tips and explanations are given to each customer to further increase their energy savings, indoor air quality, and home comfort.

The Crisis Child Care Program can facilitate safe shelter for teenagers, infant and children during difficult times. Any type of care offered is provided in the homes of experienced and trained child care providers. In addition, short-term respite care may be scheduled to assist families when parents need to go to job training, attend therapy, or go to parenting classes.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program can safeguard and improve the health of low-income women, children up to age 5, and infants who are at nutritional risk. The federal government and state of Iowa can provide free nutritious foods and meals to supplement diets. WIC can also coordinate for nutrition education and referrals to health care resources and other social services.

Medication Assistance Program (MAP) can help patients save money on their prescription drugs. Community action agencies and clinics can provide information on, and help patients in applying for, services such as Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs. MAP is the name of a service that will help people apply for a host of discounted medications.

Emergency Food and Shelter Program can assist with meeting the needs of hungry and homeless people throughout Iowa and the United States. The government will allocate federal funds and grants for the provision of paying for food, rent and shelter. Many non-profits, such as the United Way and community action agencies, are involved in the distribution of this money. Financial aid is offered for those who are in an emergency situation because of loss of a job or a serious medical condition. Grants can help pay for utilities or housing costs, including even a mortgage payment. If EFSP can’t assist, then find other free money to pay your bills.

School Supplies or winter coats may be distributed. These programs rely heavily on donations, and when available, prior to the start of the academic year, free school supplies, backpacks, etc. may be distributed to qualifying families. Share the Warmth is the name of the winter coat distribution program. New and gently used coats or boots are collected and distributed to children, students and even adults in need. Or find free school supplies by mail.

Transportation can be arranged. Some agencies work with the Salvation Army or senior centers to provide rides to work, medical appointments, to school or meal sites. A small fee may be required for this service. While not as common, free cars or trucks can be provided for low income families. Or their may be low interest loans to help pay for them.





I-Smile is a dental program that provides free dental care and treatment for a child's needs. Learn about preventive dental services, screenings, Fluoride Varnish, and get follow up as well. Care Coordination is organized to help ensure dental access, including transportation, to a provider.

Case management, including employment in Iowa

Community action agencies will offer some type of Family Development and/or Self-Sufficiency Program. These services can help Iowa families escape welfare dependence and government support by helping them become self-sufficient over the long term. Case managers and specialists will help lower income, unemployed and otherwise struggling families identify problems that are keeping them in poverty. You will work together on creating a plan to break the cycle. Any type of program created by a community action agency will use an approach individually tailored for each participant. Many individuals are referred to the program from the Department of Human Services, social service offices or local charities.

Each year, these services help Iowa families successfully re-enter the workforce. Family Development provides in-home support to families receiving welfare or FIP assistance. It can help them increase their stability, income and eventually their ability to become economically self-sufficient. Specialists may even be able to meet one-on-one with families in regular home visits. You will be able to complete assessment tools and develop goals around areas critical to the family's overall well-being, such as employment, education, substance abuse treatment, mental health, and physical health.

Various early childhood programs, including Head Start, are available for children under the age of five. Centers serve a diverse population of low-income children with activities that help them grow academically, physically, socially, and emotionally.

Two of the primary programs are Head Start (which is for children age 3-5) and Early Head Start (which is for children under the age of 3). These are fully comprehensive programs for qualified Iowa families. Some of what they offer includes age-appropriate learning, free health screenings, social interaction, nutrition education, family development, and strong parent involvement.

Senior Employment Program offers jobs and training opportunities for eligible low-income senior citizens aged 55 or over. Some income criteria are in place as well. Many of these resources are run in partnership with agency on aging centers. The SCSEP program helps older workers build the confidence and gain the experience they need in order to find permanent employment. Clients can be placed into paid part time positions so they can gain work experience. This will bring them additional income. Since many of the jobs are paid temporary assignments with local non-profit and government organizations, seniors will also be serving communities and in a way giving back to the state of Iowa and their community.

Non-profit agency credit and housing counseling services

Budgeting and credit counseling can be provided from many agencies. Examples can include Family Financial Fitness, foreclosure/housing counseling, debt reduction, and more. Agencies oversee sessions, offer advice to help families locate areas of savings, budgeting, car payments, and more. Programs are offered to individuals of all backgrounds and income levels. Or find other resources that help pay off debt.

Many people can meet with a counselor for free or low cost one-on-one personal finance advice and counseling. A specialist will sit down with individuals and create budgets and provide other assistance around debts, credit, and more. For example, financial counselors also assist individuals and families with credit repair, savings account setup, making automobile payments on time, and more, and all of this is done in an effort to help them develop assets and reduce debts.







Free tax preparation and information on the Earned Income Tax Credit is available. Low-income families and seniors are the main beneficiaries of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. Your community action agency will collaborates with other local partners to help low-income families identify and receive tax credits for which they may not be aware they are eligible.

This community action agency service in Iowa is powered entirely by volunteers and it has been proven to be one of the most effective tax filing assistance programs in the state of Iowa. It is effective for both low to moderate income residents as well as senior citizens. Find more info on free tax preparation services.

Homebuyer Education classes are taught in classrooms and workshops. Topics include budgeting, financial management, energy conservation, anti-predatory lending information, mortgage loan information, and home maintenance. Pre-Loan or purchase counseling also includes reviewing and improving credit, understanding the home-buying process, help with deciding what kind of mortgage is right for you, and more.

Post-Purchase and foreclosure counseling is offered in Iowa. It will help borrowers understand the different financing options available to them, including home equity loans, refinances, and lines of credit. Learn about the consequences of delinquency/default on your mortgage payments.

Locations and phone number of Iowa community action agencies

Community Action Agency of Siouxland and Woodbury County
Address: 2700 Leech Avenue
Sioux City, Iowa 51106
Telephone number is (712) 274-1610
Programs range from groceries from the George J. Williams Memorial Food Bank to transitional housing and grants from General Assistance for paying bills and emergency expenses. More Community Action Agency of Siouxland assistance programs.

Community Action of Eastern Iowa
Location - 500 East 59th Street
Davenport, IA 52807-2623
Call (563) 324-3236
Offers low income assistance for the counties of Muscatine, Cedar, Clinton, and Scott. Read more.

Community Action of Southeast Iowa
2850 Mt. Pleasant Street, Suite 108
Burlington, IA 52601
(319) 753-0193
(319) 753-0687
One of the leading community action agencies in Iowa. Helps families in the counties of Des Moines (Polk), Henry, Louisa, and Lee. Resources provided include heating assistance from LIHEAP, weatherization, and job training. Call the location if you are faced with an emergency. Continue with assistance from assistance from community Action of Southeast Iowa.





IMPACT - formerly known as Des Moines Community Action Agency

  • 3226 University Ave, Des Moines, Iowa
  • 500 Army Post Rd Suite 17, Des Moines, IA
  • 2701 SE Convenience Blvd, Ankeny, Iowa.

There are three offices. Contact #s 515-274-9496 and 274-1334.
Offers resources for residents of the City of Des Moines. Programs range from referrals to state of Iowa government benefits such as food stamps and low income energy bill assistance to section 8 vouchers and furnace repairs. Read Community Action Des Moines financial aid programs.

Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP)
1515 Hawkeye Drive
Hiawatha, IA 52233
Telephone: (319) 393-7811
Regions covered are Benton, Iowa, Jones, Linn, Washington, and Johnson. There are several programs available, such as transitional housing. Grants can be available for paying heating bills from LIHEAP, and partnerships are in place with clinics, food pantries, and other Iowa agencies. Click more details emergency assistance from Hawkeye Area Community Action Program.

MATURA Action Corporation
Address is 203 West Adams
Creston, IA 50801
Call (641) 782-8431 for intake
Counties - Adair, Adams, Madison, Ringgold, Taylor, Union. Homeless prevention is available, which may include funds to pay rent, a partial mortgage payment, or a security deposit fee. Promise Jobs will meet employment needs, and the federal government Emergency Food and Shelter program may have loans or other aid for housing and buying food. Other services are offered by the non-profit too. Read more on financial assistance from MATURA Action Corporation.

Mid-Iowa Community Action, Inc.
Main address is 1001 S. 18th Ave.
Marshalltown, IA 50158
Dial (641) 752-7162 for information
A wide territory is covered. Offers grants and employment services for the region of Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek, Hamilton, Story, Tama, Benton, Boone, Calhoun, Greene, Humboldt, Jasper, Kossuth, Mahaska, Marion, Warren, Webster, Wright and Pocahontas County. Find more details on financial aid from the Mid-Iowa Community Action Agency.

Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc.
Main address is 418 Marion Street
Remsen, IA 51050
Telephone number is (712) 786-2001
Counties include Cherokee, Ida, Sioux, Lyon, and Plymouth.

New Opportunities, Inc.
Mailing address - PO Box 427
Carroll, IA 51401
Call (712) 792-9266
Counties supported are Audubon, Calhoun, Carroll, Dallas, Greene, Guthrie, and Sac

North Iowa Community Action Organization
Main office is at 218 5th Street, SW
Mason City, Iowa 5040-1627
(641) 423-8993
Counties - Butler, Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Kossuth, Mitchell, Winnebago, Worth. Low income families, seniors, and other can apply for resources such as Head Start and credit counseling. Thousands of families receive guidance, financial and rent help from the agency every year. Continue with North Iowa Community Action Organization assistance programs.

Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation
Main location is 305 Montgomery Street
Decorah, Iowa 52101
Call the center at (563) 382-8436
Resources are offered for the counties of Allamakee, Bremer, Chickasaw, Clayton, Winneshiek, Fayette, and Howard. Click here for financial help from Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation.

Operation Threshold
P.O. 4120
Waterloo, IA 50704-4120
Telephone: (319) 291-2065
Towns and regions supported include Black Hawk, Buchanan, and Grundy County Iowa. There are grants for paying heating and gas bills, home buying and loan counseling services, TBRA for paying rent, and information on state of Iowa benefits. More on Operation Threshold financial aid.





Operation: New View Community Action Agency
Main address: 1473 Central Avenue
Dubuque, IA 52001-4853
Main phone - (563) 556-5130
Counties are Delaware, Jackson, and Dubuque.

Red Rock Area Community Action Program, Inc., now known as IMPACT Community Action Partnership
Main location is 1009 S. Jefferson, Suite 2
Indianola, IA 50125
Telephone: (515) 961-6271
Counties are Boone, Jasper, Marion, Polk (excluding City of Des Moines), and Warren. Some examples of the assistance programs include loans or funds for paying rent or security deposits, weatherization, Head Start, and free food from government programs. More on community action agency of Red Rock.

South Central Iowa Community Action Program, Inc.
1711 Osceola Avenue, Suite 103
Chariton, Iowa 50049
Telephone: (641) 774-8133
A number of resources are offered. The unemployed can look into employment services. Emergency rent and or LIHEAP crisis aid may be offered. Referrals and self-sufficiency is always a focus too. Residents of Clarke, Lucas, Monroe, Decatur, and Wayne County can apply.

Southern Iowa Economic Development Association
Main location is 226 W. Main
Ottumwa, IA 52501-0658
(641) 682-8741
Apponoose, Davis, Jefferson, Keokuk, Mahaska, Van Buren, and Wapello County.

Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc.
Mailing address is P.O. Box 519
Graettinger, IA 51342-0519
Telephone number - (712) 859-3885
Government programs such as Head Start and food is available for Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Hamilton, Humboldt, O'Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Wright, and Webster County.

West Central Community Action
1408 "A" Highway
Harlan, Iowa 51537-709
(712) 755-5135
Western part of Iowa is covered. Counties of Pottawattamie, Cass, Crawford, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Shelby, and Monona.


By Jon McNamara

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