Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action emergency assistance programs.

Residents from several counties, including Lee, Harnett, and Johnston, can get help from the local community action agency known as JLHCA. The organization can help qualified low income clients address a crisis. But the core services are focused on self-sufficiency and ongoing case management.

Case managers will coordinate assistance with the working poor or unemployed. They will need to want to work towards stability, and show that initiative. For those that qualify, and if resources are available, there may be funds for services such as weatherization, food pantries, and low income utility bill assistance. Much more is available as well.

The non-profit agency’s family services division has a few main components. They include intake, consumer workshops, case management and crisis relief. During the intake process that will occur at the center, a JLHCA counselor is the initial point of contact for client families. This specialist will typically talks with the head of the household to determine the problem and any assistance needed or available.

The counselor then offers information and referrals to government grants, local churches, or other solutions. After that occurs, they will follow up with families to ensure that services have been provided to solve the problem.

A client’s family is referred to case management if the person, counselor or both decide that the family would benefit from any additional assistance or social services. This is often available through more comprehensive, long-term counseling.

The case manager from Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action subsequently evaluates the condition of the entire family, using the information gleaned to set goals, create budgets and provide other types of financial assistance to develop an overall plan for self-sufficiency.

Consumer workshops held by JLHCA provide group training for family members based on their needs. Some examples of the workshop topics include employment and credit counseling. They can also touch upon employment or debt reduction as well.




When no other government or local resource is available in a time of crisis, JLHCA offers emergency assistance. This is done from partners, such as local churches and ministries, United Way, emergency shelters, and food pantries. There may be grants issued for bills, rent, or medications as a form of assistance. The organization also has access to local food closets that are operated by area ministries in Harnett or Johnston. Many volunteers also work at these centers.

Grants are also offered for electric bills. JLHCA administers the federal government funded LIHEAP, which can help low-income households meet the cost of their energy bills. In order to receive assistance for their heating or utility bill payments, the account must be in the name of a person residing in an eligible household.

In addition, the agency operates a HUD housing approved counseling program under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Services offered through this program include tenant eviction advice, homebuyer education workshops, pre-purchase support, reverse mortgage counseling, and also delinquent/default advice.

Short-term emergency food assistance is available from a local pantry. It provides a three-day supply of nutritionally balanced groceries or meals. The pantry receives financial support from a variety of sources, including the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), EFSP - Emergency Food and Shelter Program, Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program and also HPNAP.

The local food banks are options too. They are located in counties such as Harnett and others. These sites are also supported by donations from local churches. There are also food drives held which are coordinated by local businesses and individuals as well.





The organization is committed to the development and construction of standard housing for low-income citizens or seniors. To this end, they administrate weatherization services, a free Heating Appliance Repair/Replacement Program (HARRP), and rehabilitation and homeownership program.

These services available in the region, including in Lee County, can provide for the repair or replacement of home heating systems or the repair of substandard housing to provide urgent updates when funds are available. Another option is the air sealing, which uses a new technique to allow for maximum energy conservation during extreme weather. JLHCA also offers free energy conservation workshops.

Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action oversees Head Start, a comprehensive preschool education program. This was created for young children and their parents. The goal is to promotes self-sufficiency.

For students that can enroll, Head Start provides educational and early childhood development services, comprehensive healthcare programming, parent-involvement programming and family services. In addition to all of that, nutrition and mental health are vital components of the program. The child development tool offers extensive services to special-needs or disabled children.

For more information, contact JLHCA. Case managers or counselors will try to help if possible. Or referrals may be provided. The organization has an office located at.

  • 1102 Massey Street, Smithfield, North Carolina 27577, which can be reached by phone at (919) 934-2145.
  • JLHCA’s downtown Smithfield office is located at 101 North 4th Street, Smithfield, North Carolina 27577, call (919) 209-9770.
  • The Lee County office is located at 225 South Steele Street, Sanford, North Carolina 27330, telephone (919) 776-0746.



By Jon McNamara

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