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Community Action Committee assistance programs of Knoxville and Knox County.

The Knox County Tennessee region is supported by a regional community action agency committee. The organization, using a combination of private funds and government grants, can refer low income families to financial assistance for basic needs such as rent, shelter, energy bills, and more.

In almost all cases, clients of the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee will need to commit towards self-sufficiency workshops and sessions, including job placement services. After all, the focus of resources being offered is on breaking the cycle of poverty and/or homelessness.

Energy and utility bill programs from community action

The County Community Action Committee, in partnership with businesses such as Citgo-Venezuela and other electric companies in Tennessee, helps low-income clients reduce home energy costs through the Energy Efficient Lightning Program. It works by distributing free energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (such as CFLs) to enrolled applicants, where they can save an average of about $50 in home energy costs a year.

LIHEAP can assist with paying utility bills. Applications are processed yearly by the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee, or Knox CAC. The energy program helps eligible clients (senior, disabled, etc.) with paying their home utility and heating bills through the LIHEAP program. The assistance is available to a household once a year or maybe in a crisis.

For qualified applicants, LIHEAP offers two types of assistance, and they are Regular Energy Assistance. This is the ongoing support. Financial aid is distributed when eligible clients will receive funds from the government within 90 days of submitting a completed application for this program.

In an emergency, look into the LIHEAP Crisis Energy Assistance. Qualified clients of this government grant program will receive funds within 48 hours of submitting a completed and approved application. This is effective in potential electric shut off situations. First, they need to document paperwork to demonstrate emergency necessity. In order to apply for assistance, and to get, more information, call (865)637-6700.




Eligible low-income people who need temporary help with paying their heating or natural gas bills are welcome to apply for the Project Help. It is an emergency heating assistance program for clients facing financial difficulties.

Rent and housing solutions from Knox County Community Action Committee

Homeless assistance is available. The main tool is the Homeward Bound Program. The objective is to provide housing, education, and employment to those needing a home or apartment to live in. By achieving these goals, enrolled individuals and families will gain independence and self-sufficiency. A variety of programs from the non-profit committee serve the Homeless and at-risk populations can apply for a number of programs which work on promoting an enhanced level of community services. More on how to get help paying rent.

REACH is funded by HUD. It is the Resources Extended to Assist the Chronically Homeless and is a program intended to help clients who stay in camps, live in vehicles, and under bridges. The program provides outreach and case management, and brings the individuals to emergency shelters. Addressing employability and substance abuse concerns is one of the major services of the program.

Project Succeed is another federal government HUD funded program. This one provides services to individuals and families residing in shelters or transitional housing. Such clients receive long-term case management, information on funds to pay rent, and outreach until they achieve self-sufficiency. Some of the supportive services provided to enrolled applicants are permanent housing placement, budgeting workshops, resources to pay deposits, and advocacy.

Families in Need is another housing program that is also for individuals and families residing in shelters and transitional programs. They have the ability and the right to apply for the Families in Need program. It is the intensive case management tool. The goal of the program is to promote total independence from public assistance. In order to do this, it offers services that include information on job placement, transitional housing, life skills training, and case management.

The Emergency Solutions Grant provides cash resources to all the programs listed above, which are aimed to provide following assistance to homeless. In some cases, the funds for paying rent may be issued as a loan that is repayable. It also pays for housing deposits; first month’s rent and maybe utility and electric deposits.





Travel assistance is available to individuals and families who become stranded in the Knoxville area due to no fault of their own. In addition, they need to have a legitimate work or medical destination. Those who apply need proper identification, job and/or medical appointment is required or verification of home. Gasoline assistance is also available, which require a valid driver’s license, insurance and current vehicle registration. This service depends on the availability of funding.

Home repairs are available in cooperation with the City of Knoxville community development programs. There are a few different options. The Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee provides free or low cost home modifications and improvements. The goal of the program is to help eligible struggling families, including the disabled, achieve self-sufficiency by enabling them to stay in their homes. This goal is achieved through the services offered to clients who meet income and other eligibility requirements.

The goal of the Weatherization energy conservation program is to help eligible households reduce their utility bills and reduce energy consumption. Weatherization services from Knox CAC ensure long term savings. Both low-income homeowners and renters are qualified for the program.

Pace to 10 Residential is a voluntary no-interest loan program intended to income homeowners make lateral repairs to their residence. Eligibility depends on income, size of household and other requirements. The program is funded by KUB.

Resources for food

Commodity food program helps working poor individuals and families, seniors, and children by providing them with free foods and groceries necessary for living. Eligible clients are low-income residents of Knox County Tennessee.

When school is out of session, the summer food service provides hot meals and snacks to children during summer holidays. The food is distributed at a variety of sites within Knox County Tennessee.

Holiday and Christmas assistance is a Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee program that provides help to eligible clients during the various holiday seasons. The partners are agencies, charity organizations, and churches. The program aims to serve as many needy families and children as possible by conducting thorough assessment to avoid duplication. Clearinghouse staff helps with applications for the News Sentinel Empty Stocking Fund, Angel Tree, and more. Continue with free Christmas assistance programs in Knoxville as well as the county.





The Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee Green Thumb Program offers free vegetable and fruit seeds and plants to eligible gardeners in Knox County. The program’s goal is promoting gardening and healthy living in the community.

Knox CAC Neighborhood Centers

Neighborhood Centers work with the community action agency to bring CAC programs and services to eligible low-income members of the community. The various centers aim to provide all necessary social services and financial to those in need. Neighborhood Centers provide following services such as emergency assistance services and information and referral services to them; self-sufficiency case management; intake services for other federal government and CAC programs; and also ready community access to most other locally managed social service programs.

The program staff and case managers provide information on most CAC administered programs. The case managers also provide help with completing applications for majority of programs offered by CAC, including KUB’s Project Help program, SSDI disability, and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Neighborhood Centers provide assistance with finding a job, writing a resume, and gaining employability skills as well. In addition, counseling on budget and employment are also offered. Finally, Centers offer the Green Thumb Program, which offers free garden seeds and plants to eligible clients in Spring, and is also referenced on this page.

Office on Aging is a key partner of Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee. It provides a wide variety of programs and services in order to provide necessary support to senior members of the community. The primary goal is to improve the quality of their life and help them remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Programs included in the Office on Aging provide following services health and nutrition-related services; in-home care; volunteer opportunities for seniors; assistance in dealing with consumer and home-safety related services and also educational services.

Additionally, the Office on Aging in Tennessee offers information to enrolled seniors, their family members, caregivers and other professionals who provide these resources for seniors. The office tends to improve the lives of the elderly in the region by developing new resources and enhancing existing ones.

Financial literacy and job programs in Knox County

Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee, working with the IRS, offers the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) from January through April on a yearly basis. The program’s trained and certified volunteers help low-to-moderate income residents, including seniors, prepare and file state and federal taxes at no charge. Additionally, they also offer free information and electronic filing for the previous year. Finally, free assistance with understanding and addressing back taxes and amended returns during the regular tax filing season are available if needed.

Head Start is a comprehensive, free preschool program for low income children and their families, such as parents. The reason the program was created was to promote children’s social, intellectual, physical growth and development in order to prepare children for school. Disabled children and those with special needs are also eligible for the Head Start services.







In addition to coordinating educational services, the program offers health and free dental services, nutrition and lead risk assessments. Head Start encourages parent involvement and gives them an opportunity to participate in their child’s education and development.

Families can apply for social services; government aid; mental health services and transportation. Each enrolled students is entitled to reimbursement and nutritious meals according to the time spent in the center.

Early Head Start is similar to above. It is a comprehensive program for low-income infants and toddlers. In addition to infants and toddlers, pregnant women and enrolled children’s families are also qualified for the program.

The community action groups offers Head Start and Early Head Start services. These are provided to clients using a variety of options, including home and center based. Note that all locations in Knox County are also licensed by Department of Human Services Day-care Licensing.

The programs are known from the CAC Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Neighborhood Centers. There are a few in the region with case managers and staff on site.

  • East center is at 4200 Asheville Highway, phone: 546-5125
  • Western center - 2247 Western Avenue, Main phone: 524-3345
  • Northern location, 7028 Maynardville Highway, call 925-0880
  • Southern center is at 522 Maryville Pike, 577-7591

By Jon McNamara











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