Lake County government and public aid.

Very low income families can apply for or receive information on public assistance in Lake County. The department of social services offers resources such as SNAP food stamps or LIHEAP applications, and medical care can also be arranged from government sponsored low cost insurance or Hoosier RX. Several other state benefits can be applied to at the office, and more information on the possible solutions are below.

While there may be some assistance provided, the goal of any agency, including those in Lake County, is to get people back to work. This is accomplished through programs such as those offered at one stop job centers, the Work First service, and others.

These employment resources, known as IMPACT, are some of the main components of both welfare reform and other self-sufficiency services. The goal of any public benefit offered by the Indiana and Lake County Division of Family Resources (DFR) is to provide very short term funds for bills or other basic needs, while helping the applicant land a full time job and really get off of public aid.

So the Work First program combines employment and job related resources with limited cash assistance. If qualified, and if all terms and conditions of the program are met, families that are enrolled can receive a few thousand dollars for paying approved expenses, such as for housing or food for their families.

The IMPACT job training and other employment services in Lake County will touch upon everything from finding to retaining a job that pays decent wages. Staff and social workers from DFR will work with clients on removing barriers, increase personal responsibility, and further develop both new and current skills.

Food assistance is provided by solutions such as commodity supplemental program (CSFP) or food stamps and others. These various resources all have one goal in mind, and that is to provide either free or low cost groceries, meals, or food to the low income. They are the region’s main hunger prevention resources. The Lake County DFR can help process applications and go over the guidelines, or even offer information on other options, such as WIC – Women Infant and Children.

Referrals to public housing, shelters, and grant programs for paying back rent may be offered too. These are mostly run by partners of the county, and some examples of agencies that may be able to help in this capacity include the Salvation Army, community action agencies, or PHA – public housing authorities that have section 8 applications. They use public funds from programs such as Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) and other sources.




There are low income apartments for a variety of guests, including veterans, the disabled, or single parents that reside in the county. Most of the centers combine both short term lodging with ongoing case management that touches upon employment and topics such as credit counseling. After all, these agencies both want to house the client and also keep the tenant in that unit.

Partnering with other agencies, the Lake County Division of Family Resources helps process application for public aid from LIHEAP. This is the counties main solution for paying utility bills, including heating or standard electric. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance is for qualified low income households, including the disabled and seniors. A goal of the government grants is to help families keep their power on, especially during inclement weather or the colder or other months.

Households in Lake County Indiana facing a disconnection can apply for crisis LIHEAP for assistance. This is an emergency component, with a focus on helping individual’s maintain energy service if it will be terminated in the near future. There is financial support for a number of bills, including natural gas, propane, coal, fuel oil or kerosene and others.

The federal funded Medicaid program is an option for people that can’t afford health or dental care on their own. There is also Hoosier Rx in Lake County and more. This public benefit can address many health and medical needs of patients, ranging from medications to care for children. State laws determine exactly what can or can’t be paid for.





Social services can provide both cash aid from TANF, referrals to affordable day care providers, and also vouchers to help pay for the costs. The goal of each of these varies, as TANF can help Lake County families with basic needs while the objective of child care is to allow parents to work or attend job training, and not need to spend all of their income towards child care bills.

There are a few main DFR offices across Lake County, and noted below.

  • Gary Office, 661 Broadway, Gary, IN 46402-2407, Telephone 1-800-403-0864. ZIP codes 46401, 46402, 46403, 46404
  • Crown Point Office, 1865 E. Summit Street, Crown Point, Indiana 46307-2768, dial 1-800-403-0864. This center helps families in the ZIP codes of 46303, 46307, 46308, 46311, 46341, 46355, 46356, 46373, 46375, 46376, and 46377.
  • Hammond Office - 5255 Hohman Ave., Hammond, IN 46320-1721, call 1-800-403-0864. This is for the zip codes of 46320, 46321, 46323, 46324, 46325, as well as 46327.
  • East Chicago Office is at 3714 Main Street, East Chicago, IN 46312-2224, Telephone 1-800-403-0864. ZIP codes 46312, 46319, 46322, 46394
  • Hobart Office of Lake County DFR is at 1871 East 37th Avenue, Hobart, Indiana 46342-2579. Dial 1-800-403-0864.



By Jon McNamara

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