LaSalle Community Action Association emergency assistance programs.

Several parishes or counties are supported by the LaSalle Community Action Association. The non-profit administers programs for those facing poverty and low income families in Caldwell, Catahoula, East Carroll, Concordia, Grant, Jackson, Franklin, West Carroll, Madison, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Winn and LaSalle parishes. The financial support is wide ranging.

What is most in demand includes funds for paying rent expenses or utility bills. Other assistance that may be available on site includes food and information on self-sufficiency, such as education and employment resources. The Community Action Agency will try to satisfy all requests, but most applicants will only receive referrals to other public aid.

Many programs, whose main objective is to help people in the community overcome poverty, are administered by the Community Services Block Grant. The Louisiana Department of Labor funds this program using mainly federal government grants and other resources. It addresses everything from self-sufficiency to food and housing.

Housing, food, and utility assistance from LaSalle Community Action

Various types of housing assistance and other aid is part of the EFSP, or the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Both unemployed and low-income individuals from Ouachita parish and other areas may be potential clients for this federally funded Emergency Food and Shelter program. It is run in partnership with groups such as the United Way, Catholic Charities, and Salvation Army centers in Madison, Grant, West Carroll and other nearby parishes.

One-time crisis assistance can be used to pay rent, mortgage, or security deposit. It also combines a number of different funding sources for expenses such as food and utilities too.

The program depends on the availability of government funds, the applicants ability to positively resolve the crisis and other factors. Program expenditures are limited to meals, food, shelter (including free motel/hotel vouchers), rent/mortgage assistance and utility bill assistance. There may be funds for paying security deposits, or loans issued for other bills. A National Board governs and selects jurisdictions for funding of the program.




Local non-profits, including the community action agency, offer this emergency food and shelter services. Each year, needs of the community and applicants are reassessed in an effort to adapt to community needs. Eligible clients for this program are currently homeless individuals or families or those with an eviction notice.

Rental subsidies, not including security deposits, may be offered by the Section 8 Housing Assistance Program. The purpose is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing for low-income families, including the disabled or seniors, at rent amounts they can afford. Apartments may be offered in Madison, Winn, Franklin and other parishes.

The program will ensure that payments are made on time to homeowners or landlords on behalf of eligible tenants. These monthly payments are used to make up the difference between the approved rent and the required contribution of the occupant family. The program receives funds from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is run in partnership with Catahoula Police Jury.

The related Section 8 Family Self-Sufficiency Program, or FSS, is a voluntary five-year program that helps families with Section 8 HUD vouchers achieve financial independence. The main goal of the workshops that are offered is to help families earn enough money through finding and maintaining good jobs. As a result, such clients will have no need for public cash assistance from Louisiana in the future.

Enrolled low-income families and other clients are provided with a number of social services such as education, referrals to job training centers, counseling, and other services. The objective is to help them achieve self-sufficiency through increased education, employment opportunities in the parishes, and the business/social skills.

All the services of the Section 8 Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program are provided thanks to the housing authority, and other community agencies. A unique feature of this LaSalle Community Action Association program is that when a family's earned income goes up, the amount of rent assistance they receive is not reduced. Instead, an amount equal to the reduction in assistance is placed in an escrow savings account for the family.

LaSalle Community Action Association provides other forms of rental assistance to homeless or at risk through the TBRA program, also known as The Tenant Based Rental Assistance. Disabled individuals, seniors, the working poor or families with a disabled member have the preference. Priority for rent help is given to youth aging out of foster care, victims fleeing domestic violence, and those who pay a large percent of their income towards rent.





The program ensures a portion of the rent, in which the exact amount depends on the enrolled applicant’s income, is sent directly to the landlord the first working day of each month. All applicants, and those who are able to enroll, will need to attend at an intake session. This will be an interview/briefing session before entering TBRA. Working with a case manager from the LaSalle Community Action Association if need be, tenants can find a decent and safe apartment or home to live in. It needs to be approved by state and government standards.

If the unit passes the inspection, a Rental Assistance Payment Contract is signed by the owner and LaSalle Community Action Association. The tenant and landlord enter into a lease agreement, which must be 12 months long at minimum. Other components of the program include setting individual goals, financial management, credit repair, addressing landlord/tenant issues, and eviction prevention.

If necessary, case managers will require the participant to attend workshops focused on self-sufficiency. Families who complete the program after 6 months will be provided with follow-up services.

Families who are struggling to pay their utility bills can apply for the LIHEAP, or low income energy bill assistance program. The Department of Health and Human Services funds the program. Funding is passed through the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency to the Louisiana Association of Community Action Partnerships, including those in Caldwell, Jackson, and other parishes.

The program from LaSalle Community Action Association provides financial help and grants to eligible low-income households with paying for their energy or heating bills during the winter months. One-time payment is provided to enrolled participants, depending on theirincome, household size, fuel type and geographic location.

In addition, clients with an outstanding bill that prevents them from getting utilities on in their name are also eligible for the program. So it can help with paying deposits too. The assistance is available to clients whose utilities are included in their rent as well.

LaSalle Community Action Association provides services that will result in an energy-efficient home. This is done for free and is available through the Weatherization Program. Eligible low-income clients are entitled to help from this, which is provided by the Departments of Energy and Health and Human Services. Additional funding is passed through the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency to the LaSalle Community Action Association.

Both homeowners and renters who income is at/or below 150% poverty can be potentially eligible clients for energy efficiency. They can also get help with health and safety measures. The updates can include extra attic and sidewall, insulation, new smoke detectors, a furnace, air sealing, and even a free water heater or refrigerator.

Education and job training services

Head Start Program is a comprehensive early child developmental program, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as the state of Louisiana. Disadvantaged and handicapped preschool children from parishes such as Richland, Concordia, Tensas, and Winn can enroll as well. Services are also for their families and parents as they can be qualified for the program too.

Funded by federal government, this program provides comprehensive educational services to pregnant women and children ages 0-5. Additionally, income and age qualified children with significant or multiple special needs, such as a disability, are also eligible for the program.

In order to qualify, all applicants must meet Federal Income Guidelines and income levels. Currently the Head Start program benefits hundreds of infants, toddlers, students, and pregnant women in the multiple county Louisiana service area.

All of the services available put emphasis on the entire family. What is provided to enrolled clients are hearing, vision, and developmental tests and screenings and well as care, literacy training such as GED testing, free transportation assistance or rides, job and employment training to parents and general Counseling.




Funded by the Department of Labor, the Workforce Investment Act offers job training opportunities to eligible low-income and unemployed individuals from counties such as East Carroll, Winn, and LaSalle.

The federal funded WIA provides workforce investment activities. It is arranged by the non-profit LaSalle Community Action Association through statewide and local systems, including in Ouachita. Funded by the state and federal government, this job program offers workforce investment activities that are suitable for incumbent workers, job seekers, the unemployed, veterans, disabled and youth.

These activities are designed to help participants with their employment needs. It can also help with overall job retention, increase their earnings, and occupational skill attainment. This improves the quality of the workforce and also improves overall productivity of the nation.

S.T.E.P. is a pre and post job readiness skills training offered to eligible clients. Funding is provided by the Department of Labor passed through the Louisiana Department of Labor.


By Jon McNamara

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