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Maryland community action agency assistance programs.

Low income, unemployed, and working poor families in Maryland can look into services offered by their local community action agency. Case managers from the non-profits can help individuals in a number of ways. Clients can enroll into long term self-sufficiency programs, such as job training or educational services. In addition, many non-profits can help Maryland families apply for financial aid or grants for paying every day expenses.

Every county and town is supported by an agency, and find non-profits in Maryland listed below. While the resources will vary based on funding and location, the agencies will do their best to help those who are struggling. Some of the services that may be offered, and that are in high demand, are below.

Grants in Maryland for paying bills

A couple of the energy assistance programs include Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP), which is for paying heating bills. Your local agency can usually process applications. The second primary service is the Electric Universal Services Programs (EUSP).

  • A cash grant can be provided by MEAP, and the money can be used to pay different types of energy bills, including natural gas, electric, oil, propane, and kerosene. Funds can be used to pay older and unpaid bills. Any money issued by your community action agency will be paid directly to the household’s heating vendor or energy company. Find more information on applying for MEAP in Maryland.

The second primary service is the Electric Universal Service Program. This assistance program can help low-income households pay their current electric bill. However EUSP can have an arrearage component too, but it can be used only every several years, and this particular option can help pay older electric bills. Your community action agency can either process applications for these programs or refer the homeowner to an agency that they can call upon for help.

Transportation Programs can offer rides for the elderly, low income individuals, senior citizens, and individuals with disabilities. The primary focus of the program is on arranging a free or affordable ride for specific needs. Volunteers or staff from your local agency can offer this service if someone has an job interview, or maybe a doctor appointment. Seniors and the homebound may even qualify for a ride for shopping or some type of trip to a local office. Find more free transportation programs low physically or mentally disabled.




Crisis intervention and emergency assistance can be arranged by a Community Resource Specialist.  Appointments are made by your local agency on a same-day, first-come, first-served basis. Case managers can provide support such as Information and Referrals to community programs, emergency financial assistance, food, and maybe even personal hygiene Items.

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) in Maryland is operated by community action agencies in partnership with the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Single Family Special Loans Programs. The resource will help eligible low-income and poor households with the installation of energy conservation materials in their homes, and government grants will pay for all of the work.

  • These measures can both reduce the consumption of energy, help you save money on bills, and they will also reduce the cost of maintenance for these homes. Funding is provided by both EmPower Maryland Program as well as the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Emergency Food Assistance is offered in partnership with local pantries, charities, churches, and non-profits. Any type of emergency food is only meant as a supplement and provides enough groceries for just a few days. A case manager will then usually help people sign up for longer term solutions, such as public aid or food stamps. Community action workers with partners to address hunger, and there are many local free food pantries in Maryland for struggling families.

AFC, or Emergency Assistance to Families with Children, is a crisis program for families with an emergency need. Examples in which cash assistance or a grant may be provided include a family who has a lack of heating fuel, if they are faced with eviction or foreclosure, or disaster assistance. Also EAFC assistance is available to assist families in paying the burial expenses of needy individuals who were at the time of death were receiving public assistance, child foster care, or medical bill assistance.





Housing, including rental assistance and foreclosure prevention

Many non-profits are also focused on homeless prevention. So to that end they offer housing related services. This can include, but is not limited to, information on emergency rental assistance and placement into more affordable homes. A case worker can also help establish transitional living arrangements and help people in locating permanent housing.

Housing Counseling provides clients the ability to receive pre-purchase counseling, mortgage-default and prevention advice, and landlord/tenant mediation for those who rent. The Housing Counselor from your local PHA or community action agency will help the customer and allow them to remain in their existing home or move to a better housing situation. The goal is to prevent evictions, foreclosures, and the resulting homelessness in the state.

Foreclosure Assistance is part of this as well. Counselors can help people understand where a homeowner is in the foreclosure process. Receive help in understanding your workout options, including Forbearance, Repayment Plans, and Loan Modifications. They can partner with you and speak to your lender or bank on your behalf. Also get help in completing paperwork for loan modifications.

Sometimes your case needs to be referred to others. So the counselor may decide to refer families to free legal assistance if mediation is needed. As part of this, if it is decided that you can no longer afford your home, don't just walk away. Attorneys and others can help you take the steps to return the house to the lender, and this can include or deed-in-lieu or a short sale. This will in general limit your liability.

Rent help is offered from the Section 8 Voucher Rental Assistance Program. This is a federal government funded program and is administered locally by public housing authorities and community action agencies. It will assist low-income families and help them afford decent housing and apartments in the private market. A voucher or grant will be offered to individuals to help subsidize their rent. Read more on HUD section 8 housing vouchers for the working poor.

Additional Rental Assistance and Eviction Prevention resources assists with paying past due rent. Eligibility for these types of housing resources are based on evidence of crisis such as a judgment of restitution or low income levels. Applicants will also need to demonstrate the ability to continue to pay their monthly rent, on their own, after assistance is provided. For people who are currently homeless, first month’s rent or security deposits may be provided to help with move in costs.





The Maryland community action agencies can, on occasion, have some of their own grants for paying bills. They also provide assistance in applying for a number of national and local financial aid programs. This may be for food, utility bills, government TANF cash aid and much more. Case managers work with low income families on this process to help the less fortunate. Find a list of various other assistance programs from the government.

Community action job training and educational services

GED Plus can provide adult instruction for qualified individuals. Most of the participants will be 16 years old and they also need to be pursuing a high school diploma. The classes will generally take several weeks, and it can include classroom instruction, assessments, supplies, books and more. Most of the costs are paid for by the state of Maryland. Additional support is offered in the form of Life Skills, Financial Literacy, and career counseling.

Community Action in MD helps job seekers get a car. This is done in partnerships with non-profits such as Vehicles for Change. Most of the cars or trucks will be low cost (under $3,000) and loan monthly payments due, and families with a low-income or bad credit can also get help. Find details on Vehicles for Change in MD.

This may also be called Adult Education (ABE/GED). Either way, students will be able to work at their own pace using individualized, computer-based instruction. Instructors and staff from a school in Maryland will help students with their work and monitor their progress toward a GED.

Various workshops, such as Get That Job!, can help the unemployed and underemployed. People who enroll will be given an opportunity to get an assessment, fully explore their employment strengths, jump start their job search, and they can pinpoint areas for improvement. You will be able to explore career opportunities in Maryland, learn how to apply for jobs, can assess employment skills, complete a resume, and more. Or learn about “non-traditional” ways to make free money. Case managers and staff will do what they can to help people find a job.

Job Programs for Youth are offered at many agencies for people age 16 to 19. Students will be able to work toward obtaining their General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or work on advancing in their Adult basic Education (ABE) level. Youth will also be exposed to training and softer skills, including interpersonal skills as well as job readiness.

Many residents age 55 and older can sign up for Senior Employment. Qualified participants can be placed into a job with a local non-profit agency or charity. While the position would be part time, the objective is to give people experience and hopefully lead to a full time job.

Work Experience Program can help TCA - Temporary Cash Assistance clients with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to perform a broad array of jobs. Work with a case management on training, including get advice on learning appropriate work habits and behaviors. The Maryland Work Experience Program mirrors real life work situations and can help prepare the client to find a job and enter the work force. This is often partnered with Community Based Training, which provides clients with needed computer skills.

Several other resources are available. Programs can help the unemployed train for and locate a new job. Or an individual looking to start a new career or increase their income can get free career counseling and guidance. Read more Maryland job training.







Head Start

Maryland Head Start is available. This is a federal government funded program that provides children from low income families with access to health care, education, and more. It relies on parent involvement, and will help place children into a secure, productive environment.

This service is provided to children if the family meets low income requirements and if the child is five years of age or younger. Children will receive comprehensive educational and other opportunities that include a focus on nutrition, health, education, parent involvement, disability services, medical and social services. The emphasis is on the entire family, including parents.

The program offers comprehensive child and family development services, with the main goal of creating a healthy and nurturing environment for children and parents. Teachers will offer educational experiences that promote a strong foundation and prepare the child for school. An objective is to help the child and their family reach their potential.

Services offered by Head Start can include health and nutrition screenings implemented by health care professionals as well as educational programs from Early Childhood Education teachers. Free meals and healthy snacks are even provided.

As indicated, parents can also benefit. Various family support services are provided by experienced social workers and Family Services professionals. If a community agency or center can’t meet your needs, then they will more than often be able to offer referrals to those adults and parents that need additional job training or self-sufficiency services.

Community action agency general case management resources

Family Self-Sufficiency is for people who are enrolled in housing programs, such as section 8. Individuals who are currently residing in government subsidized housing, such as public housing or section 8, can enroll. Participants will work with a case manager to increase their income and general level of self-sufficiency. Clients will also have the opportunity to save money that will allow them to move into their own home, pay the rent, or maybe even purchase an automobile upon graduation.

Case management services are a core service. Staff from your local agency can offer referrals, support, and social services, including some of the following. Learn about places to go for advanced job training or skill development. Clients can receive guidance on working with child support agencies or Maryland based credit counselors. Many locations will work with customers and help them access public aid and government benefits that they are eligible for, as grants and support can be critical services needed when transitioning from homelessness to long term stability. Many people who need assistance are not even aware of these service and how to apply, and this is where a community action agency can really benefit you.

Financial Literacy Classes will assist people with improving their credit, creating a spending and savings plan, or reducing debts. Many credit counselors partner with local non-profits to offer this service. The mission is to provide clients with quality education and resources to raise people’s awareness and knowledge about money management. Learn how to improve credit ratings and your cash flow. Some of the clients can receive free information on areas for implementing change, and help people make critical financial decisions. All of this is done for the purpose of eliminating financial stress and creating self-sufficiency.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites in Maryland offer free tax preparation and filing for Federal Government and State income tax returns. IRS trained volunteers will ensure that you receive all credit possible, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, child care benefits, and others. Trained staff will prepare your tax returns for free, while they ensure all eligible households receive all possible deductions and credits.





Information and referrals can be provided as part of a service known as Maryland Access Point (MAP). This is a free statewide initiative which provides a single point of entry for consumers seeking services or information on assistance that may be offered within the state.  Low income families, seniors, and others are able to access the care they need from MAP. A focus is to assist seniors 50 years and older as well as individuals with disabilities.

Senior Centers are scatted across Maryland, and many are located at agency on aging centers. The locations offer a free noon time meal, however a donation is always appreciated. Assistance is for participants 60 years or older and their spouses. Not only can you get food or a meal, but other activities and outings are planned at each Senior Center, and can include health checkups and recreational activities. If you can’t make it to a center, then home delivered meals are served to elderly persons who can’t shop on their own or who are homebound.

Locations of Maryland centers

Allegany County Human Resources Development Commission, Inc.
Address is 125 Virginia Avenue
Cumberland, MD 21502
Call (301) 777-5970

Anne Arundel County Community Action Agency
Location is 251 West Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
Telephone number is (410) 626-1900. Find more information Community Action Agency Anne Arundel County.

Baltimore Housing Community Action Partnership
4 S. Frederick Street, 3rd Floor
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Call (410) 396-3228 for intake
Low income families are supported by this non-profit. Apply for energy assistance from LIHEAP. Other common programs offered include job training, Head Start, and emergency rental assistance. They also offer information on homeless prevention or rapid rehousing, such as referrals to shelters or funds for rental or security deposits. Read more on community action agency in Baltimore.

Community Action Council of Howard County, Maryland, Inc.
Address: 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive 2nd Floor
Columbia, MD 21046
Telephone: (410) 313-6440
Dozens of resources are offered. Call for help on bills and other basic needs. Examples include funds from Emergency Eviction Prevention Program, applications to Medicaid and public benefits, and the community action agency offers much more.

Community Assistance Network, Inc. (CANI)
7701 Dunmanway
Baltimore, MD 21222
Telephone: (410) 285-4674
This non-profit agency also supports Baltimore County as well as portions of the city. Funds from the organization can be used to pay security or utility deposits, they operate short term housing and shelters, and participate in heating bill assistance programs, among other services. Learn more on Community Assistance Network.

Delmarva Community Services Inc.
2450 Cambridge Beltway
Cambridge, Maryland 21613
Call the agency at (410) 221-1900, or find how to get emergency financial help from Delmarva Community Services.





Frederick Community Action Agency
100 South Market Street
Frederick, MD 21701
Call (301) 600-1506, or find more details on assistance from Frederick Community Action Agency.

Garrett County Community Action Committee, Inc.
104 East Center St.
Oakland, MD 21550
Phone (301) 334-9431
Low income assistance programs are administered from this center. A focus is on long term self-sufficiency, which includes career services. Other aid can include heating bill assistance, programs such as Head Start, and referrals. Read Garrett County Community Action Agency Committee.

Harford Community Action Agency, Inc.
Main address - 1321-B Woodbridge Station Way
Edgewood, Maryland 21040
(410) 612-9909
The non-profit may have forgivable loans or other forms of financial support to pay rent, bills, or a security deposit. Other community action agency programs include eviction prevention services, free groceries from a pantry, Financial Literacy, and more. More on financial help from Hartford Community Action Agency programs.

Human Services Programs of Carroll County, Inc.
Address: 10 Distillery Drive, Suite. G-1
Westminster, MD 21158
(410) 857-2999. Click more programs from Carroll County Human Services.

Maryland Rural Development Corporation
Location is 428 4th Street
Annapolis, MD 21403
Telephone: (410) 269-0910
Counties supported are Caroline, Kent, and Cecil.

Montgomery County Community Action Agency
Address: 2424 Reedle Drive, Suite 238
Wheaton, MD 20902
Telephone number - (240) 777-1697
The non-profit administers Head Start and can provide help with filing income taxes from VITA.

Neighborhood Services Center, Inc. of Talbot County
Address: 126 Port Street
Easton, Maryland 21601
Telephone: (410) 822-5015

Shore Up!, Inc.
Office is at 520 Snow Hill Road
Salisbury, Maryland 21804
Telephone number - (410) 749-1142
If you live in the counties of Kent, Queen Anne's, Talbot, Somerset, Wicomico, or Worcester, call this non-profit. They also run more unique programs, such as a senior center as well as help with home repairs. Many other programs are run too, and read Shore Up assistance programs.

Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee, Inc.
Hughesville, MD 20637-0280
Call (301) 274-4474 for information
Counties are St. Charles, St. Mary's, Charles, and Calvert.
Numerous assistance programs are administered. They include grants for paying utility and heating bills from MEAP, free foreclosure counseling from the HUD certified agency, and information on government benefits, such as low income housing or food stamps. More on Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action programs.

Telamon of Maryland
The agency operates statewide. Residents can call this community action agency. Assistance may include income tax preparation, referrals to heating bill programs or weatherization, homeowner counseling, and much more. They can assist with refinancing mortgages or offer referrals to loan programs for housing or rent requirements. Continue with Telamom financial assistance programs.

United Communities Against Poverty, Inc. (UCAP)
Location - 1400 Doewood Lane
Capitol Heights, MD 20731-0356
Telephone: (301) 322-5700
This agency supports Prince Georges County. Some of the resources administered include transitional housing from Shepherd’s Cove, rent and heating bill help as part of EFSP, and even free day care. Read more on assistance programs from United Communities Against Poverty.





Washington County Community Action Council, Inc.
101 Summit Avenue
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740
Telephone number is (301) 797-4161
Apply for programs such as MEAP and weatherization here. Case managers can also provide information on Maryland and federal government grants, assistance such as Head Start, and food programs. Find how to get help from Washington County MD community action agency.

By Jon McNamara

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