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Community action agency assistance programs in Mississippi.

Services offered in Mississippi by non-profit community action agencies are wide ranging. Case managers may be able to help you apply for government grants that can be used for paying emergency expenses. Examples can include LIHEAP and emergency food and shelter. However the main services offered focus on helping people overcome poverty and assistance. The locations listed below can help people find a job, go back to school, or gain a new skill.

Job training and education programs

The federal government Workforce Investment Act is one of the primary resources that individuals can call upon for job training or educational services such as GED Programs. Some components of WIA also focus on teenagers and youth in Mississippi.

Work with a case manager as part of this service. However note that this is a self paced program, and clients and students are expected to work at their own pace and independently, with support from a teacher. As part of this service, students will receive skills training. Get help with job searching, resume writing, interviewing, work ethics, and more. A Job Shadowing Program may also be offered, along with internships. Several other job and employment programs are offered, mostly at WIN Job Centers. Learn more on free job training in Mississippi.

Head Start and other parenting services are offered by your local non-profit agency. These programs may provide and promote child development, health, dental, nutrition and mental health services to families and their children. The federal government funded programs offer services and opportunities to children with disabilities.

Parents are very important to overall child development, so comprehensive pre and post-natal services are offered by many agencies to the enrolled expectant mothers, including teenagers. The state of Mississippi also encourages partnerships with community resources, and they work together to provide excellent opportunities for expectant mothers. Clients can receive advice, help, and support in taking care of themselves at that critical time in their lives, and case managers and teachers will help them acquire parenting skills. The outcome of any program is to have healthy pregnancies that result in the birth of healthy babies.




The Early Head Start program in Mississippi utilizes a Creative Curriculum with children up to age 5. Both language and literacy are promoted. Teachers will help children read and show them basic math skills. Head Start teachers are trained and qualified in the fields of child care as well. A Family Resource Worker from a local school will work with the families and the expectant mothers to ensure that dental, health, nutrition, educational and mental health requirements are met.

All child developmental and health concerns are identified by Head Start. The program is committed to wellness and it embraces a comprehensive vision of health for children and families. Head Start ensures that, though collaboration among parents, all child health and developmental concerns are identified. Children and families are linked to an ongoing source of continuous, accessible care to meet their basic health needs. Training is provided to parents to prepare them to exercise their rights and responsibilities concerning the education of their children in the school setting.

Nutritional needs are also addressed. Head Start can provide free nutritional services, meals, and snacks that supplement and compliment those of the home. Children in Mississippi will be served a minimum of one hot meal and/or healthy snack every day. The child nutritional services provided by Head Start will assist low income and working poor families in meeting each child's nutritional needs. It is also important to encourage good eating habits that promote life-long well being and nurture healthy development.

The program takes a holistic approach in providing quality services to families and children. A Family Resource Worker is assigned to each child/family to assist them in anyway possible to become self-sufficient. As indicated, parents are supported as well, and assistance is offered to them to help them identify and meet their goals. This is done in the characteristics of the community as well their family culture. Parents can be provided job training, employment opportunities in Mississippi, and other social services. An essential part of every state Head Start Program is the involvement of parents in education, program planning and operating activities.

Disability Services are offered too. Children with special needs or a learning disability will receive a full range of Head Start Developmental services. In addition, teachers and staff members work closely with non-profit community agencies to provide services to help meet the needs of the disabled child.





The Mississippi Educational Resource Center was created by the state and community action agencies to provide an enhanced environment to encourage preparation for education and job skills. It will provide a better learning environment. Services offered at the centers can equip and encourage participants to become high achievers academically and socially.

The program helps persons who are jobless, low income or disadvantaged. Those who are seeking their GED or some form of pre-employment preparation can receive assistance. The centers can also provide aid and support in studying for the MSAT or ACT. In general, the locations will tend to contain a computer lab, a variety of books, resource materials and other information that will be helpful to the general public and people looking to gain new skills.

Clients of the community action agencies can use the centers to search for jobs or gain new skills by enrolling into training. The staff can go over the process of how to do this as well as help clients apply for positions in Mississippi. Or for individuals seeking legitimate work from home jobs, this can be found too.

Summer Enrichment Programs are offered for children and students during their breaks. Centers are located across many counties. Classes and tutoring in reading, math and public speaking are the main subjects offered as part of the curriculum. The programs were designed to provide a safe environment for students and children, and classes and workshops can help them address their social, moral, intellectual, spiritual and recreational needs. Teachers and staff can equip and encouraging people to become high achievers.

Government grants for bills and emergency needs

A community action agency may have information on several options for you. Emergency Food and Shelter is a government grant program. As funding allows, it offers financial assistance to people across Mississippi in the form of direct assistance for housing, rent and energy bills. Clients who qualify for this grant program must be determined to have a crisis situation and have no other resources available.

The funds are used to supplement shelter, feeding, rent/mortgage and utility bill assistance efforts. Most of the funding goes to the working poor and people in a crisis. If not qualified, then apply for other programs that help low income families.

Food is offered to senior and disabled individuals in Mississippi as part of the Meals Program. Many charities and churches partner with your local community action agency to administer this service. The program has a goal of promoting independence and reducing senior isolation. It provides thousands of free meals to seniors, their spouses and even children. Individuals have the opportunity to sit down and have a fellowship style lunch at multiple locations.

For people who can’t make it to a center, Meals on Wheels can bring them food. Volunteers and others may bring a hot noontime meal to the homebound. Nutritious meals are delivered several days per week to homebound and rural citizens as part of the Home Delivered Meals Program. Meals are personally distributed to elderly, disabled, and homebound individuals by volunteers and agency staff.





The Mississippi Weatherization Assistance Program was designed to reduce energy costs and utility bills. It is a program for lower income clients, and it can help them make their homes more energy efficient. Weatherization focuses on helping disabled, the elderly, senior citizens, and low-income families with young children. Not only can your home be updated, but energy efficiency education is provided for each home weatherized. The measures and improvements will be made to your home after the results of an energy audit. Your local non-profit agency will coordinate weatherization crews, who will install the most cost-effective, energy efficient measures possible to your home. This will address health and safety concerns, improve air quality, comfort, and safety.

Emergency shelter is available across Mississippi. The locations provide food, housing and/or shelter assistance to individuals and families in danger of becoming homeless because of eviction notice, mortgage foreclosure, and other housing emergencies. As part of these homeless service, your local agency and other non-profits provide employment training, food and clothing bank, job counseling, and other needed services to homeless families. Also, a community action agency in Mississippi will also provide information on where to turn to for emergency rent money.

Some prescription assistance may be offered. Many centers provide the elderly, indigent individuals’, and those with a life threatening condition financial assistance using the Community Services Block Grant Program. Funds can be used to purchase some prescription medications for the needy and uninsured.

The fact is that escalating health care costs coupled with low-incomes and high unemployment rates make it almost impossible for low income persons or seniors in Mississippi to meet their basic health care needs. Causes of a hardship can be from unaffordable health insurance, lack of preventive health care/maintenance comprehension, or lack of income to pay for doctor’s visits or purchase prescription medicines. Life threatening illnesses pose tremendous threats for elderly individuals because of lack of knowledge and medication noncompliance, so programs from your community action agency will try to address this barrier.

Transportation may be arranged. Through programs such as the Section 5311 Rural General Public Transportation Program, people across Mississippi, including in rural areas, are provided a safe, low cost/free, reliable, and accessible means of transportation. In particular, senior citizens can get a ride so they can attend to their daily living needs. While emphasis is placed on serving disabled and elderly individuals, affordable and convenient transportation is available to thousands of state residents.

Receive cooling, utility, and even heating assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This is paid for by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, but applications are processed at your local community action agency and human services office. It is also offered in partnership with the Division of Community Services, Mississippi Department of Human Services.

LIHEAP can assist low-income and working poor households in paying their household energy bills. Priority is on the homebound, seniors, elderly and disable/handicapped persons. Another goal is to provide timely and appropriate assistance to eligible households to help them pay utility bills when they are faced with a crisis. Aid is offered during the winter as well as the hot Mississippi summer. The program can also assist with other energy related services and needs too. The exact amount of financial assistance, in the form of government grants or credits, that an eligible household receives depends on the intensity level of the case management results.

For people facing an emergency, the Energy Crisis Intervention Program, or ECIP, can assist households which have weather related, household related emergencies, or a supply shortage and who do not have access to any other form of direct assistance. Utility bills qualified for payment may include electricity, wood, natural gas, propane/butane, kerosene, and even coal. Funds from LIHEAP may also be used to purchase energy related products such as fans, blankets, or air conditioners.

Counseling and self-sufficiency from your local agency

Self sufficiency services are always a focus of community action agencies. One example is known as the STEPS program. A number of services are offered as part of this. In general, case management is a comprehensive approach to overall client stabilization and self sufficiency. This approach encompasses the entire family from intake, orientation, assessment, and coordinating direct or indirect services.







A focus is on enabling families address housing needs, and resources will help people attain stable home ownership. A number of step-by-step management plans are offered to clients. Your local agency and the STEPS program can offer emergency rental assistance, housing and credit counseling, and more general support.

Many conditions may be in place in order to enroll. In general, to be eligible for assistance, applicants need to be low income, homeless, have children under 18 years of age, and have retained employment at least six months prior to program application. Applicants need to be willing to enter into case management with your local agency.

The social workers and case management staff will work with families in Mississippi. They will coordinate and take necessary actions to resolve problems associated with unemployment and other socioeconomic disparities. While there is no solution, the case manager from a community action agency will attempt to link clientele with government programs and other economic relief sources. They will try to help people increase their income and skill level. In general, the target population for case management services are individuals who are unemployed, under served or who are dependent upon government welfare programs. Some of what Community Services Departments can provide include help in a crisis, senior assistance, and self-sufficiency programs including CSBG, LIHEAP, and food stamps.

The Community Service Block Grant/(CSBG) aims to prevent and combat poverty on a local town and community level in Mississippi. It works by removing the barriers of self-sufficiency that clients and the working poor may encounter. A wide range of services and activities are offered, and they have been designed to assist families and individuals in areas such as education, credit counseling, employment, nutrition, housing, health services, and income assistance. The state and local non-profits work together to coordinate local resources and stimulate community participation into opportunities for self-sufficiency using the case management approach.

Address of Mississippi community action agencies

AJFC Community Action Agency, Inc.
Natchez, Mississippi 39121
Telephone: (601) 442-8681
(601) 442-9572
This location covers the counties of Adams, Claiborne, Copiah, Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilkinson, and Lawrence. Read more.

Bolivar County Community Action Agency
Address - 810 E. Sunflower Road, Suite 120
Eastgate Center
Cleveland, MS 38732
Phone (662) 846-1491





Central Mississippi, Inc.
Mailing address is P.O. Box 749
Winona, MS 38967
(662) 283-4781
Families that live in the middle part of the state can call this non-profit for financial assistance and advice. Services are for residents of Attala, Carroll, Grenada, Holmes, Yalobusha, Leflore, and Montgomery. Rent and utility bill help is from Emergency Food and Shelter. Other programs include short term loans, credit counseling, SNAP application and more. Continue.

Coahoma Opportunities, Inc.
P.O. Box 1445
Clarksdale, MS 38614
(662) 624-4887

Gulf Coast Community Action Agency, Inc.
500 24th Street
Gulfport, MS 39502-0519
Call (228) 896-1409 for information.
Offers low income programs for the regions of George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Stone. Call to apply for energy bill assistance/LIHEAP and other aid, such as senior meals. Read more.

Hinds County Human Resource Agency
Mailing address - P.O. Box 22657
Jackson, Mississippi 39225-2657
Main phone - (601) 923-3930
Case managers can help people find a job, coordinate employment services, and they administer emergency financial assistance programs as well. Programs can help meet a number of needs, such as rent, provide free food, or zero interest loans may be issued to pay security deposit fees. Other resources include Head Start and more. More on community action programs in Hinds County.

Jackson County Civic Action Committee, Inc.
5343 Jefferson Street
Moss Point, Mississippi 39562-8723
Telephone: (228) 769-3292 or (228) 769-3264
The non-profit, government affiliated agency offers a number of services in Mississippi. Inquire into commodity foods, eviction prevention, and federal government programs such as LIHEAP energy bill assistance. Read more Jackson County Civic Action.

LIFT, Inc.
P.O. Box 2399
Tupelo, MS 38803-2399
(662) 842-9511
Supports families in counties of Calhoun, Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Monroe, Pontotoc, and Union.

Madison County Citizens Services Agency
Mailing address - P.O. Box 1358
Canton, MS 39046
Phone - (604) 855-5710
The non-profit community action agency offers hot meals and food from CSFP. Other programs range from transportation to referrals to grants and more. Continue with Madison County Citizens Services Agency.

Mid-State Opportunity, Inc.
Address: P.O. Box 270
Charleston, MS 38921
Call (662) 647-2463 for intake
Covers regions and counties of Panola, Tallahatchie, Quitman, Tate, Tunica, and Desoto. Case management, referrals, crisis utility bill and rent assistance, and homeless prevention services are offered, among other programs. Click here.

Multi-County Community Service Agency, Inc.
Office address - 2900 Saint Paul Street
Meridian, Mississippi 39302-0905
Telephone number - (601) 483-4838
Counties - Clarke, Jasper, Kemper, Lauderdale, Neshoba, Newton, Scott, Smith, Wayne. Read more.





Northeast Mississippi Community Service
801 Hatchie Street
Booneville, MS 38829
Main telephone number is - (662) 728-2118
If you live in the counties of Alcorn, Marshall, Prentiss, or Tishomingo, you can call this non-profit for help. Referrals, job training, and grants for paying bills or housing may be available.

Pearl River Valley Opportunity, Inc.
P.O. Box 188
Columbia, MS 39429
Call (601) 736-9564
Regions supported are Covington, Forrest, Jones, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Jefferson Davis, and Perry. Click more information.

Prairie Opportunity, Inc.
Mailing address is P.O. Box 1526
Starkville, Mississippi 39760
Telephone: (662) 323-3397
Several counties are supported, including Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Webster, and Winston. The Emergency Food and Shelter program may have grants for deposits or first months rent. Job training is another focus. Click more information.

South Central Community Action Agency, Inc.
Mailing address is 110 Fourth Street
DLo, Mississippi 39062
Telephone: (601) 847-5552
Assistance programs include Head Start, weatherization, and meal programs. Children, seniors, and low income families can call for referrals. Copiah, Hinds, Lincoln, Madison, Pike, Rankin, Simpson, and Walthall County residents are supported. Click here.

Southwest Mississippi Opportunity, Inc.
Mailing address - P.O. Box 1667
McComb, MS 39649
Telephone: (601) 684-5593
Supports counties of Amite, Pike, Walthall, and Wilkinson.

Sunflower-Humphreys Counties Progress
414 MLK Drive
Indianola, Mississippi 38751
(662) 887-5655
Humphreys and Sunflower County.

United Community Action Agency Committee, Inc.
Mailing address of the center is P.O. Box 338
Ashland, MS 38603
Telephone: (601) 224-8912
Supports Benton and Tippah.

Warren-Washington-Issaquenna-Sharkey Community Action Agency (WWISCAA)
P.O. Box 1813
Greenville, Mississippi 38701-1813
Call (662) 378-5857 for information and referrals.
Programs range from free meals for seniors to emergency grants for rent and utilities. Other resource from the non-profit include transportation, WIA job training, respite for caregivers, and much more. Find additional assistance from WWISCAA.


By Jon McNamara

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