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Community action agency assistance programs in Nebraska.

Many low income families in Nebraska get help from their local community action agency. The non-profit organizations offer a number of services, including employment assistance and job training. Qualified individuals, the unemployed, and seniors may also qualify for emergency help with certain bills and basic needs.

Rent, housing, and homeless prevention

A focus of many agencies is on helping the homeless. Those individuals and/or families can obtain emergency clothing, food, shelter and/or transportation. Other services offered, depending on the center, may include referrals to other agencies or permanent housing for identified needs. Case managers will also work with individuals on self-sufficiency, including helping them gain employment skills or a job.

Project FIRST, or the Nebraska Families in Residence with Support in Transition, is for homeless families in the state. It offers them access to a family development process which can provide them with self-sufficiency and eventual permanent housing, if they meet requirements. Many homeless will also need to take part in Project FOCUS (Families Opting for Change Using Strengths) which is another family development program.

Another resource similar to above is THRIVES. This will also assist homeless individuals and families to obtain suitable and safe housing. People supported will participate in intensive case management to enhance their skills for self-sufficiency, and help them find a job. The goal is to secure and maintain permanent housing for the client.

The Nebraska Homeless Assistance Program (NHAP) can provide financial assistance and cash grants to qualifying individuals and families. Those who qualify may receive one month partial payment of a security or utility deposit, past due rent or mortgage or a utility bill. Along with the partial financial assistance for your housing costs, your local agency provides one on one support and case management to the client. This includes intervention which is used during a crisis to solve problems that contribute to homelessness and help people obtain self sufficiency. There are other eviction prevention programs in Nebraska as well.

General assistance for basic needs in Nebraska

Holiday assistance is available in Nebraska. Most of the resources are organized by volunteers, local businesses and community groups. Agencies and people donate materials, time, food, toys, coats and more. A number of seasonal holiday projects are offered, especially at Christmas and Thanksgiving.




Free tax preparation and filing is offered to low- to moderate-income individuals. Community action agencies offer the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Trained coordinators can help with ensuring residents receive special credits, such as Credits for the Elderly or the Disabled, Earned Income Tax Credit, or the Child Tax Credit. Staff and volunteers offer free tax return preparation assistance, including free e-filing.

The federal government Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) provides nutritious, healthy but supplemental food to the elderly, pregnant women, and children. Income limits are in place. Examples of food distributed include free cheese, milk (evaporated and non-fat dry milk), fruit and vegetables, bottled juices, peanut butter, cereals, and formula for infants.

Many community agencies have information on local food pantries. The centers may provide non-perishable food, paper products, canned goods, and more to families and struggling individuals.

Immunizations are arranged by community centers. Shots, as well as details on prescription drug assistance programs, are provided to children ages two months through 18 years of age at public clinics across Nebraska. The agencies work with partners including NeedyMeds, NE Health and Human Services, community groups, local nurses, hospitals, individuals, pharmaceutical companies and volunteer doctors. The Nebraska community action agencies also offer information on prescription drug programs, including from NeedyMeds as well as other companies.

Another food program is WIC. This is a supplemental nutrition education program which provides nutritious free foods to income eligible pregnant women, health referrals, breast feeding promotions and support to post-partum women. Free food and formula is also offered to infants and children up to age five.

Weatherization can help low-income families save money by reducing their energy bills. Qualified homes are “tightened” from hot and cold weather, and this is offered at no charge. The program can add extra insulation to the walls, attic and/or floors. Some on your equipment can be tuned up, as weatherization will pay for an efficiency inspection on natural gas, propane and fuel oil furnaces, boilers and water heaters. The program can also replace broken glass in primary windows or install or adjust door weather-stripping, thresholds, and/or door sweeps.





Low and moderate income homeowners in Nebraska are offered low-interest and/or forgivable loans as part of the Housing Rehabilitation program. The money is used to pay to rehabilitate homes to meet health and safety needs, in particular the needs of seniors and the elderly.

The federal government Emergency Food and Shelter Program, or EFSP, also provides financial assistance to pay for housing costs. The program will help qualified individuals pay a partial month of utilities or rent. The money is meant to prevent homelessness and evictions, and will help those who are faced with an emergency.

Emergency Assistance is offered at some community action agencies. Funds are available to provide help for meeting basic needs. This can include food, utility, heating bills and rent payments, or medications. Most of the aid is for homeless or near homeless persons who have a verifiable personal or economic crisis.

Meals on Wheels can provide a nutritious, affordable meal to senior citizens and homebound in Nebraska. These meals will be home delivered by community volunteers to those older individuals who are unable to take advantage of the social setting that congregate meal sites have to offer. Senior Centers are also located across Nebraska. Some are at community action agencies, and some may be at agency on aging centers or churches. They offer low cost (or free) meals to seniors and their spouses. Other activities are held from time to time as well, including computer classes, health clinics, social activities, trips and more.

The Child Car Seat Program can provide infant and toddler seats to struggling families in Nebraska. In addition to those items, it provides boosters to lower income families for a minimal fee, which various by community action agency. Volunteers, technicians and case managers will install car seats for qualified clients. Or residents can find other agencies that give out infant car seats.

Every Woman Matters is a state program for women who are 65 years of age and are underinsured or uninsured. The state and agencies will pay for the screening and examinations for breast and cervical cancer prevention. Services include provided can include pap test, pelvic exam, blood sugar check, clinical breast exam, screening and diagnostic mammograms, blood pressure, and cholesterol tests.

Community action employment and case management

Information and outreach is always available. Local staff provide individuals of all backgrounds and income with information regarding services. They will make appropriate referrals to non-profit agencies, community organizations, and other resources. Clients will also be offered complete follow-up services. For example, case managers can provide assistance in navigating through the process of applying for state of Nebraska assistance or government aid, such as Supplemental Security Income and/or Social Security Disability Insurance. Centers will also help people apply for job programs, including the Workers Investment Act, or WIA.

Head Start is Nebraska’s and the nation’s primary child development program for preschool children ages 3-5. It calls for parent involvement, education, nutrition, social services and health. A very similar offering, Early Head Start, is a home-based program that provides assistance to pregnant women and children ages 0-3. Both of these services are focused on offering family centered services and activities, including parent education, comprehensive health services and nutrition.







Head Start will enhance children's physical, social, emotional and cognitive development and it also helps parents move toward self-sufficiency. The program provides a comprehensive link to community resources; parent education; child screenings; health care; transportation; in home consultations; and social activities for the whole family.

The Homeownership Opportunity Program arranges counseling, education and more. First time home buyers can get assistance for the purchase of existing or newly constructed single-family homes. The funds (which can be grants or loans) are available to assist individuals and families with paying their closing costs, down payment assistance, and/or rehabilitation of the home. Credit counselors also provide free homebuyer education workshops to first-time homebuyers.

Financial counseling and workshops are offered in Nebraska. Many people say these can be life-changing programs that teach clients to achieve goals by eliminating debt, saving for the future, and budgeting. Community action agencies, working with non-profit credit counseling organizations, provide information on savings, cash flow planning, eliminating debt, and more somewhat essential topics.

The community action Life Skills Program provides training and support to individuals wanting to seek employment, improve knowledge or skills, and increase assets. Some of what can be provided includes GED registration and testing, financial Literacy programs, assistance with job applications and resume creation, and basic personal finance and budgeting.

Matching grants for savings are provided from the Individual Development Account (IDA) Program. Clients who save money on their own will receive matching saving/grants from community agencies. The money may be used for purchasing a new home, education, or starting your own business. IDAs can help families and individuals of modest means follow a pattern of regular savings, and, ultimately, purchase a long-term asset.

Family Services are offered by your Nebraska community action agency in an effort to alleviate poverty, assist with the revitalization of low-income communities, and empower low-income individuals and families to become self-sufficient.

Rural Business Enterprise Program is a loan program for small, new and existing businesses that do not have access to traditional sources of financing or capital. Clients can apply for a low interest loan. The hope is that businesses will increase the number of jobs available in Nebraska. These businesses may also receive technical assistance, guidance and training for free.

Location of non-profit agencies in Nebraska

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership
Mailing address is P.O. Box 273
Fairbury, NE 68352
(402) 729-2278
Counties supported are Butler, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Polk, Saline, Seward, Thayer, and York

Central Nebraska Community Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 509
Loup City, Nebraska 68853-0509
Primary phone - (308) 745-0780
Low income programs are available in Blaine, Wheeler, Boone, Boyd, Brown, Colfax, Custer, Garfield, Greeley, Howard, , Hamilton, Holt, , Keya Paha, Loup, Merrick, Nance, Platte, Rock, Sherman, Valley, and Hall County.

Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties
Address - 210 "O" Street
Lincoln, NE 68508
(402) 471-4515
Services are for the regions of Lancaster and Saunders. Assistance available includes Head Start, weatherization, and emergency grants for needs such as rent or heating bills. An emergency financial aid program may also have funds or loans to pay costs such as rent or a security deposit if it prevents an eviction. More on Community Action Programs Lancaster County.





Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska
Address: P.O. Box 2288
Kearney, NE 68848
Telephone number - (308) 865-5675
Programs are offered in the counties of Arthur, Buffalo, Chase, Clay, Dawson, Grant, Dundy, Franklin, Frontler, Furnas, Gosper, Adams, Harlan, Hayes, Hitchcock, Hooker, Webster, Kearney, Keith, Lincoln, Logan, McPherson, Nuckolls, Perkins, Phelps, Red Willow, and Thomas.

Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska
Main address is 3350 N. 10th Street
Gering, NE 69341-1700
Call (308) 635-3089
Counties - Banner, Cheyenne, Deuel , Garden, Kimball, Morrill, Scotts Bluff

Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership (ENCAP)
2406 Fowler Avenue
Omaha, Nebraska 68111
Telephone number is (402) 453-5656
The largest non-profit in the state. Resources can provide food to seniors and children. Look into homeless prevention services or job training. Other aid is offered for the working poor. Supports Douglas and Sarpy County. Some utility programs available include LIHEAP or weatherization. Read more.

Northeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership
P.O. Box 667
Pender, NE 68047-0667
Telephone: (402) 385-6300
(402) 529-3209
Employment services and emergency financial aid is offered for low income families in the counties of Antelope, Burt, Cedar, Cuming, Dakota, Dixon, Dodge, Knox, Madison, Pierce, Stanton, Thurston, Washington and Wayne Nebraska.

Northwest Community Action Partnership
Center is at 270 Pine Street
Chadron, NE 69337
(308) 432-3393
Regions and towns/counties of Box Butte, Cherry, Dawes, Sheridan, and Sioux.

Southeast Nebraska Community Action
P.O. Box 646
Humboldt, Nebraska 68376-0646
Phone - (402) 862-2411
Offers employment training, credit counseling, and government aid in Cass, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, and Richardson County. The non-profit is also known as SENCA, and find details on Community Action in Southeast Nebraska.


By Jon McNamara

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