New Orleans public assistance programs.

State and federal government benefits can be applied to from DCFS in New Orleans. The agency provide public assistance to low income families, including senior citizens or an individual with a disability. They also address job training needs of clients.

Food and cash assistance programs

There are public assistance programs for food, such as SNAP. Healthcare needs are addressed by Medicaid or Medicare for senior citizens, and those are offered nationwide. Also, there may be low income housing in Orleans parish, and those are among the many services administered by the department or they have referrals to. Federal government funding, with support from the state of Louisiana, provides the financial backing for most of the monetary aid available to clients.

Low-income families can obtain food stamps in the form of a debit card through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This federal service promotes improved nutrition among clients by helping them purchase groceries for themselves and their families. SNAP eligibility is contingent upon a number of factors, including income, assets and deductions.

The social services department partners with local community action agencies. Together they use state and federal grants to help qualified individuals pay utility and air-conditioning bills. This is known as part of LIHEAP, and it provides financial assistance for paying home-cooling bills, whether gas, electric, or oil.

Another option is the crisis assistance program of LIHEAP, and this one supports families facing service disconnection. Public aid may help with the payment of any outstanding bills as well as help for paying deposits or connection fees. Other services help clients repair or replace cooling systems, or provide the elderly with a free fan.

Applications for most utility bill assistance programs are taken by DCFS or a partner community organization. Furthermore, there may be occasional funds for cooling bill assistance. This can also help with electric bills during the summer, or there may be grants to help clients repair or purchase cooling equipment and subsidizes electricity bills. Eligible households for this particular program must satisfy income guidelines and include at least one member deemed vulnerable by the social services department.




Financial assistance with rent payments is available via the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program or other onetime resources, such as emergency food and shelter. Under this federally funded, rent-subsidy program, families can live in the rental unit of their choosing in the city of New Orleans as long as it is safe, decent and affordable. Clients must contribute 30% of their household income toward monthly housing payments and utility bills, and HUD vouchers cover the remaining portion of these expenses.

Day care vouchers are offered too as part of the CCAP child program. Qualified, low income families can make use of monetary aid offered by DSS to pay for the cost of child care. The aid is only for parents that are working or in job training. Expenses are covered by government-funded vouchers or, in rare cases, direct financial assistance to the provider.

Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) provides short-term cash assistance to low-income families with children. Participants receive monthly grants or payments to help pay bills, such as rent and grocery expenses, and cover the cost of their basic needs, including even clothing or diapers.

Along with other eligibility requirements, the majority of able-bodied adult recipients must participate in job training, which is administered by the social services department. The grants are known as TANF in most states, and the agency helps clients obtain employment in the region and it may help them pay for childcare and transportation expenditures. The county encourages clients to work, and as such, participants in the publicly funded program can receive Family Independence Temporary Assistance assistance regardless of their employment status.

Other, onetime financial aid may be for residents in a crisis. There may be limited public aid as part of general relief or other sources. Government grants administered by DSS in Orleans can help families whose needs have not been addressed by other department services or local nonprofit organizations.

While it is limited in scope, emergency monetary support may be available for rent payments, food, medications, clothing and similar expenses. In some cases, qualified families may receive a loan, as funding for the general relief program is very limited.





Public health care and other services in New Orleans

Medicaid is the primary public healthcare program for low-income residents as well as the uninsured of New Orleans. Qualified clients can use the program to help pay for medical bills, prescription and dental services. Department of Children & Family Services in Orleans can help people apply, and the goal is to ensure all people have some access to affordable medical care.

The program features various components, such as Medicaid for the aged, blind and disabled, a component for low income families and children, and health care for long-term care. In addition, Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS) is a Medicaid component for uninsured, low-income children under 19 years of age.

Seniors in New Orleans can sign up for Medicare. This is another federal health insurance program designed for individuals who are 65 years of age or older. The DSS office accepts applications on behalf of the U.S. Social Security Administration, and the county can also answer all questions of people from the community.

The New Orleans DCFS assists individuals in their pursuit of employment. Information is available in regards to local One-Stop Job Centers, job fairs and training programs that operate in the parish. The department also makes referrals to supportive services to help clients obtain transportation to job interviews or care services for their children. These supportive services are provided on a limited-time basis to give clients the flexibility needed to work or attend interviews.

There are several economic stability and other offices in the parish. For information on any public benefits, dial 1-888-524-3578, or one main center is at 1630 Iberville St., New Orleans, Louisiana.



By Jon McNamara

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