Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation programs.

Funding and support services from the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation can help the less fortunate in the region. The non-profit provides assistance to those that qualify in the counties of Allamakee, Chickasaw, Bremer, Clayton, Fayette, Winneshiek and Howard. The programs are wide ranging and deal with everything from homeless prevention to education, job placement, and ongoing case management.

Financial aid for bills, rent, and housing from NEICAC

Food assistance from Northeast Iowa Community Action is located from a few pantries. The centers operate to help those low income or struggling families who are in need of low cost or free food or groceries.

Among options, they run the Bremer County Food Pantry. This is based out of the counties Family Service Office which is located at 117 W. Bremer Ave in Waverly. The Howard county free Food Pantry is located in the Howard County Family Service Office at 204 2nd Ave East in Cresco. Last, but not least, the Winneshiek County Food Pantry is in that particular Counties Family Service Office is at 305 Montgomery St. in Decorah Iowa.

LIHEAP, or low income energy assistance from NEICAC is an option for those who need help paying their heating and other utility bills. LIHEAP was created to assist low-income Iowa residents that qualify (either homeowners and renters) with partial payment of their heating or gas bill during the winter heating season.

This program also helps to encourage clients to make utility payments on their own, they can learn about energy conservation and reducing usage. This is done by educating customers and also through weatherization modifications to their home.

All customers from Chickasaw, Bremer, Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Winneshiek and Howard who apply for this LIHEAP program will also be applying for weatherization assistance as required by state law.

Everyone should note that this service was not created to pay a household's total annual energy bill. This program is to provide a cash grant for just a partial payment, known as supplemental aid. The amount is based on a number of factors such as household income, size of the home, dwelling type, and the type of heating source.




Energy bill assistance is always an important benefit to those that get it, but even more important for people who are at risk, such as seniors, handicapped or those who have young child. NEICAC is aware that these individuals are especially at risk of death or life threatening illnesses if their home not heated during the winter, so LIHEAP grants are targeted at them.

WAP - Weatherization Assistance Program is for low income northeast Iowa. It was designed with the means to help clients remain within their homes in comfort, affordability, and safety. This free energy conservation service includes a cost effectiveness energy audit that checks for insulation, air leakage, and all combustion appliances are inspected for repair and/or replacement.

NEICAC’s own highly trained crews provide all services except appliance and furnace repair services. Certified vendors and contractors complete the repair work of appliance and furnaces.

Northeast Iowa Community Action Agency Weatherization staff also have contracts with the investor owned utilities of the area to install energy efficient modifications that are low-cost for income eligible homes. There may also be hot water heater modifications, compact fluorescent lighting, low-flow faucet aerators/showerheads, and insulation.

HUD housing vouchers, or the Section 8 Rental Assistance, is the main federal government funded program that provides rental assistance to low-income households, including the disabled and seniors. This assistance is help participants to secure safe, decent sanitary, and affordable housing in a non-discriminatory manner from private rental vendors.

Rent and Homeless Assistance from the Community Services Block Grant and Emergency Shelter Operating Fund can assist with numerous expenses and needs. This NEICAC program provides one time rent help or loans for those who qualify. Additional aid may include funds for paying security deposits, back rent and utilities.

Wheels for Work can help with providing a new or used car. It can assist income eligible persons who are employed and families to purchase an affordable and dependable vehicle. This program offers 0% interest loans to those who are both working and that also meet the program’s eligibility requirements.

The maximum loan amount issued is no more than $4500 and it will have an interest rate of 0%. The financing needs to paid off within 30 months or less. Note that the applicant may have to pay for some of the tax, title, security and licensing fees. Program participants may also gain access to budget/financial training from Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation as well as carpooling if needed.

Self-sufficiency, employment, and education in Northeast Iowa

Head Start and other Child Development services are available in almost 20 different schools and centers in the service area. Money to pay for this program comes from the state, federal government, and resources such as the Iowa Wrap-Around Grants fund. There are also day care centers or extended programs available that can help families who work or those who need to attend school, college or job training.





Children under the age of 6 can benefit from Head Start Development classrooms. The centers provide health screenings, free nutritious breakfasts and lunches through the CACFP program, social services, and a host of other age-appropriate activities.

All of the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation classrooms provide an inclusive environment for disabled children, slow learners or those with special needs as well. Teachers provide many chances for children to develop social/ emotional, cognitive, physical and language skills. In addition to all of that, limited Transportation is available from NEICAC for some locations through the school district or local area transit services.

FaDSS, as well as Family Development and Self Sufficiency, coordinates home visits and more in counties including, but not limited to Chickasaw, Bremer, Fayette, and Winneshiek.

As part of this process, assessments and tools are used to identify what the family’s strengths and goals are. Participating lower income and struggling families set goals with assistance from the Family Development Specialist from the community action agency. The clients develops both long-term goals and short-term goals that will lead to them to employment, an improved financial standing, and also becoming economically self-sufficient.

Support from the Northeast Iowa Community Action Family Development Specialist and case manager is continuous, strength-based with the focus on the end result.

If and when needed, referrals made by the Family Development Specialist helps the participants in getting non-profit community resources or government aid to meet their needs. So learn about, and apply for SNAP food stamps, section 8 housing vouchers (per above), or even SSDI disability.

Family services are available from NEICAC in all counties. These offices from the community action corporation are for participants to have access to the programs that apart of the NEICAC agency. These centers are a primary source of referrals to other programs for persons and households seeking help.

The Case Managers as well as Family Service Specialists are experienced and trained in dealing with emergencies that families and individuals may experience.




Whether the client has a crisis, or are applying for energy bill assistance, applying for Head Start or other services, staff from the agency must assess the situation and the applicant's eligibility for any help that may be offered. In the Counties of Howard, Fayette and Winneshiek (as well as others) Family Service offices also operate those counties financial aid and General Assistance services.

The majority of the counties in Iowa that get donations for their crisis funds are the same ones to use their services. So those counties in the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation region allow Family Service to help when a household needs rent help, is facing shut off of their utility, eviction, or are without safe and sanitary shelter. Any funds donated to that county's fund stay within that particular region and are used to help the residents of that town pay the bills, rent, or provide food.

NEICAC office locations

  • Allamakee County, 953 3rd Avenue NW, Waukon, Iowa 52172-0173, call (563) 568-4224
  • Bremer County, address is 117 W Bremer Avenue, Waverly, IA 50677, phone (319) 352-4532
  • Chickasaw County office is at 910 E Main Street, New Hampton, Iowa 50659-0205. Call (641) 394-2007
  • Clayton County, Clayton County Office Building, 600 Gunder Road NE Suite 11, Elkader, IA 52403, (563) 245-2452
  • Fayette County, Courthouse Basement, West Union, Iowa 52175-0481, main phone (563) 422-3354
  • Another site is at 297 6th Avenue SW, Oelwein, IA 50663-0549, dial (319) 283-2510
  • Howard County, 204 2nd Street E, Cresco, IA 52136, main phone (563) 547-4413
  • Winneshiek County, 305 Montgomery Street, Decorah, IA 52101-0487, telephone (563) 382-8436 Ext 150


By Jon McNamara

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