Charleston South Carolina public assistance and social services.

The main government agency in Charleston and across South Carolina is the Department of Social Services. The organization will try to provide families with financial aid and economic support. Assistance is offered for both children and their parents and financial aid can help them over the short term with their basic needs. Another focus is on offering employment services and job training to help Charleston residents become self-sufficient.

Food and groceries are offered by the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. This is the main public program that serves as the foundation of South Carolina and the nation’s safety net. The Department of Social services works to both end hunger and improve the nutrition and health of low-income people. Income qualified families can get assistance with buying the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet.

Those who are able to enroll into SNAP will be provided with a debit or EBT card. This is what will be used to pay for your groceries at a local store. Another resource offered in Charleston is South Carolina Combined Application Program, or SCCAP. This is a program that DSS provides in partnership with the state and federal government Social Security Administration. For residents that are qualified for SSI, they will also be able to receive food stamp vouchers benefits without needing to apply at the local Charleston DSS office.

There are a few different resources to help people with the application process. They include Elderly Simplified Application Project for senior citizens and the elderly in Charleston as well as the SNAP2Work program, which offers information on employment and job training services.

Head Start is available. This is mostly paid for by the federal government. A number of agencies contribute to the care and education of young children. They may also gain free meals, dental and medical care, and other benefits from Head Start. Social services are offered for parents to help them gain self-sufficiency.

The ABC Child Care Program is available in Charleston County from DSS. This is a statewide system that was designed to deliver child care assistance to income qualified families. The services are paid for using public funds and a federally-funded grant program.




The ABC Child Care Voucher program works by making cash payments to day and child care providers to care for working poor and low-income children so their parents can work. In addition, the South Carolina ABC Child Care Program can provide parents other social services and support.

Children and students from low income families can benefit from the Summer Food Service Program. This was created to help children in low-income Charleston County areas. It was created to ensure that they continue to receive free, nutritious meals and snacks during long school vacations when they do not have access to free school breakfasts or lunches.

A similar offering is the After School Snack Program. This provides various forms of reimbursement to after school care organizations to ensure that each student or child participating in their program receives a healthy, nutritious snack. Ask your school or day care provider about this resource.

Employment opportunities are provided by Project Hope. This can help motivated young people obtain healthcare industry recognized degrees and certificates through job training so that they may fill high demand healthcare positions.

Two other public assistance food type programs include CSFP/ Commodity Supplemental Food Program as well as TEFAP / The Emergency Food Assistance Program. CSFP can supplement the diets of low income families and the poor with nutritious USDA commodity foods. Another option is the TEFAP, which helps to supplement the diets of low-income elderly Charleston residents. It may provide them with free groceries and nutrition assistance.





Cash and grants may be offered by Family Independence, or FI. This is a short term financial assistance program that helps families with dependent children when families cannot provide for their basic needs and they have no where else to turn to.

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides free, fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown vegetables, fruits, and herbs from roadside stands, Charleston area farmers’ markets, and community supported agriculture programs to low-income and poor seniors.

The South Carolina Refugee Resettlement Program was created in an effort to help newly arriving population of refugees and immigrants become self-sufficient in the shortest timeframe. This will help them upon their arrival in the United States.

The Charleston South Carolina Social Services Block Grant Program provides federal government funding to pay for social services programs that help protect fragile adults and children. The public funds can help pay for basic and emergency needs to those that qualify. While restrictions are in place, money may be available for rent, housing, and energy type bills.

To learn more, contact the local Department of Social Services at 3366 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, SC 29405. Phone number is (843) 953-9400.



By Jon McNamara

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