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Assistance from Rhode Island community action agencies.

Assistance from non-profit community action agencies can provide short term financial aid to low income Rhode Island families. Case managers will also work with individuals on long term solutions. The amount of resources offered from the centers listed below will be based on funding, but can include employment assistance, grants for housing or energy bills, credit counseling services and other support.

Clients will normally work closely with a case manager towards long term self-sufficiency. However they will explore with you, and help you apply for, any emergency financial assistance that you may be qualified for.

Government grants and emergency assistance

Receive information on and assistance in applying for Food Stamps/SNAP. Specialists can help you with the application for this federal government run program, which will provide beneficiaries with vouchers that they can use to buy groceries.

Community action agencies will do their best to help people meet their basic needs, or refer clients to who may have resources. When the breadwinner of the family gets sick, losses their job, or has an unexpected crisis, this can impact their ability to pay the bills. They may be able to help people apply for LIHEAP, offer referrals to food pantries in Rhode Island, distribute work clothing, and provide direct financial aid if they have it.

Emergency Housing Assistance may be offered for low/moderate income households in Rhode Island that are facing a temporary housing crisis. Some community action agencies may be able to provide direct financial assistance in the form of a rental payment or security deposit. Or an agency may refer you to a local or government resource that can help.

Home Buyer Programs may provide grants for down payment and/or closing cost assistance, and all aid is offered for first-time homebuyers. Conditions are in place, including applicants need to meet income guidelines and also complete a series of credit counseling and Homebuyer Education classes.

Home Ownership Education workshops and classes are offered in both English and Spanish. This includes topics such as budgeting and money management, credit issues, help with finding an appropriate home in Rhode Island, the mortgage loan process, home maintenance, and legal issues. As part of this process, counselors will assess each client’s particular circumstances and assist the client in developing an action plan. If you already own a home, counselors from a community action agency can also assist delinquent borrowers with options to avoid foreclosure and get back on track with their mortgage.




Senior Dining Programs make available hot, nutritious meals available Monday through Friday to persons 60 years of age and their spouses. Dining sites are located across the state, including in agency on aging centers, community action agencies, and local charities. Meals are served in the dining rooms and other senior activities are offered, such as exercise programs, knitting, pool, bingo, special luncheons and even trips.

The Rhode Island Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (RIPAE) is available for disabled and seniors. Community action centers assist with prescription payments by enrolling qualified clients in the program, and it is offered statewide.

Rhode Island education and job training/counseling programs

A number of career counseling programs are offered. For people seeking post secondary or advanced training opportunities there may be support, including advice on how to transition to college. Counselors offer assistance with applications, career exploration, college readiness assessment, financial aid forms, and tips on developing study and research skills.

English as a second language sessions may be held. Non-profits can help with academic assessment and educational services, with services focused on Rhode Island individuals and families who are non-English speaking or have limited language skills. Classroom and/or individual sessions are held days or evenings. ESL programs can help students learn English for life, work, and their community.

YouthBuild Program is a multi-year, full-time program that gives younger adults advice and hands-on training. The goal is to help them start a career in a trade, such as construction. Or assistance is offered to help them earn their GED or transition to college.

Participants of this community action program earn money, hands-on training, access to GED classes and college preparation. They will also gain more general leadership and career development skills, as well as sign up for free computer training. Applicants need to be low income, a current or former foster care youth or adult offender.

Other Youth Employment Programs are seasonal and can help people under the age of 21. Clients receive GED preparation and testing, occupational skills training, job readiness skills instruction, responsibility workshops, paid work experience placement, and even enrollment in higher education/training. Intensive support services and case management assist students throughout the Rhode Island programs.





GED training can be organized. Students and enrollees will learn the science, math, reading, writing and other skills needed to pass the official Rhode Island GED tests. There are separate classes available for adults as well as individuals aged 16 to 19. Some of the other services that may be covered include Financial Literacy, Touch Typing, Work Readiness, Nutrition Workshops, and Basic Computer Skills. Tutoring and home based studies may be available as well.

Adult Education, Employment & Training is available at many community agencies and regional non-profits. This can include academic assessments; computer assisted learning; GED Prep; ESL, Adult Basic Education, tutoring; home-based studies; employment placement assistance; post secondary educational assistance, and offer work readiness skills training.

Even Start Family Literacy Program is a comprehensive and coordinated program of Adult Basic Education, ESL, Early Childhood Education, Family Literacy Skills Training, Case Management, Interactive Child-Family Literacy Skills Training, and Parent Education. It is offered to low income families with children who are under 8 years of age.

Financial Stability Counseling can help people budget, pay down debts, and improve credit scores. The program provides financial literacy and education services. The curriculum offered at most agencies is based on the FDIC’s Smart Money Program, and it include banking basics, budgeting, credit and lenders, consumer protection and fraud, home ownership and retirement planning, and debt consolidation.

Community action case management services

Fair Housing Advocacy offers counseling and referrals to clients regarding violations of the Rhode Island Landlord – Tenant Act as well as allegations of housing discrimination. The advocate or case manager conducts educational workshops for community groups to inform residents of responsibilities and rights under the law.

The Rhode Island Volunteer Income Tax Assistance will help income qualified residents prepare and file their taxes, and this is offered at no cost to them. Tax preparers are trained by the IRS and available to provide free information and guidance to taxpayers who qualify. There may even be free electronic filing/e-filing offered to individuals to help them get their income tax refunds even quicker.

Youth Success Program will help young parents with their health, housing, parenting, educational, employment and day care needs. Resources are focused on the developmental and health needs of their children.

Child care programs, including Head Start and Day Care, may be offered for low income families/children from three to five years of age. Examples of services offered include education, socialization, nutrition, health, social services, and transportation. A certified teaching staff works with parents and others to provide families a sound day care program responsive to the needs of children. Head Start has both home and center based programs in Rhode Island. While Head Start is free, any type of Day Care fees are based on a sliding scale.

YouthLinks offers a number of services. Examples include vocational and academic assessment, GED prep, basic skills remediation, occupational skills training, employment assistance and placement, intensive case management, job coaching, leadership skills, life skills training, and follow up.

Case managers can help with applications to WIC, or the Women, Infants, Children Supplemental Nutrition Program. It provides pregnant, postpartum and breast feeding women, infant and children food vouchers. It will allow them to pay for eggs, milk, cheese, juice and iron fortified cereals and formula. The Coordinator also provides nutrition education and counseling.







Energy bill grant programs

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program/LIHEAP can help low-income households meet the increasing cost of home energy and heating bills. Government grants can be used to pay oil, natural gas, or other utility bills during the winter. When you are faced with a disconnection or out of fuel during the winter, Rhode Island families can look into the LIHEAP crisis program.

Appliance Management Program (AMP) is a comprehensive electrical energy audit, focusing on installation of energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs as well as the electrical usage of the refrigerator. This will also arrange energy conservation audits to identify consumption from lighting, water heaters, appliances waterbeds, refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers and dryers, air conditioners, portable space heaters ovens and ranges and lights. Based upon available funding, qualified participants may be provided with free compact fluorescent lighting, water saving devices and retrofit mattresses for waterbeds, or refrigerators and freezers.

Weatherization applications are processed at community action agencies. Income eligible residents can get help in upgrading their homes to conserve energy and save money. It is offered at no cost to consumers. Services include, window replacement, adding insulation of walls and attics, air sealing, ventilation, boiler repair and replacement and health and safety inspections.

Rhode Island community action agency locations and addresses

Blackstone Valley Community Action Program, Inc. of Providence County
Address is 32 Goff Avenue
Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02860
Telephone: (401) 723-4520

Comprehensive Community Action Program
Address is 311 Doric Avenue
Cranston, RI 02910-2903
(401) 467-9610
Also covers Providence as well as Kent and Washington.

East Bay Community Action Program
Main address is 19 Broadway
Newport, RI 02840
Telephone number - (401) 847-7821
Supports Newport

Community Action Family Resources - Family Resources Community Action
Location - 158 Sayles St,
Woonsocket, RI 02895
Main telephone - (401) 766-3650
Others low income programs for Woonsocket. Apply for heating bill assistance and weatherization services. The agency can also direct people to food assistance and other aid.

Providence Community Action Program
518 Hartford Avenue.
Providence, RI 02909
(401) 273-2000
Job training, employment programs, and education services are all offered from this non-profit center.





South County Community Action
1935 Kingstown Rd
Wakefield, RI 02879
Telephone: (401) 789-3016
Is for Washington and Kent Rhode Island.

Tri-Town Community Action Program
1126 Hartford Avenue #201
Johnston, RI 02919-7130
Telephone: (401) 351-2750
Call to learn about services offered for working poor and low income individuals. Extensive case management is provided, as well as some emergency aid, such as homeless prevention.

Westbay Community Action, Inc.
487 Jefferson Blvd
Warwick, Rhode Island 02886-7558
Telephone number: (401) 732-4666
Also covers counties of Washington and Kent


By Jon McNamara

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