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South Dakota community action agencies assistance programs.

Programs offered by community action agencies in South Dakota are extensive. The non-profit organizations can provide everything from government grants to pay bills, housing costs, and provide other support to the needy and low income. As this is occurring the client will be able to attend self-sufficiency sessions and workshops.

The organizations listed below by county and city can provide more case management type programs to low income and struggling individuals. This can include information on employment assistance, credit counseling, and budgeting classes. Or get information and referrals from your community action agency to federal government and state of South Dakota assistance programs.

Basic needs, grants, and emergency financial assistance in South Dakota

Food pantries are hosted at some of the community action agency centers. When possible and where available they will offer up to 3 days of food to families in South Dakota. The locations may have canned vegetables, fruits, meat, milk and other edible items. Many social service and human services agencies refer applicants to their local South Dakota food pantry. If one is not nearby then you can receive referrals to another local pantry.

Thrift stores are also located across the state. Staff and volunteers at a community agency will collect, sort, arrange, clean, and sell household goods and clothing. Items offered can include blankets, winter coats, shoes, baby supplies and more. If a low income family or person cannot afford to purchase the clothing from a thrift store, then they may qualify for a voucher that they can use to pay for the item, so it will in effect be free to them.

School supplies may be offered in cooperation with other non-profits and charities. Often, lower-income and working poor families cannot fully afford to purchase necessities for school. School supply projects across South Dakota can help lower-income families by providing some or all of the basic necessities and supplies to the student at no charge to them.




Grants from the Emergency Food & Shelter (EFSP) program help pay for emergency needs such as the following. Receive rent and mortgage assistance, utilities, food, emergency lodging for one month. The applicant needs to have an immediate need, show that all other potential resources have been exhausted, meet income levels and provide proof. Occasionally government programs like the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program may operate and have emergency funds for paying rent.

MidAmerican Energy Company works with community action agencies to offer the ICARE program. It uses donations and corporate funds to help low income customers pay their heating and utility bills.

Homeless Rent/Security Deposit Assistance can help eligible very low income and homeless persons to enter a new, permanent housing. The applicant need to prove that they were evicted/are homeless and they also need to show that they have some form of reliable income coming in. The deposit assistance program will pay all or a portion of the applicant's security deposit and/or first month's rent. The agency may also work with the Salvation Army or South Dakota County Welfare department. The client must also agree to receive protective payee/case management services for long term sufficiency. If the local community action agency can’t provide the money that is needed, then find other South Dakota rental assistance programs.

Housing Repair/Rehabilitation is available, mostly for seniors and disabled. Non-profits can provide repair and accessibility modification program for the homes of eligible persons and families. The South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA) takes a leading role in paying for the HOME program and it also takes part in HUD services. It is a loan program for eligible persons/families on a zero-interest, five-year decreasing balance loan. The money from HOME funds can be used to pay for modifications for seniors and persons with disabilities, accessibility and to resolve other health, safety and code compliance issues.





Emergency assistance services are available at some South Dakota community action agencies. Grants may be offered to help individuals/families pay for utilities, rent, or other emergency needs. When these are available strict income and guidelines are in place and funding is always limited.

Assistance is usually only provided one time per year. Grants may be available to prevent disconnections on utility bills, pay deposit, help pay for a past due or first months rent and security deposit, and an agency can also often coordinate emergency shelter situations.

Furnace replacement may be offered for qualified homeowners as part of LIHEAP, weatherization, or other programs. When needed the furnace will be replaced if it is unsafe, is not cost efficient, costs more than 50% of new furnace to repair, or is outdated. Applicants of course need to be income eligible.

The federal government funded Weatherization Program is for the very low income. It can pay for improvements to the homes of the low income in order to make them more energy-efficient and less costly for the residents to live in. It is often available at the same time as fuel assistance from LIEAP. Weatherization can pay for furnaces, either to repair or replace them. It can also provide for less “extreme” updates such as insulation, caulking, and more.

Community action agency employment, education, and case management programs

South Dakota Head Start will offer each and every enrolled child a number of resources. Their parents may also qualify too for social services. Sign up for health, education, and nutrition services. Parental involvement is strongly encouraged in the Head start program. Services are provided in classrooms, sometimes the homes of the participating families, and in other locations often run by non-profits. The federal government funded program will help low-income children and those with special needs meet their development and educational needs.

Early Head Start is similar to above but is available for children from birth to age 3. Pregnant women can also qualify. Assistance available includes family and child development and other community-based services.

Case Management is a key service. Your community action agency wants people to become self-sufficient. So you will work with a social worker to create a long term self-sufficiency plan with goals. The dedicated case manager will work with you on budgeting, paying bills, credit counseling and other necessities. They will partner with you to manage your finances.

Referrals and information is offered. Your agency can provide information regarding the services available in South Dakota from other non-profit providers and government agencies. The case manager can also refer participants to these other agencies when appropriate and help them sign up for aid.

File and prepare taxes for free from the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, or VITA. All counseling and assistance provided is confidential. The IRS trained specialist will help you complete and file your income tax return, and it is all done for free. Some locations will also offer so called non face-to-face tax preparation for clients who cannot make an appointment in person.

The Homebuyer Education component offers counseling and education to families who are looking to purchase a home. It is also offered as part of the Homeownership Education Resource Organization, or HERO.







Another option in South Dakota is the Foreclosure Prevention & Mitigation Services, which supports borrowers who are in danger of losing their homes because of a late mortgage or economic difficulties. The program's well trained staff members and your community action agency work with the participating homeowner, banks, lenders and others to find a solution. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has approved this South Dakota foreclosure program.

Budget and Credit Counseling as well as Financial Education can help people address their housing needs. There are numerous counseling services offered across South Dakota that can assist individuals with their financial needs. Get help addressing housing and debt issues. Sessions can be held one on one or in a small class setting or workshop. Learn how to budget, build assets, reduce debts and more.

Community action agencies focus on employment, so they may have cash assistance to help people find a job. Look into low interest loans that can help clients accept work that requires tools, uniforms, licenses, etc. The employer who you are working for in South Dakota will need to be willing to payroll deduct minimal payments from the employee to pay back the loan. Money can even be used for GED, computer classes, books, or similar needs.

The locations of South Dakota centers

Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership
111 North Van Eps
Madison, South Dakota 57042-0268
Telephone number is (605) 256-6518
Counties supported by the agency include McCook, Minnehaha, Grant, Codington, Hamlin, Deuel, Clark, Kingsbury, Brookings, Miner, Lake, and Moody.
Call for details on employment programs and long term case management. There may also be rent and security deposit assistance from the Emergency Solutions Grant Program, funds to pay heating bills, and programs such as weatherization and Head Start for children. More on Inter-Lakes community action agency programs.

Northeast South Dakota Community Action Program
Address is 104 Ash Street East
Sisseton, SD 57262
Call (605) 698-7654
Counties include Beadle, Brown, Day, Edmunds, Faulk, Hand, Marshall, McPherson, Spink, Roberts, Campbell, Sully, Walworth, Potter, Hyde, Hughes, and Stanley.





Rural Office of Community Services, Inc.
Main address is 214 Main Street
Lake Andes, SD 57356-0070
Call (605) 487-7634
this non-profit supports Aurora, Bon Homme, Brule, Charles Mix, Clay, Davison, Douglas, Gregory, Hanson, Hutchinson, Jerauld, Lincoln, Sanborn, Turner, Union, and Yankton County.

Western South Dakota Community Action, Inc.
1844 Lombardy Drive
Rapid City, South Dakota 57703
Call (605) 348-1460 for intake
Counties - Bennett, Butte, Custer, Fall River, Jackson, Harding, Lawrence, Meade, Pennington, Dewey, Haakon, Ziebach, Corson, Stanley. This is the main non-profit in the state. A number of resources are administered including LIHEAP, emergency financial assistance, and a food pantry.


By Jon McNamara














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