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Public assistance from Spokane County Community Services.

Very low income families can turn to Community Services for assistance. The county can provide applications to government benefits ranging from SNAP food stamps to energy bill help. A focus is on offering housing assistance, however there are also benefits for the unemployed, disabled, and others with more unique needs.

While the financial aid is targeted at very low income families or those facing poverty, almost anyone from the county can look into these programs. Or social workers can provide referrals as well, as the county can be an effective resource for information on non-profit agencies as well as local charity organizations.

Food stamps can be turned to for assistance in buying groceries. Other items such as perishable fruits, vegetables, meats, baby formula and more can also be bought with the vouchers, and most retailers in the county accept them.

The amount of public assistance provided to households as part of SNAP will very based on the applicant’s income, number of household members, and other factors. In addition, the household will still need to pay for the groceries on their own, but SNAP can help make their monthly bill a little more affordable.

TANF, also known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, is for very low income families that need support while they gain employment. It is combined with job programs such as Work First and others.

For those residents that are able to enroll into TANF that is offered by Community Services, they will receive some limited cash from the government. The public assistance can be used for paying bills for basic needs, such as electric, food, or rental expenses. TANF can even be used for health care costs.

Applications will need to be summited, and a number of conditions need to be met in Spokane County. This will include proof of income and expenses. The individual applying for TANF will need this for all household members as well.

Either credit or cash grants are used for paying utility bills, and these are offered as part of the LIHEAP - Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Department of Social and Health Services can provide intake for this, and when possible, low income households can get assistance for electric, natural gas, and other utility expenses.




Crisis LIHEAP is also available in Spokane, and this is for either homeowners or individuals that rent an apartment or home. This component is focused on stopping a disconnection of service, and the county will expedite the processing of applications in partnership with community action agencies.

All of the resources for utility bills will give priority status to senior citizens as well as the disabled in the region. A secondary focus is on families with young children, and the application period for public aid from LIHEAP will even be accelerated for these individuals.

Both public and temporary housing is located across Spokane County. There are designated programs for veterans as well as seniors or single parents with children. Guests of the centers will also receive information public aid such as TANF or food stamps, and those benefits can help them break the cycle of homelessness.

Rent help, including government grants, are part of the Spokane DSHS Housing and Essential Needs program. This will both prevent homelessness by offering aid and guidance to tenants, and also help pay a security deposit on a new low income home in the county.

Using federal government funding, One Stop job centers assist clients that are either unemployed or that are looking to start a new career. Most people that receive aid from DSHS will need to register for some type of employment programs, and in fact many are contingent on this. For example, a voucher for child care costs is only available for people that are working or in job training.

Other public aid may include child care vouchers to help subsidize the cost of day care. Health care can be addressed from Medicaid or county discount prescription cards. There are also applications to rent subsidies from HUD section 8 vouchers as well as extensive information on job placement and training services. Other support may include such federal government benefits including SSI disability applications or home health care for the elderly.





Social workers from the county can often provide referrals and/or help struggling families apply for these public aid programs and maybe even non-profit services. These are just some of the resources available at the Human Services department, either directly or by referrals.

The disabled in Spokane can get financial help from ABD, or the Aged, Blind or Disabled Cash Assistance Program. This will not only address basic needs around housing and food, but it can also provide referrals to medical providers in Spokane.

How to apply for public or government aid in Spokane County

For more information, dial 1-877-501-2233. The Department of Social, Community and Health Services is located at 312 W. 8th Ave, Spokane, WA 99204.

By Jon McNamara














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