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St. Joseph County Michigan assistance programs.

Housing, rent, property taxes, and utility assistance

The Community Action Agency of South Central Michigan, Inc. (phone (269) 965-7766) has received a wide variety of federal government “stimulus” funding. The financial assistance is available to help eligible households of people who live in St. Joseph county Michigan with paying for property taxes, funds to be used for rent/mortgage arrearages, and utilities and heating bill aid. The primary purpose of these federal government funds is to help low to moderate income residents, and other qualified individuals avoid eviction, foreclosure, and/or utility shutoff or disconnection.

The Centreville and St Joseph Salvation Army (phone 269/651-4275) runs several programs as well. They provide assistance to low income and other qualified individuals. Get help with such expenses as rent help, housing counseling, information on government programs, free food and pantries, and access a wide variety of other assistance programs.

The social services can also include basic needs. There may be Christmas toys from Adopt a Family as well as free hot meals served. The thrift store can also be used to shop for everything from clothing to furniture. When the social workers from the Salvation Army can’t help, they offer referrals to loans, public aid and other assistance. Click here.

Government Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP)

This program will assist applicants with providing them up to a 30-day supply of primary fuel, electric bill and water bill assistance. Clients of the program must show proof of all household income, they need to have received a shut off notice, provide payment history, regular monthly bill, and they must receive a decision notice from the Department of Human Services. Call the Community Action Agency at (269) 965-7766.

Food pantries and soup kitchens - These are also available to residents. There are not only groceries (such as soup, rice, peanut butter, and more), but most of the emergency food pantries also either have clothing closets or thrift stores located on site. This allows them to pass out clothing or free winter coats to kids. Many also provide holiday food baskets and small toys during Christmas. Find St. Joseph County Michigan free food pantries.




Free legal aid and consultations

Call lawyers at Legal Aid of Western Michigan at 616/774-0672. The firms is partly funded by the St. Joseph County United Way as well as Legal Services Corporation, which is a federal government agency. They are one of the top funded agencies and firms that are located in Western Michigan, and attorneys have provided free legal assistance and aid to low income persons and Seniors in non-criminal, non-fee generating matters. Get free legal help in such matters as foreclosures, rent evictions, utility disconnections, consumer debt issues, and other cases.

Weatherization programs and home repairs

The local community action agency ((269) 965-7766) also offers several housing programs, such as weatherization, home repair programs, and Home Rehabilitation. The specifics include:

  • Weatherization services which help people save on their heating and energy bills and the updates may include refrigerator replacement, attic/wall insulation, caulking, venting, weather-stripping, minor roof and foundation repair, glass replacement, and door repair/replacement.
  • HOME Rehabilitation program - Provides major home repairs, with maximum value of up to $25,000 to houses in the immediate area. In addition, another component provides home rehabilitation and emergency housing repairs for those families and individuals living in St. Joseph County and who meet the 80 percent of median income guidelines. Rehabilitation for homes is limited to $10,000 for lead remediation and $25,000 in renovations.




By Jon McNamara

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