The Family Service Center emergency programs.
Providing support across Fresno County, the charity known as the Family Service Center helps people overcome their hardships and gain stability. During the same time, there may be emergency funds for expenses ranging from rent to utility bills. A key focus is on preventing hunger as well, especially for children and seniors, so the charity can help with this need as well.
The main programs available are below. They range from homeless prevention and applications to ESG grants to basic home repairs. Staff from the agency can also help low income families with applying for government aid and benefits such as WIC or SNAP food stamps as well.
The Family Service Center provides various homeless and eviction services to assist families or individuals. The assistance is focused on residents that are facing homelessness because of eviction, bankruptcy, family relationships such as a divorce, foreclosure, fire or other natural disaster. There are staff, including some that specialize on housing, that help customers.
They can first of all help them apply for emergency money for back rent or other expenses, and also match their needs to available housing in the area. While limited, if an applicant meets the income guidelines and if resources allow, some residents may be eligible for assistance in paying past due rent in order to prevent an eviction or assistance with a security deposit to find more affordable living accommodations.
The counseling from the team also includes a financial analysis that provides the clients guidelines for accessing affordable housing, whether it is for an apartment or home. There is also advice on how to estimate utility bill costs, and some advice is given to people and finding rental cost data for the local Fresno community.
Since the resources are so limited, many tenants or homeowners may be referred to federal programs such as Emergency Solution Grant. It works to both prevent homelessness, or rehouse people into transitional housing and then eventually a new apartment. This is an annual program that runs from time to time, and non-profits may or may not have funds from it.
Home Repair services are provided to the very low income and who have some type of exceptional hardship. The assistance tends to be for owner-occupied dwellings that are in need of basic safety or health repairs. While in some cases, volunteers from the region will do the work, in other cases referrals are given to affordable financing and low interest loans. Priority for any type of health or safety repair is given to persons with disabilities as well as seniors.
Food and Nutritional Needs are met throughout the greater Fresno region. There are many groups, both non-profits and private businesses, that raise money and hold food drives in the area. The programs offer help to families in need, and many pantries focus on low-income households.
Staff can also refer clients to federal or state of California benefits. These were mostly created to ensure that families do not go hungry, and some of the more common options are as follows.
- WIC – Free food and formula is for infants and children under the age of 5. Their mothers, including single parents, can also benefit from the program.
- SNAP food stamps – This is the most widely used program in Fresno, and families that meet very low income guidelines can get vouchers to shop at a grocery store.
- Other options include Meals on Wheels for senior citizens, free school lunches, and more.
Enrollment for these benefits is located at the Resource Center. Staff can help families in Fresno apply for CalFresh, Medical care, and similar entitlements. This only tends to be for the very low income.
Economic Self-Sufficiency will empower low-income families as well as the unemployed. Clients will benefit from education, skills and resources necessary to achieve and maintain long term self-sufficiency without any future need for cash welfare subsidies. It addresses all financial needs that a client may have.
One tool to meet this goal is a computer lab. Clients can use the site for free, and the lab will provide internet access for resume preparation, conducting job search, income and work support, homework and studying and more.
Case management from Family Service Center addresses the root causes that keep people in poverty, so it addresses lack of job skills or education. The goal is to end a cycle of poverty that may have existed in the family. So clients can enroll into budgeting workshops, find how to get access to safe reliable transportation, and locate employment that pays a family-sustaining wage.
For referrals to these are other resources, dial (559) 233-0138.