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Washington County Maryland Community Action Council assistance programs.

Many of the assistance programs available in Washington County are provided by the Community Action Council, or CAC. The organization is the leading non-profit agency for the region and they provide help to the working poor and low income. Information on the services administered are below.

Financial assistance with a focus on housing in Washington County Maryland

Addressing housing needs is a goal, and there may be emergency funds available for paying rent as well as utility bills. They also run Supportive Housing Program and offer other support. The agency can also help the less fortunate with their food needs, provide referrals to transportation, and other help to the less fortunate in Washington County.

The non-profit Crisis Assistance Services begin with an assessment done by a case manager. Once eligibility for any form of financial aid has been established, the case manager determines which resources are appropriate for the individual. Some of what may be available is below.

Assistance may be provided for paying rent in cases of court eviction, avoidance or reversal of utility termination, or the provision of first month’s rental payment. Many people struggling with housing also need other support, so the agency can also address a household’s insufficient access to food. In cases where CAC is unable to meet all of a client’s needs, the agency will furnish information about and referrals to other community service organizations.

Washington Community Action Council also offers a wide variety of programs to help residents of the region who are struggling with housing issues, such as homelessness or lack of affordable apartments. The organization will help people with making the transition into permanent housing, or help them apply for section 8 vouchers. Applicants are required to undergo on-going case management as they participate in any of the grant based housing assistance programs, including those listed below.

The state of Maryland Rental Allowance Program (RAP) provides approximately six months of subsidies to households dealing with crisis situations. The funding will vary, with time period and dollar amounts based on family size and income level. The goal is to prevent evictions from occurring in Washington County Maryland.

 

 

 

All clients will need to go through Family Self-Sufficiency. This is for individuals that are participating in County Section 8 or RAP, and they will be eligible for this support from CAC. While working with the case manager, the client will have the opportunity to save money that will allow them to purchase a home, pay the deposit, or maybe buy an automobile upon exiting the program.

Housing Counseling is when the tenant or low income applicant will get help in transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing. Services from Washington County CAC may include information and referrals, housing search and placement assistance, and one year of follow up case management services. There is also information on, and tips for finding low income housing. This will often be combined with Service Linked Housing, which focuses on the creation of a budget.

The Supportive Housing Program from Washington County Community Action Council provides disabled, eligible single, and homeless individuals with rental subsidies, intensive case management and affordable permanent housing.

CAC also operates several transitional housing units and low income apartments in Washington County for the purpose of providing temporary accommodations for formerly homeless families. While in transitional housing, the family works on goals and objectives for working toward increasing their income and gaining stability. Participants may end up moving into the rehabilitated properties that community action is involved in administering.

Housing placement is for both tenants and homeowners. Staff from CAC assist eligible low income renters or potential home buyers with finding affordable properties to rent or buy. They also help  homeowners with health and safety-related repairs to their homes; and households with free energy saving improvements to help reduce heating bills and cooling costs, and this can include weatherization.

Providing utility bill help is also a focus of the community action agency. Many hardworking Washington County Maryland families are experiencing difficulty with energy costs and are too often faced with heating crises. There are a number of programs to help minimize the crises and manage costs, such as the following.

 

 

 

 

Maryland Energy Assistance, or MEAP, is grant funding from the state. Any funds are designated to be paid directly to fuel suppliers or utility companies on the customer’s behalf, and they can help keep the heat on among other things.

OHEP - Office of Home Energy Programs is another option. This will provide both homeowners and renters with financial assistance for paying utility bills, minimizing or eliminating crisis situations, and actually making home energy costs more affordable.

EUSP - Electric Universal Service Program can pay both old and current bills. This is another form of emergency financial assistance with paying electric bills for eligible customers.

A program known as the Housing Rehabilitation Loan provides safety and health related repairs to the homes of income-eligible homeowners living outside of the Hagerstown city limits. Many seniors and disabled benefit from this. Similarly, the Weatherization Program provides free energy-efficient improvements for eligible households. Typical measures may include repairing the heating system, sealing the dwelling against air leaks, or making other changes to help reduce heating and cooling costs. Or find other organizations for loans.

Community Action Council food and transportation services

The community action agency is the issuing organization for the Washington County Food Bank Card Program, which provides vouchers and assistance to clients. Cards will be passed out to participants, and they can be used at most once per month in exchange for free food or groceries at CAC’s pantry or one of the other participating Washington County food banks. Any forms of help are passed out as a same-day, first come and served, and an appointment is needed. There is also information on, and applications for, SNAP food stamps public aid in Maryland.

To help meet the need for a more coordinated human service transportation network, with a focus on the disabled and seniors, the non-profit established CAC’s Community Action Transit Program (CAT). All vehicles that offer this service are wheelchair accessible, with plenty of seating capacity.

The Washington County Community Action Council may coordinate transportation to work, hospitals, or medical appointments for the disabled, elderly and low-income citizens of the county that have no other access to a ride.

Contact information for community action in Washington County Maryland

For more information on the non-profit’s services, the Washington County Community Action Council can be reached at 101 Summit Ave., Hagerstown, Maryland 21740. The main number is 301-797-4161.

 

By Jon McNamara

 

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