Wateree Community Actions agency financial assistance.

A wide variety of self-sufficiency and emergency assistance programs are available from the Wateree Community Actions. While resources are limited, the non-profit community action agency works to help the less fortunate, unemployed, and working poor make it through a financial challenge and regain stability.

Some of the services from the agency include transitional housing and assistance for basic needs, such as food, utilities, and more. Case managers from Wateree Community Actions also coordinate education and job placement, such as Head start. The organizations provides its services to Richland, Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee, and Sumter County South Carolina.

The US Department of Health and Human Services, Wateree Community Actions, and the state of South Carolina are all involved in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This provides both regular and emergency financial assistance to households, with a focus on seniors, families with children, or the disabled. Grants can help people from counties such as Richland meet their home heating and/or cooling bills. The amount of assistance from LIHEAP depends on a household's income and its total energy costs. It also helps keep homeowners safe as they will not need to rely on alternate heating or cooling methods.

GEAP - General Emergency Assistance Program assists income qualified households with paying for emergencies such as utility bills, rental costs, food, clothing, and medical services. In some cases a loan may be issued as part of the GEAP resource.

Transitional housing from WCAI is known as Project Trans-Aid. This is a service that is for the longer term and/or chronically homeless families with children and other individuals. Some clients may be domestic abuse homeless victims or homeless veterans. The community action agency was created to help homeless individuals and families transition out of being homeless into stable, affordable, standard housing. A long term goal is homeownership.

The Wateree Community Actions program can last up to 24 months. It provides a place to stay while they work with a case manager towards employment and self-sufficiency. The participant is responsible for the rent and utility deposit as well as monthly energy bill payments. Participants are required to pay rent and utilities as part of the transitional housing from Project Trans-Aid.




Once they are ready to leave the program, get help in finding, moving into, and paying the security deposits and rent on a new apartment. Other services available as part of this include budgeting, education, improving employability skills, credit counseling, life skills development, counseling, and other referral services. It is offered across the territory, including in Sumter, Lee, Richland and other towns.

CSBG - Community Services Block Grant is what funds many of these financial assistance programs and self-sufficiency tools. Using government grants, the agency coordinates education, nutrition, free health care employment, emergencies, housing assistance and more. They are listed below and above.

Youth Leadership and Employment helps teenagers and youth in the region, such as Sumter and Richland, increase their educational ability and job opportunities. Among other things, they are taught employability skills and encouraged toward attending college or some form of post-secondary education. Work with Wateree Community Actions (WCAI) on career planning and work experience and more.

Another resource is the Academic Camp, which is for students in grades 6-8. This program is a short term academic remediation program focusing on writing, reading and mathematics.

Health and Nutrition is also funded by Community Services Block Grant. This particular service from WCAI offers free or low cost health screenings for individuals at-risk. There are also personal hygiene kits for needy households along with increasing health awareness.





School readiness from Head Start is for children ages birth to 5 years of age. There are also social services offered for their parents too. Some of the main components of this Wateree Community Actions and federal government program are the following.

  • Migrant Head Start helps toddlers, infants and pre-schoolers. There are sessions in both Clarendon and Florence (Lake City area) counties. Many immigrants and children of farm workers qualify.
  • The so called regular, Pre-School Head Start Program – is located across Clarendon, Richland, Kershaw, Lee, and Sumter counties.
  • The last option is the Early Head Start Program. This component is for infants and toddlers in the region.

Save money on utility bills from the Weatherization Assistance Program. This South Carolina and federal program provides free home weatherization assistance through the application of a wide range of energy conservation measures. It is for selected single housing dwellings, including even mobile homes, of low-income families, particularly disabled, elderly and homes with young children.

Through the use of several different types of diagnostic testing, the Wateree community action agency may pay for caulking and/or installing insulation, replacement/repair of windows and doors, air sealing, and the installation of compact fluorescent lamps. Some homes reduce their utility bills by up to 20% and save hundreds of dollars per year.

For more details on any of these programs or for referral or intake, stop by 2712 Middleburg Drive. Columbia, South Carolina, call (803) 807-9811.



By Jon McNamara

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