We’ve uncovered new low income programs that can help you get more food, get better access to doctors and so much more! From $15,000 utility grants to new homeownership programs to free pet food, you don’t want to miss these new low income resources!
Nationwide, there have been some major updates to helpful low income programs. Let’s talk about what this means for you.
Free Food Programs
Many people are familiar with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps. However, there are other programs that can help you, too!
The Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program are two separate programs that do similar things: they provide free vouchers that can be redeemed for free food at your local farmers market. FMNP serves WIC families, including pregnant/postpartum women and children under the age of five. The SFMNP serves seniors who are at least 60 years old.
Many of the markets that offer Double Up benefits for SNAP will also double the value of your FMNP and SFMNP benefits. This is a great way to get twice as much food for free! Find your local Double Up markets.
Free Online Urgent Care
Molina Medicaid coverage includes free online urgent care access in most (if not all) states! This service provides 24/7 access to doctors through Teladoc. The average wait time is only 10 minutes, appointments are about 20 minutes, and they can send prescriptions to your local pharmacy. It’s amazing!
If you want to try this, you need to make sure that you have Medicaid through Molina. There are many different companies that offer Medicaid plans, so yours may be through a different provider.
If you don’t have a Molina plan, you can get low-cost access to the same Teledoc service through our partnership with CareUltima. I’ve used this service myself and it is so convenient. It took me less than three minutes to speak to a doctor and I had a prescription within the hour. I highly recommend it!
Over the last 10 years, I’ve discovered that the most helpful low income programs are usually the local ones. That’s why I scour the headlines every week to find new programs, laws and benefits in your area!
In Alabama, Mobile has announced a new home ownership program called Homeownership Provides Equity or HOPE. This program will help Mobile County residents who receive Section 8 get the change to own their own homes.
Basically, the city is going to provide a mortgage for a new home on an empty lot in one of the city’s neighborhoods. The mortgage will carry a 2% interest rate, which is far lower than the market rate right now. The resident will use the voucher to pay the mortgage to the city. Residents will not pay more than 30% of their income toward the mortgage. Once the mortgage is paid off, it’s theirs to keep!
There will be no down payments required but residents will be able to use a down payment assistance grant to help pay down the mortgage.
Anyone in Mobile County who receives Section 8 can apply for this program. However, it appears that only about 75 homes will be built through this program so you need to apply fast!
Contact your housing authority case manager to apply.
In California, the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program has been expanded. According to Bakersfield Now, the program no longer requires people to be past-due on their bills and they are now offering up to $15,000 per household. It used to be only $2,000 per household. It is not clear if this expansion is just for the Bakersfield area or if it’s statewide. Either way, you will need to call 211 or visit your local Community Action Partnership for details.
Also in California, Bay Area transit leaders are planning to introduce a toll reduction program in Alameda County. This would reduce the tolls charged to low income drivers on Interstate 880. The tolls would be discounted for about 18 months, and the discount would depend on how many people are in the vehicle. It would be a discount of 50% for one person, 75% for two people, and no toll would be charged at all to vehicles with at least three occupants. In order to qualify, you would need to earn 200% of the federal poverty or less, which is about $60,000 a year for a family of four.
Also in California, a new low income housing complex opened in Palm Springs that provides housing for seniors and people who have previously been homeless. The property called Cathedral Palms has 224 affordable units for low income seniors who are at least 55 years old. Of those units, 68 are set aside for seniors who were previously homeless.
In Colorado, a new bill has been introduced that would cap income requirements for renters. The new bill would make it so that landlords cannot require tenants to make more than twice the amount of rent.
Many landlords require renters to make three times the rent, which is insane and leaves many low income families unable to get housing. For example, the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Denver is $1,720, which means someone has to make at least $62,000 or so in order to rent that apartment… and a lot of people just don’t make that much.
“It would be great if none of us paid more than 30% of our income on housing. But that’s not reality. That’s not where wages are. That’s not where housing is. And so when wages and housing are not matching up, something has to be done.”Senator Faith Winter
This is massively important and I hope this is something that will take off in other states as well.
In Georgia, a program called re:loom is helping refugees, low income residents, and unhoused people in Decatur. This program provides a paid, on-site job training program with complete health care coverage and more! The workers repurpose old uniforms and other textiles into handwoven products like laptop bags, rugs, pillows, pet accessories and more.
Also in Georgia, the city of Savannah is working toward converting the old Coastal Empire Fairgrounds property into an affordable housing apartment complex for seniors! The development is still in its early stages, but interested seniors should follow the city government’s pages to learn more about when the complex will be accepting applications.
In Idaho, Boise’s Nurse-Family Partnership Program helps match new moms with nurses who can support them during their pregnancies and the first two years of their child’s life. The nurse spends up to an hour a week in the family’s home asking questions, coordinating services, and providing other assistance.
In Illinois, Amaren Illinois customers may be able to get a free Google Nest Thermostat when they order it from the Amaren Marketplace before April 26… but you need to act fast.
We’ve also put together a list of all the organizations that can help you pay your electric bills in Illinois.
In Indiana, a new bill will increase the income limits for the TANF program over the next few years. It also increases the amount of assistance available to people who receive TANF and makes pregnant women eligible to get these benefits.
However, the first eligibility increases will not take effect until July 2025. The bill has passed the state legislature and is waiting for the governor’s signature.
In Kentucky, we’ve added a post about the Kentucky Double Dollars program.
In Maine, the Farm Fresh Rewards program is undergoing major changes. If you have paper vouchers for free produce, you need to use them by April 31 or they will be invalid. That’s because the new point-of-sale discount system is taking effect on May 1st!
We have the information on this and other Double Up programs in Maine.
In Maryland, we’ve assembled a list of Double Up providers.
In Minnesota, the Brainerd Dispatch has reported that the USDA has funding available to help low income residents purchase homes in rural areas.
The Direct Home Loan program provides incredible financing terms. You do NOT need a down payment and your interest rate could be as low as 1%. This is an incredible opportunity, if you’re interested in buying a rural home. The USDA typically defines rural as an area with 35,000 people or less.
The USDA can also provide funding to help low income homeowners with repairs, such as roof repairs, plumbing repairs, and furnace replacements. You will need to contact a USDA Rural Development Housing Specialist in your area for details.
In Missouri, Jerusalem Farm is providing home repair services for Northeast residents. Their latest program, called Empower the Northeast, provides solar panels to low income homeowners at no cost. The program expects to help 20 households later this year.
In New Hampshire, the state just announced additional LIHEAP funding for the four agencies that are distributing the most. The last day to apply for assistance is April 30th, but there is still funding available so if you live in New Hampshire and would like help with your utilities, please contact your local Community Action Council right away.
In North Carolina, Mitchell County Animal Rescue has launched a new Feeding Pets Project that will provide free pet food for low income families, especially veterans and seniors on fixed incomes. If you live in this area and need pet food assistance, please call the Rescue at 828-765-6952.
Also in North Carolina, Duke Energy and the city of Charlotte are planning to invest more than $5 million to improve the energy-efficiency of low income housing. The pilot program will begin in Mecklenburg, Guilford and Forsyth counties.
Also in North Carolina, Governor Cooper has proposed spending $160 million on affordable housing. This would include $25 million set aside to create affordable senior rental units and other senior services like emergency home repairs and disability modification grant programs.
In Oregon, we’ve compiled a list of all the agencies that can help you pay your electric bills. This goes way beyond just LIHEAP – we’ve found churches and charities and all sorts of resources that can help you if you’re in a crisis.
In Rhode Island, officials broke ground for a new low income housing unit in East Providence this week. The new unit will include 16 one and two bedroom apartments, including three that are specifically set aside for youth who are transitioning out of foster care.
The new unit will be called the Residences at Riverside Square and the units are expected to be available in early 2024, so make sure to follow their organization for application instructions as the year goes on.
We have a lot of news for Washington today.
First, the Seattle Human Services Department has announced open enrollment for the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. This program gives seniors $80 in free farmers market produce every year. They expect to provide these cards to more than 10,000 eligible seniors, so please claim yours right away.
Several bills aimed at helping low income residents have recently passed in Washington State.
HB 1784 is designed to provide hunger relief by funding food banks, supporting senior meals, and more. This has passed the state legislature and is waiting for the governor’s signature.
Another bill, HB 1355, gives low income seniors and people with disabilities more assistance with their property taxes, which helps them stay in their homes as property taxes rise.
In West Virginia, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that LIEAP applications will open on April 24 and close on April 28. That only gives you four days to apply for this assistance, so you need to mark this on your calendars.
You can apply at your local DHHR office, community action agency or senior center that is operated by the Area Agency on Aging. There is also an online application.
In conclusion, this week’s low-income news update highlights several positive developments for those facing financial hardship. The expansion of FMNP, SFMNP, and Double Up Food Bucks provides greater access to fresh produce for low-income individuals and families. The availability of new programs for low-income homebuyers and new low-income housing units offers affordable housing options, while new state laws provide greater access to healthcare, social services, and higher wages. We hope that these updates provide valuable information and support to those who need it most.