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New Low Income Relief Programs & Updates for May 2023

New Low Income Relief Programs & Updates for May 2023

As the government continues to debate the debt ceiling, many low income Americans are concerned for the benefit programs they rely on. In this week’s low income news update, we’ll discuss where you can turn for support during this difficult time and how to get assistance from other programs.

Nationwide Low Income News

The biggest news dominating the headlines this week is about the debt ceiling debate. However, as that situation is changing by the hour and we do not have the capacity to live-update this post, we will not speak to the status of that issue at this time.

Get Support 24/7

If you are struggling with your mental health, you can get support by calling a warmline. Things like the debt ceiling debate can exacerbate anxiety, depression, and sensations of hopelessness or despair.

There are many different warmlines that you can call but in this post, I will mention only two:

  • Friendship Line: 800-971-0016.
  • NAMI warmline: 800-950-6264.

These lines are staffed by trained peer-support personnel. They may not be able to solve your problem completely but talking to someone can still be very helpful.

Keys to Progress

The Keys to Progress vehicle giveaway is open for applications – and the application period will remain open until August 4, 2023.

In order to be eligible, you must be an active military member or a military veteran with a household income that is at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level. If you own a vehicle, that vehicle must be presenting you with some sort of hardship. There are other requirements as well, but you can find all that information on their website.

To request an application, send an email to [email protected]. Don’t forget to check out our helpful guide as well! 

WIC Online Ordering

The WIC program is making progress on their online ordering pilot. This week, the National Grocers Association submitted data to the USDA about how to make the program work better for independent grocers.

I’m excited to see the USDA extend online ordering for WIC benefits because it will make those benefits so much easier to use. 

Medicaid Alternatives

The New York Times has reported that hundreds of thousands of people have started losing their Medicaid coverage over the last few months. Many of the people who have had their benefits cut still qualify but were removed for procedural reasons, like failing to turn in paperwork.

If you lost your benefits, please check to see if you still qualify. If you do qualify, reapply. If you don’t qualify, here are some free and low-cost health care alternatives.

Litigation Practice Group Collapses

At least 50,000 people nationwide have been impacted by the collapse of a popular California debt resolution firm called Litigation Practice Group, which was supposed to help them negotiate their debts and improve their credit scores.

Some of these people paid hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars for services that were never performed or that had very little value. It turns out this organization was actually run by a disbarred lawyer who had lost his law license for stealing almost $400,000 from his clients.

If you’ve been working with Litigation Practice Group, please check your bank statements since some clients have said they were double- or even triple-charged for their services. You may also want to join the Facebook group called Litigation Practice Group Updates (formerly Taking Down LPG), where former clients are getting together to figure out their next moves. 

If you are struggling with debt, I recommend contacting our affiliate CareConnect USA’s debt counselors by calling 866-530-9949. The Debt Relief Helpline has non-profit credit counselors who can contact your creditors, reduce your payments, and help you tackle your debts.

Local Low Income News

Today’s local news updates cover California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

California 

A new senate bill called the Homeless Housing Obligation Act would require cities and counties to provide housing for homeless individuals. However, city and county leaders across the state are raising alarm about this because it is expected to cost… a lot. Lodi City Manager Steve Schwabauer said the city would have to file bankruptcy if the bill passed. 

Yolo County Community Services Action Board will be hosting a hearing on June 13 to seek input on their low income services for the next year. You can see a draft of their plan at yolocounty.org/CSAB. I only reviewed it briefly but it looks like housing and employment are the two biggest issues they intend to tackle. Yolo County residents can either attend the event or email [email protected] to submit feedback and opinions on that plan. 

The Assistance League of Coachella Valley is providing clothing for more than 4,000 children for the upcoming school year. Their Operation School Bell program works with all three school districts in the area and every participating student will receive three shirts, a pair of shoes, six pairs of socks, six pairs of underwear and hygiene supplies. 

Florida

In Florida, the state will hopefully get a boost to affordable housing soon! A new law called the Live Local Act is expected to create more affordable housing opportunities by providing additional tax breaks, funding, and other perks to developers who build affordable multifamily developments. The law will take effect July 1. 

A new grant in Pensacola City will allow low income students to participate in afterschool programs at the city’s four community centers for free! This program will cover children between Kindergarten and 5th Grade who qualify for free or reduced price student meals. 

Also, a new Pet Food Bank is supporting low income families in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Families who register with the Farmhouse Animal and Nature Sanctuary can pick up pet food and supplies. You will need to provide your name, address, phone number, pet name and pet’s weight. Each household can register up to three pets. You can register online using this online form.

Illinois

In Illinois, the Adopt a Grandparent Garden Program provides fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers to local seniors in the McHenry County area. There aren’t a lot of details on how to enroll in the program, so I recommend reaching out to the Fisher Outreach Group for details if you’re interested. 

Kansas

Kansas has decided to increase the value of their SFMNP senior market vouchers from $35 per year to $50 per year!

You can pick up those vouchers between June 1 and September 15 from your local distribution site, which is usually going to be an Area Agency on Aging, Senior Center, or other nonprofit in your area!

Kentucky

In Kentucky, registration is still open for the SummerWorks program in Louisville. This program supports the city’s youth by helping them match with summer jobs. Low income students are prioritized for job matches. There are 2,000 jobs available and applications will only be accepted until June 2nd, so it’s important to apply right away. You can apply at Summerworks.org.

Michigan

In Michigan, a new program called Michigan Water Assistance Through Efficiency and Repairs, or MI-WATER, is available to help you with your water bills. Applications for Phase 1 are open.

You may be eligible if you are a residential customer in Michigan, with an income at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level. You will need to provide a copy of the past due water bill and proof that you are the one responsible to pay it. You can apply online at thawfund.org. 

Missouri

In Missouri, over 600,000 children are still waiting for their summer EBT benefits from 2022. This is insane. The education department in the state has said that the benefits will be distributed “soon” but have not provided any sort of timeline for that.

The Missouri Independent has been following this matter closely and interacting with the state agency on behalf of parents who are still waiting, so I recommend following their news service for updates if you are still waiting for those benefits. 

Nevada

In Nevada, the school year has ended but students can still get free meals through the Summer Food Service Program. This program provides up to two nutritious meals per day for students who usually receive free or reduced price student meals. You can find a location near you by texting the phrase “Summer Meals” to 914-942-7744 or by looking online at nvsummermeals.com

New Mexico

In New Mexico, an organization called Silver Horizons is donating free food, pet food, and toiletries to low income seniors in Bernalillo County. In order to be eligible, you must be at least 50 years old and have a limited budget. There are three markets every month that offer these distributions and local news provider KRQE has the schedule on their website.. 

New York

In New York, two law firms have filed lawsuits against New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services based on a 2020 internal racial bias audit. The audit showed that the agency tends to “separate families and criminalize parents based on race.” The report found that ACS are more lenient with removals and reunifications when the parents are white. The hope is that the lawsuit will correct this discriminatory behavior. 

A program through Sustainable Finger Lakes hopes to install heat pumps in 50 mobile homes by the end of this year to assist with energy costs. The program is funded by a grant but may require the homeowner to pitch in some costs, it’s not immediately clear. You can contact the organization for details. 

Ohio

In Ohio, the first six tiny homes in the Bluff Street Village have been completed and are welcoming new residents. This village is building tiny homes that are just 400 square feet each for low income residents. The village is open to residents who earn less than $18,000 per year.

Those who make payments for seven years will be given the opportunity to become first-time homeowners through this program. The project is being managed by Larry Clark, a pastor at Monroe Street United Methodist Church. 

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority offers free bus service to people who are at least 65 years old or have a documented disability.

You must also have an income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. When you apply for this program, you’ll receive a Valid All Day pass that you can use to travel for free for two years. You can renew it at the end of the two-year period.

Unfortunately, you do have to pay a $10 administrative fee to apply… but that averages out to $5 per year for all your public transportation costs which is still a great savings overall. You can apply online at ripta.com

South Carolina

In South Carolina, Greenville County seniors can pick up free food vouchers at four distribution events in June. You must be at least 60 years old, live in Greenville County, and provide a photo ID to get these vouchers.

The events will be held on June 7 at the Simpsonville Activity & Senior Center, June 8 at the Travelers Rest City Hall, June 12 at the Berea Community Center and June 14 at the Senior Action center.

An authorized representative can apply on your behalf if you cannot go in person. 

Tennessee

In Tennessee, the city of Nashville is inviting low income teens to apply for a paid lifeguard position. Students will be paid $15 per hour to train and become a lifeguard. There are only 10 spots but they haven’t found enough participants, so please contact the Nashville Metro Parks and Recreation department if you’re interested. 

Texas

In Texas, a landmark Dallas hotel called the Cabana Hotel is being renovated into affordable housing. The rental assistance wait list for Orange County, Texas, will also open June 23 so be sure to apply if you’re looking for housing help in that area!

Summary

In the midst of the ongoing debt ceiling debate, it is crucial to highlight the various programs that continue to operate and accept applications, providing support and assistance to low-income individuals and families. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the national budget, these programs strive to ensure that essential services remain accessible. This week’s low-income news recap focuses on highlighting some of these programs, emphasizing their availability and the assistance they offer. Some of the programs we discussed include the Keys to Progress vehicle giveaway, affordable housing programs, pet food banks, and more.

Nicole is the owner and lead researcher for Low Income Relief. She has over 20 years of professional research and writing experience, and she has been solely dedicated to investigating low income topics for the last 10 years. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more. Her work has also been featured by Google for Publishers and other leading industry publications.

Laurie Taylor

Monday 2nd of October 2023

I really need information on housing assistance, car assistance, tags, insurance, maintenance and repairs for low income.

Catherine Marucci

Wednesday 4th of October 2023

Hi Laurie. You can find information here: Housing: https://lowincomerelief.com/get-housing-help/ Cars: https://lowincomerelief.com/free-cars/ Tags: https://lowincomerelief.com/need-financial-help-car-registration/ Insurance: https://lowincomerelief.com/save-on-insurance/ Car maintenance: https://lowincomerelief.com/free-car-repair-for-low-income-families/ Home repairs: https://lowincomerelief.com/free-home-repair-grants/