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Your Weekly Roundup of Help for Low Income Families: June 8, 2024

Your Weekly Roundup of Help for Low Income Families: June 8, 2024

Summer is here, but financial challenges never take a vacation. We’re bringing you the latest updates on programs and policies that could impact your wallet, from new food benefits for families to changes in utility assistance. Let’s dive in!

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Nationwide Low Income News

Let’s look at the latest financial news and resources impacting low-income individuals and families across the country. We’ll keep you updated on federal programs, policy changes, and nationwide initiatives aimed at improving financial well-being.

Summer EBT

Summer EBT, now called “SUN Bucks,” is a new federal program. This program will help families buy food for school-age children during the summer months.

Here’s the deal: families will receive $120 per eligible child to spend on groceries this summer. This money can be used to buy whatever EBT-eligible foods you need and want for your family, whether it’s fresh fruits and veggies, meat and dairy, pantry staples or even popsicles. 

Our team has assembled a detailed schedule of the Summer EBT deposits. Just check our Summer EBT Guide for details!

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ACP Program

The White House has announced the official end of the ACP program. However, many internet service providers have decided to offer a low-cost internet plan for $30 a month or less. These plans are high speed with no fees or data caps. Some of these plans will continue until the end of 2024, while others may continue indefinitely.

We’ve updated our list of Free & Discounted Internet Plans to include these new offers, so go check out that directory for details!

Direct File

Good news for taxpayers! The IRS is making their free online tax filing program, Direct File, permanent.

This program was tested in 12 states and saved people money and time on their taxes. Now, all 50 states can join so everyone will be able to file their taxes for free.

HUD Funding

Good news for people in public housing or receiving rental assistance! The Department of Housing and Urban Development is giving $44 million to programs that help people in low income housing become more financially independent. This could include things like helping people find better jobs, save money, or buy a home. There are already close to 1,000 programs across the country, and this funding will help even more people reach their goals.

Local Low Income News

Here’s your weekly roundup of local news and resources to help you make ends meet and thrive. We’ll cover everything from new assistance programs to updates on existing benefits, so you can stay informed and empowered.

California

The District 10 Community Market in San Francisco is now open. This is a free grocery store, where you can browse the aisles and select the groceries that you want. It’s amazing!

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In order to shop for free, you need to get a grocery card from one of the market’s partner nonprofits. TO get one, you’ll need to receive some form of public assistance and live in 94124, 94107, and 94134 zip codes. You also need to have a diet-related illness or have at least one child in your household.

Once you have your card, you can shop for free groceries once every two weeks.

Florida

Florida has been accused of mishandling funds for heating and cooling assistance. The US Department of Health and Human Services has asked the state to repay $700,000 that was misspent. Florida has stated that the allegations are not true.

Georgia

Columbus has launched a new program called the Homeowner Accessibility Rehabilitation Program. This program provides grants that help with the cost of repairing and improving your home. You could receive up to $30,000 in assistance! In order to be eligible, you must have a household income that is 80% or less of the Area Median Income. You can apply online.

Idaho

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher lottery is open in Boise City and Ada County! In order to be eligible, you must earn less than 50% of the Area Median Income, meet residency and household requirements.

You can apply online but you have to apply by June 27, 2024.

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Illinois

Champaign-Urbana’s Solidarity Gardens are offering free garden plots for low income gardeners. They even provide free tools and assistance to help you get started. There are 30 plots available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can request one online or in-person at the Cunningham Township Supervisor’s Office.

Indiana

If you live in Bartholomew County and need help with a legal problem but can’t afford a lawyer, there’s a free phone clinic on June 11th. You can talk to a lawyer who will give you advice and answer your questions. Just call Legal Aid at 812-378-0358 between noon and 2:00 pm to sign up. Then, a lawyer will call you back between 3:00 pm and 5:30 pm.

Iowa

The John Deere Scholars Program plans to provide scholarships for 60 low to middle income seniors in the Davenport area. The scholarships will cover 90% of the cost to attend school. To be eligible, seniors must take a college prep class. Of all the students who take the class, 20 students per year will be selected for scholarships.

Kentucky

The Metro Council in Louisville has approved funding to provide 65 free portable air conditioners to low income households. It appears the applications are being processed by the Association of Community Ministries. The air conditioners will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis to low income people who apply online between 8am on June 11 and 4pm on June 13th.

Michigan

Many areas in Michigan are offering a Water Affordability Program. This program can provide to $3,000 to help you restore your service, pay down past due bills or prevent shutoffs.

In order to qualify, you must have an income that is 200% or less of the Federal Poverty Level. You’ll need to contact your local Community Action Agency for details.

New York

New York State is giving money to families with lower incomes to help them make their homes more energy efficient. If you own a house or a small apartment building and your income isn’t too high, you might be able to get money to help pay for things like better insulation or new appliances. This program is called EmPower+. It can help you save money on your energy bills and make your home more comfortable. You can find out more and apply on the NYSERDA website.

North Carolina

The Gaston Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic will be renovated into a full-service veterinary hospital. The new clinic will include an X-ray machine, a surgical suite, room for dental work and more. The plan is to expand the low-cost veterinary services to include more comprehensive veterinary care.

Ohio

Ohio has decided to create an app to help manage the SFMNP program for seniors. This app is called Homegrown Benefits – for eFMNP. It’s available on the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. You will still need to apply online for SFMNP benefits each year in order to get your vouchers.

Oregon

If you use BIKETOWN for All to get around Portland for cheap, there are some important updates to know about.

First, they changed the eligibility requirements so that only people who participate in certain programs will qualify. If you already have BIKETOWN for All, you can keep using it until your current membership runs out.

Next, they’re changing the benefits effective June 11. Instead of unlimited free rides, the program will provide $10 in free riding each month. That’s about 200 minutes of riding. After that, it’ll cost 5 cents per minute.

Most people who use BIKETOWN for All won’t have to pay extra because they don’t ride more than 200 minutes a month.

Texas

El Paso residents may be able to get help repairing leaks in their home through a new program called AguaRepairs. This program can provide up to $4,000 in assistance to help you repair leaks in the mainline. If you get help from this program, you may also qualify for a $1,000 leak adjustment that could reduce your water bill as well. For details, you’ll need to visit El Paso Water’s website.

Washington 

Puget Sound Energy has received approval to start disconnecting people who have high past due balances again. The new rules will disconnect anyone who has had a high past-due balance for at least 90 days. Gradually, they will reduce the past-due balance limit to as little as $250.