Division of Community Services Overview
Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) - CSBG is a block grant used to provide a range of services or activities designed to ameliorate the causes and effects of poverty. Such activities include attaining an adequate education, securing and retaining employment, nutrition, making better use of available income, obtaining and maintaining adequate housing, health services, achievement of self-sufficiency, community affairs, transportation and so forth. Through Community Action Agencies (CAAs) and Human Resource Agencies (HRAs), the Division of Community Services distributes CSBG funds to garner local resources and stimulate community participation into opportunities for self-sufficiency using the case management approach.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) - LIHEAP is DCS's most well-known and highly utilized program. LIHEAP provides financial assistance to eligible households to help pay the cost of home energy bills and other energy related services. Benefits vary depending on the intensity level and are based on the rating tool. Households may qualify for regular LIHEAP assistance and/or the Energy Crisis (emergency) Intervention Program (ECIP) for natural gas, wood, electricity, liquid petroleum propane/butane gas, and other energy related services. The allocation of funds to subgrantees is based on the percentage of poor households in each county compared with the state's poverty level according to the current census data.
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) - The Weatherization Assistance Program is designed to reduce energy costs for eligible clients by making their homes more energy efficient. Weatherization focuses on assisting primarily the elderly, disabled and low-income families with young children. Energy efficiency education is provided for each household weatherized. The priority measures that can be applied to each home are based on an energy audit of the client’s home. Weatherization crews install the most cost-effective, energy efficient measures, and address health and safety concerns, improve comfort and air quality.
Community Food and Nutrition Program (CF&N) - CF&N provides nutritional needs to low-income people in communities. Major accomplishments of this program include assistance for families and individuals to increase the amount of food available by their participation in the food share program throughout the state. The CF&N funds are used to purchase a variety of foods to create food pantries/food banks to meet the nutritional needs of eligible Mississippians.
Who is Eligible? Eligibility for CSBG is based on the client's willingness to achieve self-sufficiency and/or family stability. Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on the household's total annual gross income, asset test, and participation in case Management. The applicant household must be responsible for the energy cost and/or has the energy bill in his/her name. Eligibility for WAP & FC&N is based on total annual gross income, the number in the household, and region of the State. Eligibility is also based on the household's total annual gross income which must be equal to or less than 125% of the OBM poverty guidelines that are in effect.
How Much Assistance Will You Receive? CSBG benefits will vary depending on the need, the degree of responsibility, the results of the rating tool, compliance with the Case Management Plan and the household's total annual gross income. LIHEAP & WAP benefits will vary depending on the results of the rating tool, compliance with the Case Management Plan, and the household's total annual gross income. Case Management may not be required for elderly and disabled persons. CF&N benefits will vary depending on the number in the household, the degree of responsibility, the region of the State and the household's total annual gross income.
Where Do You Apply? Applications are taken at Community Action Agencies or Human Resource Agencies. All (82) counties have application sites where clients can apply. If you do not know your local agency, you may call the Community Services toll-free number, 1-800-421-0762 or local number, (601) 359-4768.
How Do You Apply? Contact your local Community Action Agency or local units of government (Rankin and Simpson Counties offer LIHEAP ONLY) to apply for LIHEAP, CSBG, WAP and CF&N. You will need proof of the monthly income for everyone in your household, a Social Security Number (SSN) for everyone in your household, and proof that you and/or your spouse is responsible for your utility bills, such as electric, and the cost of home energy bills, such as electric, gas, wood, kerosene, and other energy related services. Also, a statement from your landlord stating that your utility cost is not included in the rent (if renting) and that the applicant is responsible for home energy cost, and proof of home ownership or rental property is required.
If you are homebound and unable to go to you local agency to apply, contact that agency by telephone or letter. Arrangements will be made to take an application in your home or your designee may complete an application on your behalf. A statement from you authorizing that individual to complete an application on your behalf must be submitted at the time of the application process.
Contacts for Information and Assistance
Mississippi Department of Human Services
Division of Community Services