As April comes to a close, so does National County Government Month. This year's theme "Counties THRIVE" demonstrates how counties help to improve people’s lives every day. Linn County has many programs and initiatives in place to help residents thrive, including Linn County General Assistance.
Linn County General Assistance, a division of Linn County Community Services, provides financial assistance with rent and utility bills for Linn County residents who meet eligibility criteria and are experiencing financial crisis. General Assistance also provides burial assistance, and often acts as a liaison to connect clients with other organizations when needed. The following true story reflects the collaborative effort of General Assistance and other community resources to meet the needs of a community member:
General Assistance (GA) recently received a call from a local landlord stating that they had a pregnant tenant with a 3-year-old child living in a unit with no electricity. This tenant recently became unemployed and was now two months behind in rent. The landlord had delivered groceries to try to assist for a few days, but was concerned that the young family was living without heat and wanted to help, so the landlord contacted General Assistance.
GA made contact with the tenant and identified that her needs were greater than what GA could meet; however, the General Assistance team discussed possible options and helped the client navigate getting access to other available resources. GA helped her complete a LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) application over the phone and the landlord assisted with getting signatures and other required documents from the client. HACAP was able to immediately restore her electricity and process the LIHEAP application for payment of the past due bill.
General Assistance then connected the client to Waypoint who linked her with a resource that paid six months of full rent – two months arrears and four months forward, which would allow her to recover from giving birth before returning to work. Through effective collaboration and keeping in mind what’s best for the client and best use of available funds, General Assistance was able to help meet this resident’s needs and connect her to other community resources without using any GA funds.
“I am extremely proud of the General Assistance team. We pride ourselves on providing a high-level of customer service and doing whatever we can to meet the needs residents. This story is a great demonstration of this work that the GA team does every day,” said Linn County Community Outreach & Assistance Director Ashley Balius. “We are so fortunate in Linn County to have other community agencies that we work closely with and can count on them to collaborate and find solutions for residents. This includes many of our Linn County landlords who, like the one in this story, are going above and beyond to their tenants stay stably housed in their units. Taking the time to listen to residents, understand their needs, and assist in what will best meet those needs is what really makes a difference.”
General Assistance is proud to be a place where residents can access multiple area resources, and continues to search for ways to enrich services to help meet the needs of the Linn County community. To learn more about the services offered by General Assistance and other resources available through Linn County Community Services, visit our website.