A low-income person is someone who earns less than the average for his area. Often this is not for want of effort, but rather because of circumstances beyond the person's control. Being a low-income earner makes it difficult to obtain basic needs or to develop yourself. For this reason, there are organisations that provide help to low-income earners.
The goals of assistance programs for low-income earners varies. Sometimes the goal is to stimulate economic conditions in the earner's community. Other times, the objective is to improve the quality of living for the recipient of the aid. Programs also may carry religious or moral connotations, particularly if funding comes from a church.
The assistance provided to low-income earners depends on the organisation that provides the help. Some programs such as the government Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, for example, are designed to provide only help for buying food. The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) provides rental assistance. Still other programs provide transportation, training, bill assistance or education. This means that you're more likely to find and get assistance if you can clearly define the specific needs you have and do searches based on those criteria.
Duration and Form of Help
Most help for low-income earners is designed to be temporary in nature. Some assistance is for a few months, for example, or is given as a one-time grant. To continue receiving funding, you may have to reapply. Most of the time, programs do not give you cash. Instead, they provide vouchers or pre-loaded cards good only at participating vendors, or they send funds to your vendor. Sometimes programs will provide cash as a way of reimbursing you for funds already paid; you must show your receipts for the majority of these cases. Occasionally, assistance may be in the form of the retail item you would have needed to buy, such as a warm coat or heater.
Who Provides Assistance
Help for low-income earners falls into two main categories. The first is assistance from the government. The second category is non-profit agencies like the Salvation Army. A third smaller category is funding from corporations; these businesses donate to charity and receive a tax write-off for their contribution. The smallest category is private individual donors.
Where to Find Assistance
The best place to find assistance for low income individuals is your local branch of the Department of Health and Human Services. They will be able to tell you about all of the government programs for which you qualify, including those from other government departments like the USDA or the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The next best option is to look on grants.gov, usa.gov, federalgrantswire.com and similar websites for low-income assistance. If you still have no luck, go to your local community centre and churches. Check your local publications for notices of local assistance programs from private donors or corporations as well -- your librarian can help you find these publications.