California Grants Fund Golden State Public Programs

| August 9, 2013 | 0 Comments

California GrantsLike all states, California receives federal funding from the U.S. Government through large block grant allocations. It adds state funding to that money and provides social services to state residents through a comprehensive safety net for low-income families. Californians can turn to the state to get help to feed their family, provide heath care for their minor children and much more. Here we are providing a brief description of what each program does and where to apply to receive help from the State of California.

Federal funding from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is provided to low-income households in California through CalFresh. If you are looking for food stamps and trying to figure out where to apply for help, this is what that is now called in the State of California. Funds are distributed in the form of electronic debit cards that those participating in the program can use to purchase food for their families. Debit cards cannot be used to buy beer or cigarettes or other non-food supplies like paper towels. To see if you are eligible for CalFresh, visit the Department of Social Services website and review the program’s eligibility requirements. If you find you are eligible, the best way to apply is online using the e-benefits website. You may also contact DSS toll-free by calling 1-877-847-3663. If you prefer to apply in person, understand that each county handles CalFresh a bit differently. The California Association of Food Banks provides an online search to locate your nearest county welfare office. Search by zip code or by selecting your county on the interactive map. Each listing provides a telephone number and address for the office where you can apply for CalFresh.

California provides monthly assistance to needy families with children under the age of 19 through this public welfare program. Help is also available for pregnant women expecting their first child. Participants can receive both emergency short-term and ongoing long-term assistance under the program. You must have low-income and either be under-employed, unemployed or about to lose your job to be eligible for help. You must contact your county welfare department to apply for CalWORKs as the way the program is handled varies in each of California’s 58 counties including where you can apply online. The Department of Social Services website suggests using your phone book’s county government section to find out how to contact your local office. For further information or questions about this state program, contact DSS by calling 916-657-2128 or send an email to

Head Start
California Head Start is part of the nationally funded Head Start Program, providing low-income children from birth to age 5 with early childhood education. The program is focused on helping at-risk kids best prepare for the start of elementary school. Unlike the public school system, Head Start is not always available in every community. But to find out if there is a Head Start program in your area and to inquire about enrolling your child, use the Head Start locator on the Administration for Children and Families website.

Healthy Families
This is a low-cost health insurance program for California children under the age of 19 who are uninsured and not covered under Medi-Cal. It is available for low-income families and offered either for free or through low-cost premiums depending on income level. You can apply for Healthy Families by phone by calling 1-800-880-5305 between 8 AM and 8 PM Monday through Friday and between 8 AM and 5 PM on Saturdays. Or you can download the application from the website. If you need help filling out the application, you can request contact from a certified application assistant who will help you navigate the process. Call 1-888-747-1222 to find an enrollment entity in your area that will provide a certified application assistant.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance
The federal block grant from the Department of Health and Human Services funds the California Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Energy assistance is available in two ways. The Home Energy Assistance Program will provide a one-time financial payment to assist in paying for normal energy costs. Emergency assistance for those in crisis situations where having power disrupted can endanger the health of the home’s occupants can receive help through the Energy Crisis Intervention Program. To find out if you are eligible to receive either type of energy assistance, use the Department of Community Services & Development’s online eligibilty wizard. To apply for services in your local area, use this interactive county map to locate the office that handles energy assistance near you.

In California, Medi-Cal is the name for the state’s Medicaid health insurance program. It is a rather large program that provides a number of health care services and is funded through federal and state taxes. Medi-Cal is available to several types of low-income residents of California. These include families with minor children, pregnant women, seniors, disabled and kids in foster care. Medi-Cal also provides treatment to low-income patients with tuberculosis, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS. To apply for any service offered under Medi-Cal, you must visit your county social services office and complete a Medi-Cal application. For any questions, call the California Department of Health Services directly at 916-445-0553.

School Nutrition Programs
The California Department of Education provides several major school nutrition programs to ensure that low-income children receive good nutritious meals while attending California schools. The main programs are the School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program. These provide free or reduced meals to children from needy families during the school year. The Special Milk Program also provides milk to children in half-day programs, camps and day care facilities. And the Summer Food Service Program provides the same type of meal program that kids receive during the school year during the summer months through public and private nonprofit organizations. To inquire about and apply for any of these programs, contact your child’s school.

Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children
The federally funded WIC program is administered inside California by the Department of Public Health. The program assists low-income pregnant women and those with children up to age 5 with a variety of family support services. WIC provides funding to purchase nutritious foods and helps expecting mothers access quality health care. To find out if you are eligible to receive help under WIC, complete the WIC eligibilty assessment available on the DPH website. To apply, call 1-888-942-9675 or use the WIC agency search to find the local office that serves your area.

Unemployment Insurance
California provides a safety net to residents that become unemployed through no fault of their own through California Unemployment Insurance. To qualify for help you will have needed to have worked at some point in the past 12 to 18 months, be available for work and continue to look for employment while receiving benefits. If your claim is accepted, you may choose to receive your unemployment benefits by electronic debit card or by electronic payment. The fastest and easiest way to file a claim is online by using the Employment Development Department’s eApply4UI website. Watch this video tutorial for a detailed explanation of the application process. You may reach the agency by phone as well by calling 1-800-300-5616 but EDD representatives are only available Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 12 Noon.

Weatherization Assistance
California’s Weatherization Assistance Program is designed to help low-income families that own their own home bring down the cost of heating and cooling. Typically weatherization can cut energy costs by about 35% which can save around $400 a year. If you experience cold drafts in your home during the winter or have to run heating or air conditioning constantly, most likely you can benefit from home weatherization. To find out if you are eligible to receive help, use the Community Services and Development eligibility wizard to see if you meet program requirements. If you find you are eligible, visit the agency’s online service finder and select your county to find out where to apply locally. You may also call to inquire about weatherization toll-free at 1-866-675-6623.

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Category: Grants By States

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Kipp is the Contributing Editor for, covering sources of potential funding in the world of grants. His mission is to assist people like you by locating and sharing private, non-profit and government grants. Got a question or a tip on a neat grant? Connect with him now at Facebook Twitter

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