Georgia

Assistance Programs, Local Agencies and Charities

Food  Housing  Cash Assistance  Bills  Health  Education  Employment

 

QUICK INFO BOX

  • Georgia Food Stamp Program  – Monthly food stamp benefits to low-income households to help pay for the cost of food, Call: 877-423-4746
  • Georgia Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)  – Monthly cash assistance program with an Employment Services component for Georgia low-income families with children under age 18, and children age 18 and attending school full-timeCall: 800-436-7442
  • Georgia Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) Program  – Designed to help Georgia low income families afford safe quality child careCall: 844-694-2347
  • Georgia PeachCare for Kids Program  – Offers free to low cost health insurance to uninsured, eligible children living in GeorgiaCall: 877-427-3224
  • Georgia Medicaid  – A health insurance program that provides medical and health-related services to eligible Georgia residents, Call: 800-436-7442
  • Georgia TeenWork Internship Program (GTIP))  – Provides valuable training and career preparatory opportunities for Georgia’s foster care youth 15-17 years of age with local businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies, Call: 404-463-7288
  • Georgia Health Insurance Premium Payment Program (HIPP) – Helps Medicaid members maintain their group sponsored or private insurance which often cover services not paid for by Medicaid, Call: 866-251-4861
  • Georgia Money Follows The Person (Ga MFP)  – Assists eligible individuals in moving from inpatient facilities (i.e. hospitals, psychiatric residential treatment facilities, nursing homes or other long-term care facilities) to an eligible residence in the community with available community services and supports, Call: 866-552-4464
  • Georgia Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)  – Healthy foods, breastfeeding support, nutrition education, health care referrals, Call: 800-228-9173
  • Georgia National School Lunch Program (NSLP)  Provides low-cost or free lunches to school children, Call: 800-311-3627
  • Georgia Special Milk Program  – Offers milk to children in schools, childcare institutions, and eligible camps, Call: 800-311-3627
  • Georgia School Breakfast Program (SBP)  Provides low-cost or free meals to school children, Call: 800-311-3627
  • Georgia Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)  – Provides free meals and snacks to help low-income children in the summer months, Call: 800-311-3627
  • Georgia Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)  Provides healthy meals and snacks to children and adults receiving day careCall: 404-657-5562
  • Georgia Head Start and Early Head Start  – Comprehensive child development programs serving low-income children and their familiesCall: 404-929-2457
  • Georgia Energy Assistance Program (EAP) – Pays for some home heating and cooling costs for low-income eligible families including crisisCall: 800-436-7442
  • Georgia Weatherization Program – Assists households reduce energy bills by improving energy efficiency of their homes, Call: 907-338-3970 
  • Georgia Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)  – Designed to improve the health of Georgia seniors  by supplementing their diets with nutritious foods, Call: 404-657-3745
  • Georgia Housing Choice Voucher Program  – Helps eligible low-income Georgia residents lease privately owned rental units from participating landlords, Call: Local Housing Authority
  • Georgia Public Housing  – Provides safe, decent, and affordable rental units for low-income Georgia residents, Call: Local Housing Authority

 

Homeowners Assistance and Housing Programs

Georgia Hardest Hit Fund – HomeSafe Georgia Program

There is numerous federally funded assistance programs designed to help residents of Georgia with various housing needs.

HomeSafe Georgia is the State of Georgia hardest hit foreclosure prevention program established with funding of the Federal Hardest Hit Fund program.  As a result of the economic crisis Georgia was one of the 18 U.S. States hit hardest by high unemployment and declining home prices. Under the Hardest Hit Fund Program the State of Georgia was allocated close to $339 million. This monetary help became available to Georgia eligible homeowners through HomeSafe Georgia –  a foreclosure prevention program administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). HomeSafe Georgia Program is planned to end December 2017 or until the allocated funds are exhausted.

HomeSafe Georgia is designed to help eligible homeowners of Georgia State who are struggling to make their mortgage payments due to unemployment, under-employment or other types of financial hardships. HomeSafe Georgia monetary assistance can be used by eligible Georgia homeowners on a case by case basis for mortgage principle reduction, unemployment or underemployment monthly mortgage payments, and mortgage reinstatement due to hardship. The amount of mortgage assistance is determined by the need the applicant and the maximum amount allowed under the program. To get HomeSafe Georgia foreclosure assistance homeowners must apply and qualify for at least one of the listed foreclosure prevention options. The overall assistance is limited by the program and is provided one time only to a qualified household for a particular home. Most HomeSafe Georgia assistance to the struggling homeowners is issued as term loans at 0% interest rates and no monthly payments. The loan is forgivable at 20% of the principal balance per year after assistance ends. Loans are forgiven at the end of their term and upon successful completion of the program. There is no cost to apply and no closing cost if you are approved to receive mortgage help through HomeSafe Georgia Program.

According to Georgia DCA, as of  February, 2014 the HomeSafe Georgia Program expanded its eligibility pool. Now, in addition to assisting homeowners who are unemployed or underemployed, HomeSafe Georgia also assists qualified homeowners who have experienced other financial hardships, including those associated with military service, death of a spouse, or a medical hardship that occurred in the last 36 months.

HomeSafe Georgia May Help Homeowners:

  • Who became unemployed or underemployed in the last 36 months – may qualify for mortgage payment assistance up to 24 months total
  • Who can make their mortgage payments now, but have become delinquent in the last 36 months – may qualify for reinstatement and get 12 mortgage payments as a one-time payment
  • Who had permanent reduction of income  – they may qualify for up to $45,000 to reduce their mortgage payment to an affordable level

HomeSafe Georgia program offers eligible Georgia homeowners the following options:

Mortgage Payment Reduction (MPR)

This option of HomeSafe Georgia program is available to eligible homeowners who have suffered a permanent loss of income in the last 36 months. MPR is also known as Recast and Modification Program and offers one time payment of up to $45,000 made directly to the lender of the eligible homeowner. The lender determines the best use of the monetary assistance to achieve a new, affordable monthly mortgage payment for the homeowner. One way to do this is through recasting, which allows using the assistance to substantially reduce the unpaid principal balance of homeowner’s loan and lower their monthly payment. The Mortgage Payment Reduction requires that the lender participates in HomeSafe Georgia Program. In addition, the applicant need to write a hardship letter that would be part of the application for assistance. The goal of the Georgia Mortgage Payment Reduction is to help qualifying homeowners avoid foreclosure by reducing their monthly mortgage payments to 38% or less of their gross monthly household income.

Mortgage Payment Assistance (MPA)

Mortgage Payment Assistance option is available to eligible homeowners who have experienced an unemployment or underemployment hardship in the last 36 months and need help paying their mortgage monthly. The MPA offers up to 24 months of mortgage payments to qualified applicants of which up to 12 months may be used to pay lenders to reinstate first and second mortgage. The homeowners may be required to make partial payments toward their current mortgage loan during the participation in the MPA program, which could be 5% of their household income. Mortgage Payment Assistance ends when: 1) the homeowner is able to sustain the mortgage payment, or 2) reserved funds are exhausted, or 3) 24 monthly payments have been provided. The goal of the Georgia Mortgage Payment Assistance is to provide monthly mortgage payment assistance while you search for new or better employment.

Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance (MRA)

Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance (MRA) help eligible Georgia homeowners who can currently afford their mortgage payments, but had fallen behind on payments due to a qualifying military, medical or death hardship that began in the last 36 months. This option of the program helps qualified applicants avoid foreclosure by making current their delinquent mortgage payments. Financial hardship assistance is provided for up to 12 months in a onetime payment made directly to your mortgage lender. The goal of the program is to bring a delinquent mortgage current.

Here are some basic requirements that must be met by a Georgia homeowner with mortgage and hardship in order to apply for HomeSafe Georgia assistance.

  • The home must be in Georgia, Owner Occupied and Primary Residence of the Applicant with a hardship
  • The home must be Single Family Residence, Condo or Townhouse
  • Total outstanding mortgage balance is less than $417,000
  • Applicant cannot have liquid assets over $5,000 to $10,000, based on family size (doesn’t apply to retirement accounts)
  • The Applicant must have a qualifying unemployment or underemployment hardship that began within the last 36 months
  • The Applicant must provide hardship supporting documents proving minimum 25% of income reduction
  • The monthly mortgage payment must be 25% or more of the gross household income at the time of the qualifying hardship
  • The Applicant cannot be delinquent with more than 12 regular mortgage payments
  • The Applicant must had been current on their mortgage at the time when the hardship started

Contact HomeSafe Georgia customer service at: 877-519-4443 to get more details.

How to Apply for HomeSafe Georgia Program options

Before you begin call your Lender to see if they participate in HomeSafe Program, or check the list below.

HomeSafe Georgia Participating Lenders and Servicers
21st Mortgage Corporation
Affinity Bank
Affinity Federal Credit Union
Ally Bank
American Financial Resources Inc.
Americu Mortgage
ASC-America's Servicing Company
Associated Credit Union
Atlantic National Bank
Bancorp South Bank
Bank of America
Bank of Dooley
Bank of Eastman
BankSouth
Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC
BB&T Bank
BB&T Mortgage
BMO Harris Bank
BOFI Federal Bank
B.O.N.D Community FCU
BSI Financial Services
Brand Bank
CCO Mortgage Corp.
CDC Federal Credit Union
CIS Financial Services
Central Georgia Credit Union
Caliber Home Loans
Capital City Bank
Capital Mortgage Services of Texas
Capital One N.A.
Carrington Mortgage Services LLC.
Carver State Bank
Cenlar Mortgage
Central Mortgage Company
Charis Community Housing
Charter One Bank
Chase
Cimarron Mortgage Company
Citi Mortgage
Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank of Americus
Citizens Trust Bank
City of Albany DCED
ClearSpring Loan Services
Coastal States Mortgage Corporation
Colonial Savings F.A.
Columbus Community Bank
Community & Southern Bank
Credit Union Financial Services
Crosscountry Mortgage Inc.
Delta Community Credit Union
Digital Federal Credit Union
EMC Mortgage
Embrace
Envoy Mortgage Ltd.
Everett Financial dba Supreme Lending
EverHome Mortgage
Excel Federal Credit Union
FCI Lender Services
Farmers and Merchants Bank
Fay Servicing
Fidelity Bank
Fidelity Bank Mtg.
First American Mortgage Trust
First Federal Bank of Florida
Fifth Third Bank
First Citizens Bank
First Citizens Bank & Trust Company
First Merchants Bank, NA
First National Bank of Griffin
First State Finance
First Tennessee Bank
Flagstar Bank
Franklin American Mortgage
Freedom Mortgage Corporation
Georgia's Own Credit Union
Georgia Coastal FCU
GeoVista FCU
Green Tree Servicing LLC
Gregory Funding LLC.
Guaranty Bank
Household Financial Corp/ Beneficial
HSBC Bank
Habitat for Humanity, Athens Area
Habitat for Humanity, Bulloch County
Habitat for Humanity, Camden County GA
Habitat for Humanity, Coastal Empire-Savannah
Habitat for Humanity, Columbus Area
Habitat for Humanity, Crisp Area
Habitat for Humanity, DeKalb County GA
Habitat for Humanity, Flint River
Habitat for Humanity, Green County GA
Habitat for Humanity, Griffin Area
Habitat for Humanity, Gwinnet County GA
Habitat for Humanity, Hall County
Habitat for Humanity, Jackson County
Habitat For Humanity, Macon Area, GA
Habitat For Humanity, NW Metro Atlanta, GA
Habitat for Humanity, North Central GA
Habitat for Humanity, Newton County GA
Habitat for Humanity, Rome & Floyd County GA
Habitat for Humanity, Sumter County GA
Habitat For Humanity, Valdosta - Lowndes County
Habitat for Humanity, Walton County GA
Hamilton State Bank
HeritageBank of the South
Homeward Residential
Home Servicing LLC.
Honda Federal Credit Union
IBM SOUTHEAST EFCU
IndyMac
James B. Nutter & Company
JPMorgan Chase Bank
Landmark Credit Union
LenderLive Network Inc.
LGE Community Credit Union
LoanCare
Ludowici Bank
MB Financial Bank N.A.
M&T BANK
Magna Bank
Member First Mortgage
Memorial Health CU
MetLife Home Loans
MidFirst Bank formerly Midland Mortgage
Monroe County Bank
Southcrest Bank N.A.
Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC
Springleaf Financial Services
State Bank and Trust Company
State Bank of Georgia
State Employees Credit Union
State Home Mortgage
Statebridge Company, LLC
Stephens Federal Bank
Stonegate Mortgage Corp.
Suburban Mortgage Company of New Mexico
SunTrust Bank
SunTrust Mortgage
Sun West Mortgage Company
Supreme Lending
The Bank of Georgia
The Brand Banking Company
The Peoples Bank
Towne Mortgage Company
Trustmark National Bank
U.S. Bank (U.S. Bank Home Mortgage)
United Bank
United Community Bank
United Guaranty Corporation
United Methodist Connectional FCU
United Security Financial Corp
USAA
USDA/Rural Development
Vanderbilt Mortgage & Finance Inc.
Vantium Capital Inc.
Vidalia Federal Savings Bank
Village Capital & Investment, LLC.
VLS HE
WAMU
Wells Fargo Bank
Weststar Mortgage Corporation
Weststar Mortgage Inc.
Wings Financial CU

source: HomeSafe Georgia Program – list published 11/03/2014

To determine program eligibility, a homeowner must complete  HomeSafe Georgia application and provide all necessary supporting documents to be reviewed by the program underwriters. Visit HomeSafe Georgia website application page and follow the steps to apply for any of the program options online. Within 3 weeks HomeSafe will assign you a counselor who will lead you through the process. For details on HomeSafe Georgia call Customer Service at:  770-806-2100 or toll free 877-519-4443

Georgia – Making Home Affordable options

Making Home Affordable is a federal program designed to cover different homeowners’ hardships and financial situations. Under the program there are various options that can help Georgia homeowners in hardship stay in their homes. Depending on the situation Georgia homeowners in hardship can apply to lower their monthly payments, lower the interest rate on their home loan or even get principal reduction in some cases.

There are foreclosure alternatives and temporarily help for unemployed homeowners as well.

Here are some of the most used options under Making Home Affordable Program:

HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved housing counselor can be reached at: 888-995-4673  (Hearing impaired: 877-304-9709 TTY) to help you understand your options, prepare your application, and work with your mortgage company.

Rental Help for Georgia residents

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

Section 8 Housing Program is a federally funded rental assistance set of subprograms for low-income families, disabled persons, and the elderly available to all States.

Section 8 Housing Program for State of Georgia is administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCF). Georgia Section 8 rental assistance helps eligible low income families by subsidizing their rental housing of choice through the Housing Choice Vouchers. The Housing Choice Vouchers help low income families and individuals broaden their housing options in the private rental market. Find more about Section 8 Housing Programs and Housing Choice Vouchers.

According to Georgia DCF the goals of the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) are to: 1) Provide improved living conditions for low income persons while maintaining their rent payments at an affordable level; 2) Promote freedom of housing choice and integrate lower income and minority persons into mainstream society; 3) Provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing for eligible participants; and 4) Provide an incentive to private property owners to rent to lower income persons by offering timely subsidy payments

Georgia Housing Choice Voucher Program is funded entirely by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and according the DCF, the Section 8 programs currently assists over 15,000 Georgia families. The Program’s vouchers increase affordable housing choices for very low-income Georgia households by allowing families to choose privately owned rental housing.

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers are issued by a local Georgia Housing Authority to an income-qualified household, which then finds a unit to rent. If the unit meets the Section 8 quality standards, the Housing Authority then pays the landlord the amount equal to the difference between 30 percent of the tenant’s adjusted income (or 10 percent of the gross income or the portion of welfare assistance designated for housing) and the PHA-determined payment standard for the area. In other words, the Section 8 Program operates by providing direct subsidy rent payments to qualified landlords for tenants participating in the program. The rent must be reasonable compared with similar unassisted units.

Housing Voucher Program is also called Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA). DCA administers the program in 149 of Georgia’s 159 counties through four regional offices located around the State. Contact one of the regional offices for information on Section 8 rental assistance. These offices administer the Housing Choice Voucher Program which is a tenant-based assistance program.

Central Office

60 Executive Park South, NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
(404) 679-4940
(800) 359-4663
(877) 204-1194 (TDD)

Athens Regional Office
1061 Dowdy Road, Suite 201
Athens, GA 30606-5700
706-369-5636
888-318-0354

Eastman Regional Office
21 Industrial Boulevard
Eastman, GA 31023
478-374-6962
888-340-6112

Waycross Regional Office
500 Alice Street
Waycross, GA 31501
912-285-6280
888-879-2549

The remaining 10 counties are served by their local housing authority.

Normally, the demand for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers in Georgia exceeds the available funds and there are long waiting lists. As a result, the applications for the Section 8 Vouchers are taken periodically at a time determined by each local Public Housing Authority. The open period for taking Section 8 applications is usually advertised in the local newspaper 2 weeks prior to starting acceptance of applications, and all related social service agencies are notified. Georgia Department of Community Affairs maintains Section 8 Waiting List Status Page where interested to apply can check if the waiting list in their area is open.

When the waiting list is open, completed applications are accepted from all applicants. The Housing Authority will then verify the information in each application relevant to the applicant’s eligibility, admission and benefits level.

Eligible Housing Choice Vouchers applicants in Georgia can select housing within a neighborhood of their choice from a property owner willing to participate in Section 8 program. Tenant Based Rental Assistance contracts must have a minimum lease of one year and cannot exceed two years – but they can be renewed. Choices of housing units may include family’s present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the local Housing Authority. The rents assisted units must be affordable to low-income families and remain affordable for a designated amount of time. If the household needs to change location, the household, with approval of the PHA, may take the TBRA assistance along when it moves to another rental unit.

Section 8 Program allows families to pay a predetermined share of their income toward the rent while issued Housing Choice Vouchers make up the difference. The program does not pay for security deposits and moving expenses. The tenant is responsible for paying for any utilities not included in the rent according to the lease.

Income eligibility limits and benefit levels are based on local median income and local housing costs but are set largely at the federal level with limited local discretion. Income requirements are set generally as less than 50% of Area Median Income (AMI), but can be up to 80% in some cases. By law, seventy five percent of the newly issued vouchers must go to families with incomes below 30% of the Area Median Income.

Current recipients maintain vouchers until their income reaches a level at which the value of their housing subsidy is reduced to $0.00 – all housing subsidies are calculated based on family income, housing costs, and other factors.

For specifics on eligibility for each Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher please, check with your local Georgia Public Housing Authority.

Project-Based Rental Assistance

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs promotes affordable housing opportunities through Project Based Rental Assistance.  Project Based Rental Assistance involves over 16,000 total units throughout the state of Georgia. The rental assistance pays part of the rent to qualified tenants for a specific building designated as Section 8 and subsidized by the Federal Government with the main purpose to provide affordable housing for low-income families. Project Based vouchers are used at selected developments where providers of supportive services focus on special needs populations. Applications are accepted and waiting lists are maintained at each housing site. The populations served are households that are extremely-low income with income up to 50% of the Area Median Income. HUD establishes and publishes the income parameters annually.

Georgia Public Housing

Public Housing provides safe, decent and affordable rental housing to eligible Georgians – low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides federal grants to States’ local Public Housing Agencies (PHA) which manage the public housing developments for low-income residents at rents they can afford.

In general, housing developments owned, managed and maintained by the local PHA are referred to as Conventional Housing, or Low Rent Public Housing and units are offered to eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities at rental rates established by the PHA authorities within the HUD income limits and guidelines.

Under the Conventional Public Housing program, a Georgia Housing Authority rents units that it owns to low-income individuals, who pay 30% of their adjusted gross income towards rent. The Authority administers the Low Rent Public Housing Program in accordance with HUD rules and regulations. Usually the public housing properties are operated by the Housing Authority with the help of a maintenance and management team. Funding sources for public housing include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the rental income.

In Georgia, safe, decent and affordable public housing is offered and manged by local Housing Authorities. Rental housing for low-income Georgians is available in many communities across the State of Georgia. Currently, Georgia Conventional Public Housing Program is used to operate close to 40 thousand rental units across the State for the benefit of low income Georgians.

Georgia Public Housing rental units come in various types and sizes, and normally offer on-site management, maintenance staff, and may even include other supportive services. Normally there is a waiting list and once an unit become available the qualified applicant is invited to a meeting with the Housing Authority official where detailed information on the Public Housing Program  is provided and the available public housing unit is offered.

As per the HUD requirements the approved Georgia low income family pays a portion of their monthly income in rent, and the rest is subsidized by the HUD Public Housing grants.

Inquire about current availability of Public Housing rental units by contacting your local Georgia Housing Authority, or search for subsidized apartments in Georgia here.

 Housing Counseling Services

Contact one of the HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies in Georgia State for the following education workshops or counseling services

– Fair Housing Pre-Purchase Education Workshops
– Financial Management/Budget Counseling
– Home Improvement and Rehabilitation Counseling
– Mortgage Delinquency and Default Resolution Counseling
– Non-Delinquency Post Purchase Workshops
– Pre-purchase Counseling
– Pre-purchase Homebuyer Education Workshops
– Predatory Lending Education Workshops
– Rental Housing Counseling
– Services for Homeless Counseling

Georgia Homeless Service Organizations

Georgia has regional homeless service organizations that coordinate local resources and can provide assistance to the homeless. Some Georgia Homeless Service Organizations are funded through Continuum of Care (CoC). Continuum of Care is a federal program that consolidate the following Homeless Assistance programs: the Shelter Plus Care Program, the Supportive Housing Program, and the Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy Program. The CoC Program is designed to promote community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness by providing grants to nonprofit providers, State and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities.

Georgia Homeless Service Organizations funded by CoC assist individuals (including unaccompanied youth) and families experiencing homelessness. With main goal goal of long-term stability those Georgia homeless service organizations provide the services that are needed to help such individuals move into transitional and permanent housing. Here is a list of Georgia Continuum of Care Organizations.

If you are homeless in Georgia and need help – call the listed homeless service organization in your area.

CoC Coordinator / CD Specialist
Athens-Clarke County (Unified Government of)
375 Satula Avenue
Athens, GA 30601
Phone: 706-613-3155 x1205

Community Development Administrator
Athens-Clarke County (Unified Government of)
375 Satula Avenue
Athens, GA 30601
Phone: 706-613-3155

Innovation Delivery Team Director
Atlanta, City of
Office of the Mayor
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 4310
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404 330 6266

Project Manager, City of Atlanta CoC
Atlanta, City of
55 Trinity Avenue SW Suite 4310
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404 865 8859

CD Manager
Augusta-Richmond County
925 Laney – Walker Blvd., 2nd Floor
Augusta, GA 30901
Phone: 706 821 1797 x1887

Housing Trust Fund
Georgia Department of Community Affairs
60 Executive Park South, NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Phone: 404 327 6870

COO for Programs
Center for Family Resources, Inc.
995 Roswell Street, NE, Suite 100
Marietta, GA 30060-2151
Phone: 770.428.2601 x244

Center for Family Resources, Inc.
995 Roswell Street, NE, Suite 100
Marietta, GA 30060-2151

Homeless Resource Network, Inc.
Post Office Box 811
Columbus, GA 31902
Phone: 706 571 3399 x5

CD Director
Dekalb County Community Development
150 East Ponce de Leon Ave., Suite 330
Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: 404 286 3338 or 3308

Special Projects Coordinator
Dekalb County Community Development
150 East Ponce de Leon Ave., Suite 330
Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: 404 286 3366

HPRP Coordinator
Dekalb County Community Development
150 East Ponce de Leon Ave., Suite 330
Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: 404 286 3368

Division Manager, Office of Emergency and Transitional Housing
Fulton County Health and Human Services Department
Jefferson Place
1135 Jefferson Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
Phone: 404.613.0416

Deputy Director
Fulton County Health and Human Services Department
137 Peachtree Street, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: (404) 612-7187

Director of Community Services
Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless
Post Office Box 8936
Savannah, GA 31412
Phone: 912.790.3400

 

Food Assistance Programs, Services, and Organizations in Georgia

 

Georgia Food Stamp Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Food Stamps Program as it is known by the public, is a federal program that provides grants to the States for purpose of reducing the hunger and malnutrition in all eligible households across the nation. SNAP helps provide healthy food to qualifying low-income families with children, elderly or disabled in each State of the USA, including Georgia. Learn more about SNAP.

It is important to know that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal entitlement program funded by U.S. Government grants. Any U.S. Citizen, even some legal alien residents, will get free food assistance as long as they meet the SNAP eligibility guidelines. In other words, there is enough Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for every American that qualifies.

In Georgia, the SNAP is known as Georgia Food Stamp Program and is administered by the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) under the Georgia Department of Human Services. The federal government pays 100% of Georgia Food Stamp Benefits while the administrative cost of operating the Georgia Food Stamp program is shared between the US Federal Government and State of Georgia.

According to Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, “The Food Stamp Program provides monthly benefits to low-income households to help pay for the cost of food. The program also provides nutrition education to low-income households to promote healthy eating and healthy lifestyles, as well as provides employment and training opportunities for single childless adults and outreach activities to promote the advantages of the Food Stamp Program to low-income households and communities.”

 

Who is Eligible for Food Stamps in Georgia?

The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in Georgia, like in other States, are based on limited income, limited liquid resources, household size, and other requirements. Most eligibility rules are determined by regulations issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service.

The federal law allows States some flexibility when implementing SNAP on a State level. State agencies can adapt some of the food assistance program rules in order to meet the needs of eligible, low‐income local population.

Georgia Food Assistance Program is designed for individuals and families with limited income resources, who compose a household, and purchase and prepare their meals together for home consumption.

For the purpose of the Georgia Food Stamp Program, everyone who lives together and purchases and prepares food together is considered as a part of one household formation. The definition includes husbands and wives, and their children under age 22 when living together, even if they purchase and prepare meals separately.

In Georgia anyone with limited income and resources may apply for food stamps but, in general, to qualify for Georgia Food Stamp Benefits you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Georgia Resident – must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident with SNAP eligible non-citizen status;
  • Work Requirement – unless exempted, each able-bodied household member must work or participate in an employment and training program, registered to work, and accept a suitable employment offer;
  • Income Limits –  Income limits eligibility depends on the household size and composition. Households with no elderly or disabled individuals must meet both gross and net income limits. Households with elderly or disabled individuals with gross incomes over 200% of the poverty line face a $3,250 limit on liquid assets, otherwise they must meet only the net income limits in order to qualify. Gross income includes wages, salaries, commissions, dividends, child support, self-employment income, unemployment compensation, social security benefits etc.. Household net income is computed by deducting certain allowed expenses from gross income. The resulting numbers must fall below the net income dollar amounts listed in the table below for your household to get food assistance benefits. This dollar amount depends on the number of people in your household.
    See the table with Georgia food stamp income limits per household size below.
Oct. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2016 USDA FNS SNAP Max Income
Household SizeGross Monthly Income Limits
(130% of poverty)
Net Monthly Income Limits
(100% of poverty)
1$1,276$981
2$1,726$1,328
3$2,177$1,675
4$2,628$2,021
5$3,078$2,368
6$3,529$2,715
7$3,980$3,061
8$4,430$3,408
Each additional member+$451+$347

Source: USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards

Georgia Food Stamp Program has special rules for elderly or disabled applicants and beneficiaries. Georgia households with disabled or elderly members may qualify for food stamp benefits regardless of the amount of gross income.

Some Georgia residents may be automatically or so called categorically eligible for Food Assistance if they already participate in other means tested assistance programs. Getting benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) federal block grant or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can make the applicant for Food Assistance categorically eligible, thus bypassing the income eligibility and asset eligibility rules. Under the federal SNAP regulations, States do have to assign a gross income limit of 200% of the federal poverty line (FPL) or less in order to use any TANF-funded benefit that can make Food Assistance applicants eligible.

 

Quick Eligibility Check

Use this Pre-Screening Tool to find out if you may be eligible to get Georgia Food Assistance Benefits (Food Stamps). Although you will be notified immediately if you qualify after completing the questionnaire you still have to make an application at your local Georgia DFCS County Office. There are other federal and state specific requirements that must be met for Food Stamp Benefits applicants in different situations.

 

What are the Benefits?

If approved, the Georgia Food Stamp Benefit amounts depend on the household size and the amount of the their net income. USDA has maximum food stamp benefit limits per month per household size. Check below what are the maximum food stamp assistance monetary amounts. They dollar amounts of the food stamp benefits are called allotments.

Oct. 1, 2015 - Sept. 30, 2016 USDA Max SNAP Allotments
Household SizeMaximum Food Assistance Monthly Allotment
1$194
2$357
3$511
4$649
5$771
6$925
7$1,022
8$1,169
Each additional member$146

Source: USDA, SNAP Maximum Allotments

 

How to Apply for Food Stamps in Georgia?

In Georgia one application is used to apply for Cash Assistance, Medical Assistance, and the Food Assistance Benefits. Applicants can get the application online or from  the local Georgia DFCS offices. The applicant needs to fill out all required information on the application and return it to the office.

You can print the Georgia Application for Benefits, read the questions and complete all required information, sign, and turn your application into the local Georgia DFCS Office where you live. If you need help call: 877-423-4746.

You can go into the local DFCS Office and complete the application while you are there. If you do not have all the information, complete as much as you can including your name, social security number, what you are applying for, and sign it. The DFCS Office has to accept the application with the current date. You can provide the rest of the information later at the interview. Once you have filed the application, you will be given or mailed an appointment for an interview, if needed, with a DFCS case manager.

Before decision is made you may need to provide some supporting documents and complete an interview that would help DFCS determine your eligibility.  In some cases that can be done over the phone. After the interview, if eligible,  you will receive a notice stating how much food assistance benefit and for how long your household is eligible for before a review of their case  is due.

You may also apply for Georgia Food Stamp Benefits online via the COMPASS website at www.compass.ga.gov. Applicants online may also check their eligibility for other DHS programs via the COMPASS Pre-screening Tool. Additionally, COMPASS allows food stamp recipients to report changes in household circumstances and to renew their benefits online.

Georgia Food Stamp Program application must be processed withing 30 days from the date of filing. If your household is approved, you will start receiving Food Stamp Benefits from the date the office received your signed application. The Food Stamp Benefit amounts depend on the household size and its net income – which is all countable income minus all allowable deductions.

 

Georgia Food Stamps Approval, Rules, Proofs Required

The DFCS Office has to verify provided information and interview you before determining if the household is eligible for Food Stamp Benefits. Georgia DFCS  lists examples of information that may be needed at the interview:

  • Proof of your identity
  • Proof of your citizenship such as birth certificate, U.S. passport, hospital record, etc.
  • Immigration papers for persons applying for benefits, who are not U.S. citizens
  • Social security numbers for persons applying for benefits
  • Proof of income for each household member (check stubs, award letters for social security or veterans administration, unemployment benefits, contributions from family or friends, child support, etc.)
  • Last month’s rent receipt or mortgage payment book
  • Medical bills for persons age 60 and older and/or disabled
  • Childcare receipts for children whose parents are working, in school, or in training

Additional information and proof may be required depending upon your situation. In case you are not able to provide all the information during the food stamp interview, you will have 10 days from the date of the interview to provide the required proof.

Applicants for Food Stamps Assistance in Georgia should get a response within 30 days from the date they submitted their application to the local Food Assistance Office. Households cannot receive food stamps assistance from more than one Georgia county in a month. Households getting food stamps benefits must report any changes of their household situation in a 6-months period in order to assure their participation in the Food Assistance Program.

The Food Assistance program has special rules for elderly or disabled applicants and beneficiaries.

The law limits the Food Stamp Benefits to 3 months in a 3-year period for all able-bodied adults between the ages of 18-50 without dependents, who are not working or participating in a work program for at least 20 hours each week.

As part of federal food assistance funding each State has to offer employment and training to its food stamp recipients. Participants in Georgia Employment and Training (E&T) Program can get adult education, vocational training, job skills training for specific jobs, and work experience via short-term unpaid work assignments.

Georgia E&T Program offers employment and training to food stamp recipients in a variety of fields – from health care and manufacturing, to teaching and welding. All this is done for the sole purpose to help individuals get skills and training necessary to find a job that pays living wage.

The federal and state rules require that all working, able-bodied E&T program participants in Georgia, that get food stamps cannot voluntarily quit a job or reduce work hours. In addition, they must provide information to determine their employment status and must report if their number of work hours goes below 20 hours per week and when their income exceeds 130% of the federal poverty level. The main goal of the E&T program is to help Georgia food stamp recipients get jobs, reduce or eliminate their dependency on the Food Stamp Program.

 

Approved! When and How Do I Get the Food Stamps Benefits?

Georgia Food Stamp Program provides the SNAP benefits via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the Georgia Food Stamps are transferred to the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through Georgia EBT Card. The Food Assistance Benefits are deposited into the recipients accounts each month following the Benefit Issuance Schedule.

Georgia Electronic Benefits are made available from the 5th to the 23rd of every month, based on the last two digits of the client’s ID #:

ID # ends in: 00-09 = benefits available on the 5th of the month
ID # ends in: 10-19 = benefits available on the 7th of the month
ID # ends in: 20-29 = benefits available on the 9th of the month
ID # ends in: 30-39 = benefits available on the 11th of the month
ID # ends in: 40-49 = benefits available on the 13th of the month
ID # ends in: 50-59 = benefits available on the 15th of the month
ID # ends in: 60-69 = benefits available on the 17th of the month
ID # ends in: 70-79 = benefits available on the 19th of the month
ID # ends in: 80-89 = benefits available on the 21st of the month
ID # ends in: 90-99 = benefits available on the 23rd of the month

If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or EBT Card call Georgia EBT Customer Service: 1-888-421-3281

 

How and Where to Use the Food Stamp Benefits?

When approved, food stamp beneficiaries will get Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards – Georgia EBT Card. The beneficiaries can use their EBT cards at any Food Stamp grocery stores and Farmers’ Markets that are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). With their EBT Card food stamp recipients can buy any food to be eaten at home by people, including baby food, non-alcoholic beverages, and seasonings. Allowed are also seeds and plants to grow food for family’s consumption. Non-grocery items such as cleaning products, pet food, paper products, alcohol, or tobacco are not allowed.

 

I Need Food Assistance Now. It is an Emergency!

Some households may get Expedited Services – that is getting Food Stamp Benefits within 7 calendar days if your household has less than $150 in monthly gross income and liquid resources (cash, checking or savings accounts) of $100 or less; or your rent/mortgage and utilities are more than your household’s combined monthly income and liquid resources; or a member of your household is a migrant or seasonal farm worker. In order to get expedite assistance, if you qualify for it, provide all required information and proof as soon as possible. Call 1-877-423-4746 for more information on Georgia Food Stamp Program.