There are a lot of assistance programs across America that aim at helping American Indians become financially independent, or which offer assistance in times of need. Below we’ll be showing you some of the most noteworthy programs out there.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has a Financial Assistance and Social Services program that can offer assistance to American Indians and Alaskan Natives with funds needed for utilities, shelter, clothing, and food supplies. This program focuses on helping individuals achieve independence, which is why individuals that receive assistance will have to create and sign an Individual Self-Sufficiency Plan. If you would like to apply for the program, visit your local BIA regional office, visit the Division of Human Services website, or call the office on 202-513-7622.
Help With Food
Households living on Indian reservations (or American Indians that live in approved areas near reservations) that meet income requirements may be able to get assistance from the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations. For more information on the program and eligibility requirements, visit the application page for the program. Your local Indian Tribal Organization or State Agency will be able to determine if you qualify for benefits, and you can find your closest agency on the FDP contact list or by dialing 1-866-348-6479 and enquiring with the USDA National Hunger Hotline.
Help With Shelter and Housing
ONAP (Office of Native American Programs) has a Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act that provides assistance for Indian tribes under the Indian Housing Block Grant. This means that tribes have the opportunity of conceptualizing, designing, building, and maintaining their own low-cost housing on Indian reservations, also within Native communities. For detailed information on how you can benefit from the 6 major ONAP programs, take a look at the ONAP Funding Page, or call the office on 202-708-1455.
LIHEAP is a federally-funded program that assists low-income families with energy costs. The program includes assistance with electricity bills, emergency electric supplies, and weatherization programs. For more information and to find out if you qualify for assistance, contact the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program on 202-401-9351 or visit their website.
Help With Telephone and Internet Bills
Individuals living on Tribal lands can find help with their phone bills with the Tribal Lands Lifeline Program. This program allows for as much as $34.25 discount on your monthly service cost. This is $25 more than the discount that regular low-income subscribers get. For more information or to apply for the Tribal Lands Lifeline program, contact the Federal Communications Commission on 1-888-225-5322 or visit their website.
Help With Childcare
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have a Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that includes assistance with childcare and employment assistance. This program is only available to Native American Indians that are unemployed or retrenched and that are part of a federally recognized tribe or village. To find a list of TANF agencies, visit the Contacts page of the Health and Human Services, or for detailed information on specific TANF programs, visit the Tribal section on the site.
Help With Medical and Dental Care
American Indians and Alaskan Natives can benefit from the Health Insurance Marketplace with their program that offers discounted health care services. Individuals have the choice of using a private health plan obtained in the Marketplace, or they can make use of Medicaid or CHIP in the case of minors. The Marketplace Call Center can answer all questions you might have regarding the program, and they can be reached on 1-855-889-43225 or 1-800-318-2596.
Help With Legal Matters
Indian Tribes and organizations seeking legal advice or representation can enquire with the Native America Rights Fund (NARF). With 16 attorneys on board, NARF has branch offices in Washington, D.C. and Anchorage, Alaska, as well as a home base in Boulder, Colorado. For detailed information on their services, call the head office on 303-447-8760 or visit their website.
Help From Other Groups
The US Bureau of Indian Affairs can provide Indian students with grants and scholarships if they are part of a federally recognized Native American tribe.
The Indian Resource Development at the New Mexico State University has a booklet on offer (which is free for New Mexico students) called Sources of Financial Aid Available to American Indian Students. They also offer a USDA Agricultural Scholarship for Native American students that are studying agriculture, computer science, or statistics. For more information on the program, call the office on 1-505-646-1347 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you can see, there are dozens of useful resources out there aimed at helping Native Americans become self-sufficient and independent in times of financial hardships.
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