The Outreach Program provides a range of services which assist low-income people attain skills, knowledge, and motivation necessary to achieve self-sufficiency. The Outreach Program also provides low-income people with immediate life necessities such as food, shelter, transportation, etc. Qualified professional staff are trained to provide services to families in crisis.
The county offices can offer eligible individuals and families case management, housing assistance, emergency assistance, literacy services, homebuyer assistance, volunteer assistance, homeless assistance, emergency food and shelter, budget and housing counseling, tax filing, and insurance assistance. Field staff will refer customers to other human service agencies if direct service cannot be provided by the agency. For a full list of services, see the list below.
Depending on funding, we also offer foreclosure prevention service, home ownership education services, down payment savings plan, purchasing education and much more.
Outreach Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:30am - 4:30pm
Outreach Offices located in
Clay, Effingham, Fayette, Shelby, Montgomery, Moultrie and Christian Counties.
Make a donation to C.E.F.S. Outreach Program
The CSBG Scholarship is designed, in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, to provide financial assistance to income eligible persons to attend college. Scholarships will go toward providing formal education or occupational training in an accredited Illinois educational institution to CSBG eligible clients. The scholarships can be applied towards either a post-secondary education (Associates, Bachelors, or Masters) or general education to achieve short-term training in growth occupation skills. Applications are available in the Spring of each year. Advertising on local radio stations, newspapers, and at local schools occurs when the applications become available each year. The application is also available on our agency website.
CSBG Skills Training Program
Through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), Outreach offices can assist low-income people attend training programs and classes that will lead to employment. The CSBG Program can pay for tuition, books, uniforms and required tools for the courses. For more information on how to apply, contact your local County Outreach Office.
The goal of digital navigation is to assist households and individuals gain access to internet and devices as well as develop skills to successfully use the internet and electronic devices including pcs, tablets, and smartphones. This program offers workshops and one-on-one skills classes. Additionally, the program can assist participants in obtaining devices and internet subsidies as necessary.
There are no income guidelines for this program. Each person seeking assistance will complete an intake and an assessment to help determine what services will be provided that will lead to the ability to access and operate devices and the internet. Contact the Literacy Program to learn more.
Emergency Services (Other)
C.E.F.S. understands the impact a financial hardship may have on a household’s ability to cover basic needs such as childcare payments, utilities, food, hygiene products, car repairs, transportation, prescription costs, etc. Through the Community Services Block Grant, C.E.F.S. may be able to assist with these basic needs to ensure people can maintain or obtain employment, housing, and an education. Eligibility requirements will apply, and ongoing case management will be required. Contact your local County Outreach Office for more information.
HUD Certified Counselors are available to provide counseling to individuals that may be looking for assistance in setting up a budget, credit counseling and repair, and goal setting. Contact your local County Outreach Office for more information.
First Time Homebuyer Counseling
For those interested in purchasing a home, this counseling will prepare buyers to make prudent choices during the homebuying and mortgage process. Home-ownership counseling will prepare buyers to keep their largest single investment safe and avoid future hardships.
Contact Staceye Horvet at the Clay County Outreach Office for more information or to schedule a class.
Food pantries are available at the County Outreach Offices of Fayette (Vandalia), Montgomery (Taylor Springs), and Moultrie (Sullivan). Food is purchased through local vendors and the Central Illinois Food Bank. Food pantries are open multiple times a week. Contact the local Outreach Office to learn about your county’s food pantry hours.
When a family or individual finds themselves homeless with no place to stay, C.E.F.S. has several programs that may be able to assist. Emergency Shelter may be provided through hotel vouchers when funding is available. Staff will work with the families/individuals to determine eligibility. Staff will provide case management and assist in locating housing that will meet the households needs. Through HUD funding, C.E.F.S. can assist households with rent and supportive services while the household participates in case management. Case management will include budget counseling, goal setting, assessment of needs and referrals.
Information and Referrals
C.E.F.S. Outreach is available to assist people in knowing where to go for assistance in the communities we serve. We can provide referrals to other agencies or to programs within C.E.F.S. Additionally, we can assist people in applying for SNAP, Medical Card, License Plate Discounts (for Seniors and Disabled), and discounted phones. Outreach staff are trained to assess an individual’s needs and make sure resources are provided to meet those needs if possible.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
LIHEAP provides: Direct Vendor Payment – a one-time benefit, paid directly to the utility company(s) for eligible households. Reconnection Assistance - help for households that are disconnected from their utilities or are within 7 days of shut off. This also includes households that use a delivered fuel source who are below 25% in their tank and have been refused delivery on credit. Cash Benefit – a one-time payment for eligible renters whose utilities are included in their rent. Emergency Furnace - repair or replacement of furnace for eligible homeowners. Percentage of Income Payment Plan Program (PIPP) - is a benefit choice for Ameren customers. PIPP customers are enrolled in budget billing with Ameren. Each month the program pays a portion of the monthly budget bill amount and the customer is responsible for the rest. Additionally, customers that owe an outstanding balance when they come on the program will get a monthly credit applied to their old balance for every on-time, in full payment that they make.
Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)
LIHWAP is available to income eligible households that are facing disconnection of water and/or sewer services. This is a one-time benefit that will assist low-income households maintain or re-gain water/sewer utilities. Eligible households include those that are at or below 200% of the poverty level, owe at least $250 on their water/sewer bill, or have a disconnect notice. The goal of this program is to assist people with limited resources in maintaining healthy living environments.
Rental Counseling and Assistance
C.E.F.S. realizes the struggle households may face with paying rent while juggling unexpected financial hardships or locating affordable housing. C.E.F.S. Housing Counseling staff will assist people in setting up a budget to address the financial hardship, provide referrals to address any other needs, educate on landlord and tenant rights, provide case management, and if eligible, provide rental assistance to maintain housing or obtain more affordable housing.
Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP)
The Senior Health Insurance Program is a free statewide health insurance counseling service for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers. SHIP is not associated with any insurance company. SHIP counselors do not sell or solicit any type of insurance. SHIP counselors are trained to educate consumers and answer questions about Medicare, Medicare supplements, and Medicare Part D coverage. Counselors will also assist with enrollment in Medicare Part D as well as provide assistance in securing extra financial assistance for Part B and Part D premiums. SHIP works closely with the Illinois Department on Aging to provide counseling services to the aging population and aligns with the Department's mission to help older individuals maintain their health and independence while remaining in their homes and communities. SHIP counseling is available at Clay, Montgomery, and Christian Outreach Offices.
Tax Filing Assistance
Through the IRS VITA program, C.E.F.S. Outreach provides low-income households with assistance in preparing and filing annual tax returns with both the State and Federal returns. This service is only available during the filing season. Generally, this is February through April. For this assistance, you will need to contact your local County Outreach Office.
Youth Camp/Activity Scholarships
Through the Community Services Block Grant, C.E.F.S. provides scholarships to school aged children in income-eligible households wishing to attend a camp or enroll in a class such as swimming lessons, cooking, art, etc. This is available in all seven counties. Contact your local County Outreach Office for more information on how to apply.