With the economy looking more and more uncertain by the day, and more families seeing a significant reduction in income, it is more important than ever for low-income families to know what kind of assistance programs are available to them.

Many people often associate assistance programs with those that help pay for housing or food. However, there are a number of state and federal programs also directed to assist low-income families with paying the utility bill, finding employment, and even affording higher education.

Unfortunately, many low-income families either do not know that these programs exist, or they simply don’t know where to go to enlist in the programs. While the local social services building is the first place that any low-income family looking for assistance should go, there are other agencies on the federal and local level that can help.

For those in dire need of housing assistance, the Housing and Urban Development, better known as HUD, funds local housing programs to help low-income families to both pay their rent, and also afford a security deposit. The program was put in place to prevent homelessness in everyway possible. If you are struggling with paying your rent every month, it is best to seek out the help of the local government through their HUD-funded program.

One of the best ways for low-income families to lift themselves out of poverty is to properly educate themselves. It is no secret that those with more education tend to earn more on a yearly basis. Many children from low-income families believe that college, or any form of higher education is not in their future due to high costs. However, there are plenty of programs in existence that are strictly dedicated to helping such students afford college through loans, grants, and scholarships. For those looking to increase their education level, it is advised that they contact local schools to find out what kind of federal assistance is available.

The utility bill is one of the most important bills that must be paid every month. Sadly, there are many families that simply cannot afford to keep the heat and lights on every month. Having heat and electricity grow in importance as the winter months approach. If you are struggling with paying your utility bill, and fear that your heat and electricity may be shut off, it is essential that you look into such programs as LIHEAP or Weatherization. Both are federal programs designed to help families cut down on their energy bill through federal aid.

Aside from local, state, and federal government agencies, there are also many non-for-profit organizations and churches with programs that are designed to help low-income families. While these programs may not cover as many areas as governmental programs, they certainly can assist low-income families with food needs, and even electric bills and rent. If you belong to a church, and struggle with minimal income, it is strongly suggested that you speak with one of their community relations people to find out what kind of options are available to you and your family.