Thousands of individuals receive emergency and long term assistance from the Blackstone Valley Community Action Agency. Programs are available for low income families in the Providence Rhode Island region of Pawtucket, Woonsocket, Central Falls, Cumberland, and Lincoln. The non-profit offers housing assistance, education, job training, and other support for the poor, seniors, and disabled.
Emergency assistance and basic needs can be provided for. Staff from the organization can help during times of crisis or unexpected financial hardships. Some of the aid provided can include groceries from a food pantry. Project Undercover is a local program that distributes free diapers and underclothing for children and new moms living in poverty. Case managers can also help families apply for SNAP. Or get referrals to the RI Donation Exchange for gently used furniture and clothing. 401-723-4520.
Several different weatherization, cash assistance for heating bills and energy conservation services are available from the Blackstone Valley Community Action Program. These are all targeted at low income families that pay a significant portion of their income towards their utilities. A focus is on the elderly and disabled in the community, but others can apply.
Grants can be provided from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. The community action agency can help residents of Central Falls, Cumberland, Pawtucket, Lincoln, North Smithfield, and Woonsocket Rhode Island pay for their heating, fuel oil and natural gas bills.
Boiler assessment and weatherization is a form of improvement to a home that can help people save money and energy. What may be available includes health and safety inspections, insulation of walls and attics, window replacement, air sealing, ventilation, and furnace/boiler repair and replacement if needed. The AMP, or Appliance Management Program, is targeted at the energy usage of the refrigerator and AMP may also provide for the installation of energy efficient, CFL or compact fluorescent light bulbs. Call 401-723-4520.
Christmas assistance is available from the Children's Holiday Hope Fund. The non-profit will provide families with toys, hats, mittens and coats, and more. 401-723-4520
Providing education and job training is always a focus. With the challenging economy in Providence County and across Rhode Island, many people need skills or additional training to obtain a job. This goes for both the currently unemployed and those that are looking to increase their income.
GED training and testing is offered. This is for students wishing to learn the math, reading, science, writing and social studies skills needed to pass the official Rhode Island GED tests. An Adult GED class is also offered for students 20 years of age and over.
Youth Employment Programs are seasonal in nature and are for residents under the age of 21. Among services provided include leadership development activities, GED preparation and testing, job readiness skills instruction, responsibility workshops, paid work experience placement, enrollment in higher education/training, occupational skills training, and job placement. Phone number is 401-723-4520.
English as a Second Language (ESL) is available for immigrants and others. The program can help people learn, or improve, their English skills for life, work, and community. 401-723-4520.
Other education classes offered include College Readiness, Financial Literacy, Touch Typing, Work Readiness, Credit Counseling, Basic Computer Skills, and Nutrition Workshops. 401-723-4520.
YouthBuild is for younger adults. Staff and teachers from Blackstone Valley Community Action Program can offer hands-on training and support. It can help clients start a career in the construction trades as well as earn their GED or transition to college. Participants of YouthBuild can earn money, hands-on construction training, computer training, obtain national construction certification, leadership and career development, and access career development. This is for low income students or ex offenders.
Several housing programs are available for residents of Pawtucket, Woonsocket, and other areas. The community action agency may offer emergency financial aid, low income housing, foreclosure and first time buying counseling and more.
Housing counselors from the non-profit provide guidance and assistance to current homeowners and people looking to buy a home in the future. Counselors will meet with the client and assess their particular circumstances. They will also assist the individual in developing an action plan to meet those goals. Counselors can assist delinquent borrowers and offer free foreclosure prevention services. Or they can review a client’s credit history, improve their scores and enhance their overall financial situation.
Home ownership education classes are also offered. They can provide information on the mortgage loan process, budgeting and money management advice, credit repair, and legal support.
Emergency rent or security deposit assistance may be available from the BVCAP / Blackstone Valley Community Action Program. Qualified individuals may be able to receive aid to help in their crisis. Eviction prevention services and more is offered. The agency also develops low income and public housing, such as Project Renew in the Manville Village section of Lincoln or units in Pawtucket.
The Pawtucket Starter Home Program can help pay for closing costs and down payments. Grants or very low interest loans may be offered to income eligible first-time homebuyers. When resources allow, up to $7000 will be paid out.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance is also run from the non-profit Blackstone Valley Community Action Agency. It is free to those that qualify and all the work is done by expert tax preparers trained by the IRS. There is also free electronic filing available. The specialist will also advice clients on the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. (401) 723-4520.
For more information, dial Blackstone Valley Community Action Program at 401-723-4520. The main office can be found at 32 Goff Avenue, Pawtucket, RI 02860.
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