Help is available for expenses ranging from rent to electric or utility bills. The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Bristol County can direct applicants to programs that can assist with everything from dental care to shelter. The case managers as well as volunteers from the churches will also partner with the client, including those in poverty, on both finding a job and gaining long term stability.
Tenants behind on their rent, or people living on the streets, can apply for rental or security deposit assistance. This is a form of homeless prevention in Bristol County. The agency will offer a grant to households to move them into a new affordable apartments in the city of Attleboro or Taunton, or the money can be used to help them avoid eviction.
The homeless prevention services can assist families who are facing a utility disconnection as well, as that can sometimes lead to evictions. This one time financial assistance program can also assist homeless families with an emergency motel stay and can then eventually lead to either temporary or permanent housing.
Eligible households, that agree to case management, may receive payment for first month’s rent and security deposit on a new apartment. Or a small amount of overdue rent will be paid. The average size of a grant is very small as funds are limited. In other cases, staff will refer people to the United Way and federal government funded Emergency Food and Shelter program, which offers one time assistance or a loan to tenants facing homelessness.
The Hotel or Motel Voucher Program is when St. Vincent or its partners provide temporary shelter in local hotels, or maybe even a church run facility. This tends to be an options for homeless families and vulnerable single adults, including veterans or victims of fire and domestic abuse. A voucher, which is for a night or two, is only an option when all shelters in Bristol County are at capacity.
In addition to above, there may be other services available to families or tenants who are in need of crisis assistance. Specialists from Bristol County St. Vincent are knowledgeable of what resources may be available. If a resident has a need for some type of short term support, but does not know where to seek assistance for that need, they should contact the non-profit.
LIHEAP is a grant program designed to encourage regular electric or heating bill payments. The non-profit staff also work to promote energy awareness and encourage reduction through free energy efficiency measures, such as weatherization. Another option is the energy bill crisis intervention services. In some cases, using LIHEAP funds, Bristol County St. Vincent can provide for furnace repair/replacement, heaters during the winter, or just warm blankets.
Emergency Shelters are meant the fill the need for short term housing for homeless families and individuals in Bristol County. There are dozens of beds in the area. Guests of the shelter will also participate in the evening meal program and in some instances there are free morning and noon meals.
Free bus tokens are available on a limited basis for short term travel. This form of transportation assistance is for job seekers or transitional housing program participants. It can also be used by people that need a ride to work if their car is in the shop. The tokens may also be used for necessary appointments such as job interviews.
Society of Saint Vincent Case Management is what is used to tackle the cause of the hardship. Skilled professionals assess the applicant's problems, both personal and financial. They will then develop a case management plan which will assist the client in reaching the goal of self-sufficiency. The services include some or all of the following. The individual will benefit from time management skill building; Budget counseling; Nutrition counseling; Personal hygiene instruction; as well as Communication skill building.
The primary services offered include a minimum of monthly visits to the office for case management. If St. Vincent de Paul can't meet a need, then they will give referrals to other programs and agencies within the larger Bristol County community. In general, the family will get a tremendous amount of support on dealing with the hardship.
Part of the case management process is dealing with employment challenges. The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is a training program funded through the federal government. The clients that use it include, but are not limited to, youth, dislocated workers, single moms rentering the workforce and low-income individuals.
Society of St. Vincent District of Attleboro provides a wide range of services to help individuals find employment opportunities. Using information obtained from employers, people receive help with resumes and interviewing skills, which are critical for finding a job. For those needing to upgrade their job skills in the highly competitive workforce, WIA provides advice for training in a wide range of categories from basic computers to Associates Degree programs. The bus token resources indicated above can also be part of WIA services.
Skills training is arranged too. There is an on site state-of-the-art computer training room for clients to improve their skills, apply for transitional housing, search for employment, and secure a job. Financial literacy classes are offered as well. Other resources arranged by churches that are part of Saint Vincent include enrichment and nutrition classes, medical assessments, toys during the holiday season, and Planned Parenthood.
The uninsured, or people in the shelter, can take part in basic medical or dental care. The goal of the program is to ensure that as many people as possible, with a focus on on children, receive age appropriate dental care or health care check ups. There may be acute care and preventative services, immunizations for flu shots, referrals to dental specialists, assessment of disease, tooth cleanings, and vouchers for medications. The Scoeity has partnerships with local medical and dental providers as well.
For referrals or additional information on services, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and its churches in the District of Attleboro can be reached at 508-409-1452.
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