Centerstone supports a diverse group of low income families, including seniors, the disabled, and unemployed. Several assistance programs are offered across Seattle Washington. The community action agency also runs job placement and employment services.
The community action agency of Centerstone offers a service to assist people who need help paying their winter heating and other utility bills. They provide this resource from their Energy Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance and cash grants to qualified families. A focus is on the elderly and families with children in King County Washington.
The funding is available through LIHEAP and another program known as PSE HELP. It can assist low-income residents in King County. It is usually combined with weatherization type services or other conservation.
Puget Sound Energy customers that use natural gas may apply for both LIHEAP as well as PSE HELP. Since that is the case, applicants and those seeking assistance can receive 2 grants which will be made up of one from LIHEAP and one from HELP.
This service is used to assist households and help them manage the rising costs of residential heating. Clients can receive grants to pay home heating bills alongside energy conservation training to lessen future heating costs of homes. The program will also repair any broken windows or heating systems and may offer other minor repairs.
Emergency rent assistance is used to stop homelessness within the city of Seattle. Part of this service is to make sure that participants are able to secure and maintain affordable housing, so additional funds may be used to pay security deposits or part of a moving expenses.
Note that in some cases loans may be issued. This program is for those who have fallen behind on rent payments and may be facing an eviction. Eligible applicants of the Energy Assistance Program may also qualify for the Rental Assistance from Centerstone. Both of these, when combined, assist with eviction prevention. Centerstone works along with various local housing agencies or charities that offer temporary, transitional, and permanent affordable housing as well. It is usually for those that have referrals.
As part of this, case managers from Centerstone will also conduct home visits at minimally once a month or more as needed. These home visits are to focus on the participant’s goals, concerns about employment, any landlord/tenant issues, financial management, or other objectives. A room-by-room inspection of the home or apartment may be performed as needed. Workshop attendance that focus on self-sufficiency are required as well as ongoing, follow-up services.
Other housing assistance from Centerstone is available in the form of financial aid or loans for numerous costs. This may be to make a partial rent payment, moving expenses or the funds are used to assist prevention of eviction to reduce the number of people that are homeless. It can also stabilize the housing of participants. Referrals are made to partners as well.
A pantry operates in the greater Seattle region and serves as a free food program for those that are less fortunate. Many people that receive SNAP or WIC still need more help. Centerstone’s Food Bank is there to assist them and others.
Food packages from the non-profit pantry include fresh produce, dairy items, canned and nonperishable goods, meats. There are also personal hygiene items such as toothpaste, shampoo, paper towels, etc. Formula and infant care items may also be available from Centerstone. Proof of hardship, income and more is needed.
The Food Bank also provides a home delivery service for elderly, the disabled and verifiably homebound persons. To be eligible for this service, applicants must live within the sip code areas of 98112, 98122 or 98102. Call (206) 812-4970 for more information on the delivery service.
A Financial Education Program from Centerstone is for people who live within the city of Seattle or the county. This program addresses the financial struggles of poor people in the city and regional community by providing them with an education to better manage their personal finances. This will also deal with credit issues and assist them to reduce any debts they may have. This is a critical step in the process of helping families become more self-sufficient.
The USDE (Department of Energy) offers a Weatherization Assistance program in Washington state. It is the main program for providing energy efficiency modifications to the homes or apartments of low-income families. They use professionally trained weatherization crews from Centerstone to perform on-site home energy audits that use the newest technology to find outside drafts and inspect heating/cooling systems for efficiency.
Based on the results of that, weatherization crews may install seal air leaks, insulation, make modifications to (or replace) existing heating systems and make other minor home repairs that ensure the safety of your home. After installation, these energy reducing modifications will help people reduce their heating costs and cooling bills for years.
Centerstone realizes that keeping homes warm and energy-efficient is an important task to undertake that can help households to save money. Applicants who qualify for the LIHEAP Program referenced above may also qualify for repairs to their home’s existing furnace or a replacement of a new system. In some cases there may be a window replacement done as well. Applying for the Home Heating Repair Services may provide the homeowner with a cash grant to service, repair, or replace a broken furnace, heating system, or chimney or repair windows.
The United Way of King County, in partnership with community action agencies, operates several free income tax preparation service sites at local community centers, libraries and non-profit agencies. They coordinate free services for households that earned less than $50,000 per year. Known as the VITA Program, it offers FREE e-filing of completed tax returns. This service is open to the public that meet low income guidelines.
The King County – Seattle Asset-Building Coalition will connect individuals with a variety of asset-building programs which include such as credit/debt counseling; access to affordable, mainstream banking; public benefits; financial planning, education, and coaching; free income tax preparation; homeownership and foreclosure prevention. The goal is to improve the consumers overall financial profile.
The main Centerstone site is at 722 18th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122-0437. Call (206) 812-4940.
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