A wide range of programs are available from the Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County. Much of it is coordinated by their Family Center, and low income families in Watertown and the county can access food programs, emergency heating bill or rent help, and financial counseling services. Other aid is available too.
For financial support, thousands of low-income, unemployed, and working poor households turn to the center each year. A case management approach, incorporating referrals or direct aid, is used to provide information, financial assistance, and linkage to available resources. This can also include referrals to other community agencies, such as the Salvation Army. Services include free food, housing/utility bill assistance, nutrition assistance, educational programming, tax preparation services, and also holiday programs.
The Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County Food Pantry can be turned to for short-term emergency assistance. Those who qualify will be provided with a few day supply of free food or groceries that is balanced among the major groups. Financial support or donations for this is provided by the Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP), the Food Bank of Central NY, the federal funded Emergency Food and Shelter Program, and the Community Services Block Grant program.
NOEP - Nutritional Outreach and Education offers assistance with the SNAP Food Stamp application process and recertification procedures to residents of Jefferson and also nearby St. Lawrence Counties.
Children and students can benefit from the Summer Food Service Program. This provides free nutritious meals to children during the summer or holiday months, when free school meal programs are not available to them. It is run in partnership with the United States Department of Education.
Children under the age of 18 and disabled persons from Jefferson County New York under the age of 21 are encouraged to take advantage of the federal funded free meal program. It will usually sere breakfast, lunch, and even snacks at a variety of locations throughout Jefferson County.
For those residents in need of emergency rental or housing assistance, the Community Action Planning Council is serves as the Fair Housing Office for Jefferson County. Case managers from CAPC offer referrals and information with concerns in regard to evictions or housing.
Staff and counselors will help with addressing issues, answering questions, and/or offering legal support for complaints in the area of housing. Low income residents can also get help with landlord-tenant issues, upcoming evictions and more.
In addition, depending on available funding, the Community Action Planning Council provides financial assistance or loans to households dealing with imminent eviction. This may include rent help, security deposits, utility or heating shut-off, or support for those with an inability to pay first-month rent.
Christmas and holiday free assistance is offered by Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County. This is done in partnership with various other community agencies such as the Salvation Army. The council offers services during the Holidays, such as the Angel Tree, Coats for Kids, the Kiwanis Club Holiday Party for Children, and free food baskets with the Salvation Army.
The New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal Weatherization Assistance Program is administered by Community Action Planning Council. As part of this, trained weatherization contractors utilize testing protocols and the most advanced technologies available in the housing industry to help low-income households reduce their utility and heating costs by making their homes more energy efficient.
Weatherization assistance is for households meeting financial eligibility. Improvements may include Insulating attics, basements, and exterior walls, replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, new heating systems, or also performing tests on refrigerators to determine if they need replacement or repairs.
Free Tax preparation services are organized by Community Action Planning Council. These will be made available for low-income residents of Jefferson County. The non-profits experienced tax preparers undergo training and are certified by the Internal Revenue Service. Low to moderate income residents, including seniors, may receive help with filing federal and state of New York income tax forms.
Childcare Project is a referral service and one-stop resource that helps Jefferson and Lewis County parents locate qualified child and day care providers. The program's Child Care Resource and Referral System (CCR and R) provides people from the community with lists of approved child care providers. Parents can also get referrals to family child care providers, pre-schools, child care centers and school-age programs. Call 315-782-8475 or 800-287-8904.
JLCP also offers advice and consultation services on evaluating and choosing child care. Additionally, the community action agency runs the Child and Adult Care Food Program for group and family child care homes. This will help ensure children get the meals and food they need.
Head Start is offered by CAPC of Jefferson County. It is a federally funded, comprehensive preschool program designed for young children. Lower income Jefferson County New York families must meet federal government established income requirements to participate. However, children with a disability or in high risk situations may be eligible for Head Start regardless of income. The Watertown and Indian River School Districts also offer the Universal Pre-K program, which offers additional educational services.
For more information, the Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County. They also have referrals to partners in northern New York. The center is at 518 Davidson St., Watertown, NY 13601. Dial 315-782-4900.
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