Low income families can turn to the Community Action, Inc. for emergency assistance as well as referrals, guidance, and self-sufficiency. The local non-profit provides coverage to the counties of Clearfield, Jefferson, Clarion, and Elk in Pennsylvania. While the resources available are limited, they can address some basic needs, either directly or by referrals.
Some examples of what is offered is noted below. Most of the resources are limited, as they often rely on government grants from programs such as the Emergency Food and Shelter. Other assistance depends on donations, such as what is available at the food pantry or for the holiday assistance.
Community Action’s Food Bank is always under high demand. It provides once per month, free emergency supplemental food services to eligible residents from counties such as Clarion and others. While more limited as it depends on availability of funding and donations, Community Action also offers free Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter Holiday meal assistance.
The local food pantry is funded with donations from benefactors, fund raisers, and charities. It helps dozens of families in a given month. It is located at 30A South Sheridan Road, Clarion, PA 16214 as has limited hours. Call 814-226-4785.
Rent help and eviction prevention is part of the ESRA - Emergency Shelter and Rental Assistance Project. The JCCAP not for profit community action agency provides services that may include financial assistance or grants to individuals faced with issues such as homelessness. There is also help for those with an eviction notice or facing the risk of becoming homeless.
Assistance can help solve housing emergencies (foreclosure, late rent, eviction, and essential utility termination). Or the agency can coordinate emergency shelter or help clients with locating permanent housing.
For income eligible households, ESRA may provide financial assistance to help pay for security deposits, rent, utilities, mortgage, and even short term emergency shelter. ESRA also provides case management services that assist in creating individualized housing stability plans. There will be an onsite case manager interacting with the household on at minimum a monthly basis to assess outcomes and progress.
If and when needed, there are referrals to other community resources in Clearfield, Jefferson, Clarion, or Elk for further help. Some agencies may only offer a loan as a form of emergency rent help, but that can also be useful in preventing an eviction. The ESRA Project is supported by funding provided by the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement program. Grants and funds are also administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s.
In addition to that, Community Action (JCCAP) offers rental or deposit assistance to homeless or potentially homeless veterans and their families. This is available through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. It is funded through a U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs grant. SSVF provides the following services to clients.
Weatherization and the Energy Conservation Project from Community Action Inc. was designed to help low-income families save money by reducing home energy consumption. Both owners and renters of homes are eligible for weatherization, provided they meet income and other guidelines. Recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or TANF - Temporary Aid to Needy Families are usually automatically eligible.
Once an application is approved for the homeowner, an auditor visit the home to suggest additional energy-saving measures and discuss needed changes. The auditor determines needed materials, and whether appliances require inspection by a heating contractor. Independent contractors from counties such Clarion or Jefferson will install materials, such as insulation or maybe even a new furnace.
Employment needs can be met by Work Ready, which is a job-readiness project funded by the Department of Public Welfare. It tries to help residents improve their skills with the goal of offering access to transportation and eliminating barriers to employment. Also get help with child care and education needs. To be eligible, you must be a recipient of Temporary Aid to Needy Families, also known as TANF, and also be referred to Work Ready by the County Assistance Office (CAO).
Medical Assistance recipients in need of help with non-emergency transportation to covered appointments can turn to low cost Transportation Program known as MATP. Using privately-owned vehicles, public transit, and para transit, the Community Action Inc. program provides transportation to and/or from a physician’s office, medical facility, dentist’s office, hospital, clinic, pharmacy, or supplier of medical equipment. Qualified low income families can use this for the purpose of receiving medical treatment, evaluation, or for the purchase of medical equipment or prescription drugs.
There are several offices of Community Action in Pennsylvania. The primary centers are below.
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