Less fortunate families, seniors, and the disabled can turn to Community Teamwork, Inc. for assistance. The non-profit community action agency administers several resources across Middlesex County Massachusetts. While short term assistance may be offered, or available from referrals, the focus is on getting residents from Massachusetts back on the path to long term stability. To this end, case management and guidance is also often mandatory..
Housing, heating and utility support is available. The non-profit will work qualified individuals that are trying to pay their rent and utility expenses and that need housing security. Resources are also available for the homeless and/or those from the community that are striving towards homeownership. The non-profit may also have information on low income housing units and apartments through partnerships with local cities and towns in northern Massachusetts. The goal is to help families access affordable, safe, and decent housing, including receiving help with weatherization and fuel assistance if needed.
Emergency housing assistance is offered by the Housing Education Center. This is an option across many towns and cities in Middlesex County, including North Shore, Merrimack Valley and Cape Ann region. The case managers from the center will provide housing and tenant counseling to those that are faced with instability. There may also be short term rent or mortgage assistance. Or work with case managers to get referrals to other Community Teamwork partners or government organizations.
A focus of the emergency housing and counseling is on those families that are faced with foreclosure, eviction, or that maybe lost their home due to a fire or some other crisis.
Community Teamwork tries to ensure people from the community have food to eat so they can concentrate on their job, school, training, and otherwise feed their families. This can lead to even greater health and independence.
The non-profit works with regional food pantries, churches and charities. They have information on USDA-government sponsored commodity programs, faith-groups and community kitchens. Also, in a crisis when emergency food shortages hit a household, they may have vouchers that are redeemable at local grocers or staff can help people sign up for federal programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or WIC.
The WIC program (Women, Infants, and Children) is a federally sponsored, free nutrition program for Massachusetts families that provides formula, healthy foods, groceries, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to social services and healthcare. The goal of WIC is to keep pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under age 5 healthy. It can provide for nutrition education and counseling so mothers can learn the importance of appropriate feeding for infants and how to make good food choices.
Vouchers may be issued as well that can be used to shop at participating grocery stores or pharmacies for the WIC approved foods. Examples of what can be bought in Massachusetts includes fruits, vegetables, milk, cheese, whole grains, eggs, 100 % fruit juice, iron fortified cereal, baby foods and vegetables, peanut butter, dried beans, and infant formula. The WIC services administered are intended to supplement the participant’s primary care.
Several services for families, children, and their overall development are administered. Developmental Best is the affordable child education and care programs for children under the age of 5. Services are offered for parent education and referrals to professional services. Extended Day Care for Working Parents is available for infants, young children up to age 5 and middle school age children. Other programs offer full access to our financial literacy, housing, utility bill and nutrition programs as well as asset building.
Family Child Care Services in Middlesex County are for families whose children are receiving state of Massachusetts childcare subsidies. The non-profit community action agency will match the family’s unique childcare needs within the approved and certified network of Child Care Homes. There are numerous centers in Lowell, Wakefield, and other towns.
Winter heating bill assistance is part of Fuel Assistance. The main resource is LIHEAP, which is also known as Fuel Assistance. It can assist eligible households with paying a portion of their winter heating bills, including gas or electricity. Eligibility for fuel assistance will be based on the applicant’s household size and their gross annual income.
Any payments made from fuel assistance are sent directly to your heating vendor for primary energy needs. The funds are not sent to the beneficiary. Aid is available in Middlesex County for any type of heating fuel, including oil, electricity, natural gas, or propane.
Home Modification Loan Program is administered from Community Teamwork, Inc. and is for the disabled or elderly that need increased accessibility. Improvements or modifications made will allow the resident to continue living independently. The community action agency program provides low or maybe even zero percent interest loans to homeowners who need to modify their homes.
There are conditions. Based on the applicants income eligibility, both landlords and homeowners in northern Middlesex County may even apply for up to $30,000. If qualified, the assistance will be issued in the form of a deferred payment or amortized loan.
There are several different options for Middlesex County residents. Examples of them include Appliance Management Program (AMP), Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), and also the Heating System Repair and Replacement (HEARTWAP). The primary goal of these programs is to help people save money, reduce energy and heating costs for low-income families with a focus on the disabled, elderly, and families with children. The non-profit also works closely with National Grid, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Energy, NSTAR, and other energy companies and nonprofit agencies to energy efficiency services.
The federal funded Weatherization Assistance Program offers services such as a free audit to determine which measures may be best for your home. As funding allows, homeowners may receive a few thousand dollars worth of improvements such as ways to reduce air infiltration, insulation, performance of tune-ups and repairs to heating and cooling systems. Appliances can also be fixed or replaced if needed.
People can apply for the Heating System Weatherization Repair and Replacement Program (HEARTWAP) at Community Teamwork, Inc. This is available from grants that are issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. This program provides heating system repair and replacement to qualified low-income households.
The last, main conservation resource in Massachusetts is the Appliance Management Program. In an attempt to reduce the households total electric consumption, staff from Community Teamwork may replace for free your freezer, refrigerator, and window A/C unit. Households will be given a new “Energy Star” certified appliance.
Community Teamwork Inc. is based out of an office at 17 Kirk St., Lowell, Massachusetts 01852, (978) 459-0551. They offer services in many towns and cities in Middlesex County, including Billerica, Gloucester, Lowell, Stoneham, Bedford, and many others.
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