First AME Church offers services to low-income families in Manassas. The programs and resources are wide ranging, but in general they focus on family centered resources. What will be provided to each applicant will be based on individual assessment of each family’s strengths, priorities and established goals needed to prevent barriers that lead to an unstable life.
The main priority of First AME Church is strengthening the head of the household or responsible adult as they are the key to creating a stable future. With the help of a Family Support Specialist from the agency, the client is guided through a network of programs in Prince William County. There are resources from the ministries that offer support, advocacy and unique tools to help ease the transition to an independent life.
Participants of the case management service work in a committed time period over several weeks of length. This will allow the priorities of the family to be worked on and staff from First AME Church will be able to educate members on ways to achieve their established goals.
Clients will have access to many services. There are members of the community who will help them realize these goals. Some examples of services offered in Prince William County include participation in personal interviews, internet searches for employment, fact finding, practice employment interviews, and educational work through the use of the computer lab. Self-assessments are performed to determine the individual talents and gifts of the participants.
When a family from Prince William County is going through a household emergency or situation crisis such as unpaid bills, eviction notice, utility interruptions or homelessness, a Family Support Specialist from First AME Church will help them navigate through various available resources to help them resolve the issue at hand. Whether it is direct financial aid for a bill or a referral, there may be options available. However most of the support is in the form of referrals.
The process to receive state of Virginia governmental benefits can be very difficult to navigate, however, with the assistance of the Family Support Specialist, clients will be taught how to apply for programs. While there are never any guarantees to this process, it may help with access to SNAP food stamps, Medicaid, Housing, LIHEAP, etc. Clients will also be advocated for when issues or barriers arise that may interrupt receiving or maintaining their benefits.
Grants for paying energy bills are part of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP in Virginia. This is a service for qualified low-income families that assists them with heating or making cooling bill payments.
Any aid given to the household comes in the form of cash grants, which are directly sent to the individual's utility or electric company. There are also crisis grants for participating households who are under the immediate threat of living without heat in their homes.
In addition, there may be other benefits available to clients experiencing an emergency through the LIHEAP crisis program. There are additional funds that may be available to eligible households facing emergency heating issues which may include Lack of fuel or a broken furnace or air conditioner. If the applicant is almost out of fuel during the winter, then staff from First AME Church can also direct them to crisis LIHEAP for that as well.
There is also a First AME Church food program available for needy, low-income families in Prince William. The food is distributed per family, not on an individual basis. Non-perishable groceries, baby formula, fresh food and produce are given out when available, as well as Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday baskets.
There is also a homelessness assistance program. The funding is vary limited though to this resource, which is called Direct Services to Homeless Families. It offers a host of resources for needy, low income, homeless residents of the region. Services offered include emergency shelter, transitional housing, rehousing, and permanent supportive housing.
Homeless families in Prince William County are moved as quickly and efficiently through the system as the program believes in the fundamental right of every human to have safe and secure housing throughout their lifetime. Supportive services are given to help ensure and prevent any threat of homelessness in the future.
Within Prince William County, there is a vast array of Information & Referral Services for eligible clients living an unstable home life. The person's case manager will serve as a conduit for the applicant to receive the necessary support services to help them reach a resolution to overcoming barriers.
Another First AME Church affiliated program available for low-income, eligible families living in Prince William County is the free Tax Preparation Assistance, or VITA. The ministry can direct the person on where to turn to for this. This helps clients prepare taxes free of charge and helps with filing them in a timely manner.
This program is run by volunteer certified tax preparers from across Manassas. It is also available through partnership with the AARP VITA/TCE. The highly trained preparers ensure clients will receive all due government tax credits they may be entitled to such as those for EITC and dependent care. Returns are then often e-filed so refunds are received much faster by the client.
The church is located at 10313 South Grant Avenue, Manassas, Virginia 20110. Call the charity at (703)361-8791 for details.
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