Struggling families from Lake County can contact Gary Neighborhood Services for support. The non-profit, community action agency will use a combination of government and private funding in an effort to help less fortunate families. There are also services focused on the elderly, such as the Senior Companion Program.
Most of the aid will be for basic needs. This means that resources focus on housing and similar expenses. Assistance is also combined with employment and educational support, as Gary Neighborhood Services wants to end the cycle of poverty and provide a hand up. The youth in Lake County Indiana can also take part in development services.
EAP - Energy Assistance Program assists unfortunate, struggling individuals and families with heating their homes during the winter months. Clients of the federally funded program, which is available across Indiana, must meet income guidelines at 150% of the poverty level for eligibility.
Grants issued by the state of Indiana can cover part of a household energy bill, not the entire cost as each participating household must take some responsibility for paying a portion of the utility bill as well. Any Lake County household should not rely on this government aid, but instead people also be making every effort to pay their utility bills year round on their own.
The financial assistance available from Gary Neighborhood Services as part of LIHEAP will not be used for deposits or reconnection fees. A late or disconnection notice is not required for eligibility to the program and the assistance covers gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, wood, and electricity costs. A low-income household that has their utilities included in rent payment may also qualify for a grant too. LIEAP runs from the first week of November through the end of May or when funds have run out. Seniors in Gary Indiana can apply before others from the community.
Potential applicants from Lake County who currently have received a disconnection notice, use bulk fuel or those struggling households that are out of fuel or low on fuel are welcome to come in on a first come, first serve basis to make an appointment with a case manager. Any low-income individual or family not in a dire situation should make contact with their County office for an appointment as well. EAP applications cannot be processed by Gary Neighborhood Services until all the required information is attained.
The amount of energy bill assistance offered through EAP is determined by a benefit matrix which assigns a numerical value to such specific things as source of income, poverty level, and household size. If there are elderly or disabled household members in the home, or if there are children under 6 year sold in the household, then priority may be giving to them by Gary Neighborhood Services.
Additional factors for consideration to the federal funded program include the type of home and type of heating fuel used, therefore, the benefits to each low-income household in Lake County may vary greatly depending on circumstances.
Gary Neighborhood Services can also direct clients to a Summer Cool Program. This is a service that offers air conditioners or credits on electric bill. This is available during the summer months, and this part of LIHEAP typically runs from June 1st to the end of September each year.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) was established in 1976. Gary Neighborhood Services can direct people to this. The goal was for WAP to help struggling, indigent families to have access to energy efficiency for their homes. Funding is used primarily to improve the conservation of a home using the latest technology and testing protocols available in the industry.
Housing assistance from Neighborhood Services in Lake County is in the form of emergency homeless shelters. In some cases, funds may be offered for paying past-due rent assistance, security deposits, or offer eviction help. Although funding is given to meet the needs of local, community neighbors, it comes from the state and federal levels.
Some resources, such as rapid rehousing, offers funding to clients who are currently homeless or face imminent homelessness. The money is also used for paying security deposits on a new apartment. Or there may be funds for first month's rent.
For at-risk, struggling residents of Lake County, there is an Emergency Food Program which is detailed below into several parts.
Clients may be able to have access to food packages up to 12 times a year if they are income eligible. A typical package of groceries for a family of four equals consists of donated food items, paper goods, personal care items and household cleaning supplies. If there is available funding, the Gary Neighborhood Services may be able to add fresh food items like meat, eggs and produce to the package. The exact amount of food is based on the household size.
There are Thanksgiving food packages for eligible households. Other meals are for Christmas or the Easter. Gary Neighborhood Services partners with charities on this.
For individuals who are in poor health (mental or physical) and unable to provide themselves with proper nutrition on a daily basis, the Gary Neighborhood Services Home Delivered Meal program is available to them. Based on an individual assessment and if there are a lack of support systems available to the client, the program steps in to help these struggling, homebound neighbors.
By delivering meals directly to the home, the person who participates is able to stay in their surroundings despite their health issues. This is also less of a financial burden then having a client live in a long term care facility.
Senior Companion is a network of healthier adults who assist others that are more vulnerable so they can continue to live independently in Lake County. The staff also provide support to family caregivers.
Many activities can be done as part of this GNS program. They include grocery shopping, trips to a doctor, basic home repairs, chores, and other tasks necessary to maintaining independence. The volunteer can also notify a medical professional or some other key family members to health problems of their client. Without the help of Senior Companions that are part of Neighborhood Services, many older adults would not be able to continue living at home.
For struggling, unemployed clients in the community, the Career Pathways have been established. Gary Neighborhood Services coordinates a variety of services including workforce education, career counseling, and other training opportunities. In addition, to help clients transition smoothly into the workplace, there are occupational certification workshops, college credit programs, career planning, workforce readiness training, guidance in navigating state of DDD college systems and college readiness preparation available as needed.
Gary Neighborhood Services clients interested in obtaining their GED may qualify once they have passed 4 sub-tests. Once they receive a passing grade, they will obtain their GED (General Educational Development Certificate). The subjects in the sub-tests include Language Arts-Reading, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts-Writing and Mathematics. There is a preparatory class available for each sub-test.
ESL (English as a Second Language) and English & Literacy Civics classes are available in Lake County. These are for individuals who wish to learn, or improve upon, the English language through speaking, listening, reading and writing. These classes teach history and offer other information related to the United States Citizenship test. The program helps students develop skills and acquire the knowledge base to become actively involved employees and community members. Gary Neighborhood Services also tries to provide evening childcare for parents to attend the classes.
Financial Literacy Education and Credit Counseling is available to low-income residents of Lake County Indiana, and this covers a variety of subjects. Gary Neighborhood Services touches on Identifying solutions to your current financial problems, staff give advice on managing and budgeting money, and people can develop a personalized savings/spending plan. There are even Foreclosure Prevention Services.
Gary Neighborhood Services (GNS) is part of the regional network of agencies for the low income. They operate from a center at 300 W 21st Ave, Gary, IN 46407. Call (219) 883-0431.
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