The Harford Community Action Agency of Maryland offers basic needs and emergency assistance to low income families. Residents may qualify for resources such as MEAP heating bill assistance, free food, or homeless prevention in the form of rent help. The non-profit also partners with a number of other organizations and government agencies across Hartford County in an effort to help the less fortunate. They will also work to address the underlying cause of the hardship, so the agency will coordinate job placement, educational services, and similar activities.
A onetime grant is available for utility or heating bills as part of MEAP, Maryland Energy Assistance Program. The aid is for qualified low-income households from Hartford County, and the funds can help them with paying their winter heating bills, including gas and oil.
EUSP - Electric Universal Service Program is also available from Harford Community Action Agency. This is more for current electric bills only, however there is a component that can help reduce past expenses on an account. This form of arrearage assistance may be accessed only once every 7 years by qualified families.
If you are applying for help, the EUSP and MEAP programs use a single shared application that is available at the Harford Community Action Agency (HCAA). If you did receive assistance in previous years, note that prior year applicants will be mailed a new application automatically. If you have not applied for MEAP before, or if you did not get one mailed out, then call the center for information.
Eviction and homeless prevention is available. When funding allows, hundreds of dollars may be paid out to those that qualify. The assistance, or in some cases a loan, may be able to help them pay a portion of their rent. If you are a homeowner, then the money can be used for a mortgage payment. The community action agency issued funds or loans may also be used to pay security deposits for families or individuals who are currently homeless or living in shelters.
This program can be used at most once per year. A number of conditions need to be met, and proof of hardship, income, and more is required. Also, in order to get rent assistance, applicants must have a court-ordered eviction notice from their landlord.
The Harford County Maryland Fuel Fund helps hundreds of households and individuals every year. It assists those with utility shut-off notices. They can get financial aid in order to pay for heating oil or to stay connected on their utility bills. It will also help restore utility service for those residents that are out of fuel, whether it is propane, heating oil, kerosene, or wood.
Income qualified households in need may access the Fuel Fund from Harford Community Action Agency / HCAA once a year at most. It offers assistance based on the amount the household owes to their gas, utility or fuel vendor. Appointments are needed, as well as a copy of the current cut off notice.
The Hartford County Community Action Food Pantry provides support as well. The needy, elderly, or disabled can receive emergency or supplemental food. Clients who are approved to use the pantry may come every 30 days and receive enough of a variety of wholesome foods and fresh fruits to feed their household for a few days.
The HCAA Food Pantry is also a redistribution organization for the statewide Maryland Food Bank. So this means the community action agency works with both faith-based and community organizations. Partners include other pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, after school programs, and residential recovery programs throughout Harford County Maryland.
Children and students can benefit from Summer Meals for Kids. This federal funded program provides nutritious lunches and breakfasts in the summer to students who qualify for government subsidized meals during the regular school year. Harford County Public Schools operates this USDA Summer Feeding Program in partnership with HCAA.
A free Adult Education program enable participants, the jobless, and others to master skills that are necessary to achieve self-sufficiency and employment. One key resource is GED Plus, which provides adult instruction for individuals that are in need of a high school diploma. It is a multiple week class that offers classroom instruction, Financial Literacy, and more. Books, fees, supplies, and other items are provided to students.
A Workshop known as Get That Job! offers underemployed and unemployed individuals a chance to explore their strengths. They can work with teachers to pinpoint areas for improvement, and jump start their job search. Harford Community Action Agency can help clients with learning to apply for jobs, exploring career opportunities, assessing employment skills, completing a resume, and researching local employers.
Financial Literacy Workshops are run in partnership with local credit counselors or financial institutions. They were created in an effort to help families learn to improve their credit, pay down debts, and in general manage scarce resources. Other topics covered include credit repair, identity theft, credit card debt reduction, and income tax filing.
Clients will also access one on one coaching from specialists. This can support individuals and families working to make the changes that will lead to long-term self-sufficiency. They will ideally end up on the right patch to saving, budgeting, and paying their bills.
VITA - Volunteer Income Tax Assistance provides low to moderate income Hartford County families with free tax preparation. The tax counseling advice in Maryland determines the client’s eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit or other deductions that increase refund amounts. The agency will also even offer free e-filing with direct deposit.
The non-profit HCAA - Harford Community Action Agency is located at 1321-B Woodbridge Station Way, Edgewood, MD 21040. Call (410) 612-9909.
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