The working poor and unemployed in several counties can contact a local community action agency for help. The non-profit Hope Community Services provides resources such as emergency rental assistance, case management, and referrals to government benefits. Other aid can be coordinated too in the counties of Buckingham, Cumberland, Amelia, Prince Edward, Lunenburg, and Nottoway.
For families facing eviction, the homelessness intervention program offered by Hope Community Services helps those individuals that are in a crisis. There may be loans for paying certain expenses, or staff can assist with finding alternative housing. While more limited, some clients also receive grants for paying rent. This will help in maintaining safe and suitable housing for the family.
Throughout this process there is both guidance and workshops that are mandatory. Hope Community Services will require case management be provided to eligible families in order to get financial help. Services for homeless persons, meanwhile, include individual counseling to help determine clients’ long-term and also their immediate needs. In some cases, referrals are then made to local agencies in the Prince Edward or Buckingham area that can provide shelter, transitional housing or short-term financial assistance.
Very low income families can explore the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program in Virginia. Among other things, it will help eligible families obtain affordable low income housing. They will get help with paying the monthly rent through a subsidized voucher or certificate program that provides financial assistance with monthly utility or rent payments.
This HUD issued vouchers allow families to live in the home of their choice as long as it meets safety standards determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as the state of Virginia. The non-profit agency oversees the program for the state’s Housing Development Authority, and the program is funded by the federal government as part of HUD.
Furthermore, Hope Community Services offers free counseling and foreclosure prevention services to families that are behind on their mortgage. The fully Comprehensive Housing Counseling Service assists clients with all aspects of both buying and owning a home. This program is free of charge to those that qualify and is also available to individuals without regard to race, religion, income or national origin. The staff from the agency are also HUD-approved specialists.
A First-Time Homebuyers service provides help to those seeking to purchase a home in counties such as Cumberland or Prince Edward. Clients can access budgeting, credit repair and homebuyer educational services. This is available for a wide range of individuals who want to purchase a home, whether a condo or even mobile unit.
Hope Community Services teaches participants budgeting skills and investigates and cleans up the credit history of its clients. Examples of the instructional topics also include the legal aspects of home purchasing and homeownership, fair housing issues, insurance issues, how to avoid predatory lending, home maintenance activities and mortgage shopping.
To expand on above, Hope Community Services works to stop cold or prevent mortgage delinquency or default through its foreclosure prevention program. What may be offered, including individual and free group counseling, is available to borrowers. Topics covered at the center include seeking loan forbearance, restructuring home mortgages, establishing reinstatement plans, and managing household finances.
This foreclosure program focuses on topics such as predatory lending, foreclosure prevention and education, and loss-mitigation strategies. Individual counseling is available in the region for clients facing foreclosure. Staff from Hope Community Services can participate in direct negotiation with lenders in an effort to prevent foreclosure of their home.
The organization also helps people find an affordable rental home or apartment as well. Individual counseling is designed to help people evaluate rental-assistance programs, learn about tenant and landlord rights, budget for their monthly rent payments and understand the eviction process. Although counselors do not actually find housing for clients, they provide free guidance and information on how to search for and select a rental home in counties including Cumberland, Amelia, Prince Edward, and Lunenburg.
Debt reduction as well as other financial-skills education is available through the community action agency. It will help individuals live within their means. Counselors work with clients to review budgets and spending priorities.
In addition to all of the services above, the agency offers emergency home repair services to owner-occupied dwellings, with a focus on the disabled and seniors in the service area. It is for those homes that are in need of basic repairs or that are under serious stress.
Priority is given to senior citizens, single parents with young children and persons with disabilities. Examples of repairs done by contractors may include home modifications for handicap accessibility and similar updates. Through partnerships, the agency will even try to assist individuals and families residing in homes that lack water or sewer systems, or have systems that are failing or do not meet basic standards.
If someone doesn’t qualify for a low cost repair, then housing counseling is also available to guide homeowners through the repair process and includes a review of finances to ensure repairs are financially feasible. The agency will try to offer advice on how to select and oversee a contractor for the work.
Educational services are offered. Students from the area can meet for workshops once a week or so to explore their options for life after high school. There is also information on GED testing and resources targeted at adults in Hope Community Services counties supported.
The organization also oversees both Head Start and Early Head Start programs. These are available under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and provide comprehensive educational services to low-income children and their families. These federally and state of Virginia funded programs prepare children for kindergarten through cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. It also addresses basic medical and nutritional needs.
Head Start serves families with under the age of 6 that meet income limits. The free and confidential program is tailored to each child’s age, experience and even heritage. Teachers that take part in Head Start offers training and job opportunities to parents and provides services to children with special needs.
The Hope Community Services Early Head Start serves pregnant women and children up to three years in age. The program promotes healthy family functioning as well as prenatal outcomes. Early Head Start works to strengthen the development of children in the family as young as newborn infants.
The agency also have partnerships with other organizations in the region. Or staff can refer clients to public benefits. For more information on any services, dial (434) 315-8990 or stop by 103 South Main Street in Farmville, VA 23901.
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