Lorain County Catholic Charities assistance programs.
When facing hunger or homelessness, Catholic Charities of Lorain County is a non-profit that may be able to assist. With a focus on low to moderate income families that are working towards self-sufficiency, case managers can direct clients to various emergency programs. Or if a government benefit, such as HEAP or food stamps, may be a better option then applications can be provided to them.
Money raised from the community is used to pay for many of the initiatives that are in place. Volunteers from Catholic Charities are also main contributors to the services. Donations are usually held by churches, businesses, and other groups, and all money collected will go towards good use.
Tenants faced with an eviction can apply for financial aid for their rental expenses, or receive other support from a local church. The Homeless Prevention Program assists residents facing a crisis. Examples may be a court-ordered eviction, home foreclosures, job loss, medical emergencies, fire, and more.
If qualified, staff may guide the resident through options available to them, ranging from grants for housing expenses to mediation with their landlord. There may also be loans used for certain expenses, ranging from rent costs to security deposits. All is focused on keeping the person housed.
One resource that Catholic Charities can put people in contact with is the Ohio Benefit Bank. This is a services in Lorain County that connects low income families and the working poor to either public benefits or tax credits. Examples of the information and applications that can be provided include the following.
- Food Assistance Programs – These can include Women Infants and Children (WIC) as well as food stamps from USDA.
- Free legal aid for low income families and senior citizens in Lorain County Ohio.
- Medical care, such as free prescription medications or Medicaid for the Aged, Blind and Disabled as well as Medicare Part D.
- Government energy bill assistance, such as conservation from weatherization and grants for heating bills from HEAP.
- Housing for seniors and HUD section 8 vouchers.
- SSI disability applications, which is a cash assistance program.
- Emergency assistance such as for rent/mortgage or assistance with deliverable home heating fuels such as fuel oil.
- Free tax preparation from VITA.
Lorain County Catholic Charities can direct clients to the state of Ohio HEAP - Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program. This assists with winter heating and gas bills. Based on funding levels, it can provide financial assistance to very low-income households. The applicant will need to be on the verge of poverty or that are threatened with disconnection of their heating source. There can be some funds in Ohio for paying re-connection fees too.
The regular assistance of HEAP is applied for in advance, and this will offer credits on utility bills. Families in Lorain County faced with a disconnection can use the Crisis Intervention Program, or ECIP in Ohio. This will provide financial help to households which have supply shortage or that run out of fuel or heating oil.
HEAP can pay for electricity, natural gas bills, wood, propane/butane, kerosene, oil, and even coal coke. If approved by the agency, HEAP funds may be used to purchase blankets, air conditioners, fans during the summer months and other energy related products for the home.
Many residents of Lorain County struggle to balance their budgets and get the food they need. So Catholic Charities can assist with this need as well, using the following resources. These will also rely heavily on donations from the community, and are often run in partnership with organizations such as Feeding America.
Catholic Charities MOW, or Meals on Wheels, provides nutritionally well-balanced meals each day. Some services even operate on holidays. MOW is focused on the elderly and/or disabled in Lorain County. The reason food is brought to them is so they can continue to live meaningful, independent and dignified lives in their own homes.
As noted, the free Meals on Wheels program relies heavily on its volunteers. They are used to deliver daily hot meals to handicapped or elderly homebound individuals. The client needs to be unable to prepare their own meals and meet income limits in place by Catholic Charities.
Catholic Charities food pantries also support hungry people in Lorain County. Not only will groceries be offered, or maybe referrals to a soup kitchen, but staff are also involved in advocacy and generating financial support for the needy.
There is also help in registration for supplemental programs, such as the state of Ohio Commodity food/TEFAP (the Emergency Assistance Program) or the similar USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program. These help seniors and children in the region.
Budgeting and savings are stressed from the Catholic Charities of Lorain County Individual Development Account. The service provides families an opportunity to learn how to build assets. The focus is to use the money for paying for college or buying a home. Individuals enrolled in the program make monthly contributions to a savings account and also enroll into credit counseling.
Clients enrolled also receive added guidance from credit counselors and staff. These individuals partner with the church on offering this service. It will include assistance and ongoing encouragement as they work towards their saving goals. Workshops are held as well by non-profit credit counseling agencies that partner with Catholic Charities. There will be budgeting seminars and debt reduction tips too.
The main office is in Elyria Ohio, and the intake line is (440) 244-9915. There may be a waiting list in place, and all resources are limited.