Partnering with many agencies, such as Human Services Department and local agency on aging offices, the Naranja Center provides assistance in an emergency. There may be free food or home delivered meals, financial assistance for rent or paying utility bills, help for the elderly, and other support services. Case managers also have information on both state of Florida and federal government benefits.
The federal government funded Emergency Food and Shelter Assistance Program provides grants for those who are experiencing difficulties. The financial aid is for paying mortgage, rent, and/or utility bill payments. EFSA as well as the Naranja Neighborhood Center also provides temporary shelter and food to those in need.
Security and utility deposits can be paid by the HAG - Housing Assistance Grant. This is another housing program but it assists low-income Miami-Dade County residents with relocation expenses, including single parents with children. Another emphasis is on assisting veterans in the region, however all clients must meet US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Poverty Income Guidelines or be homeless (or on the verge of it) to qualify for this program, and services are available on a one-time-only basis.
The state of Florida Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides financial assistance to low-income individuals and families who are having difficulty paying their summer electric, cooling and gas bills. The LIHEAP Crisis Energy Assistance Program focuses on low income and households in poverty experiencing immediate crisis situations, specifically having received final notices or already having been disconnected from their power.
Those who are determined to be eligible by Naranja Center for Crisis Assistance may receive credit payments on their utility bill accounts. While the annual funding will change, in general crisis assistance participants are permitted to apply twice per year for help, and the service is available during the winter and summer months as well.
LIHEAP also offers the more standard Regular Energy Assistance, which provides a credit payment that will be applied to an existing utility account. Participation in Regular Energy Assistance is restricted to one time per year at most, and eligible participants must continue paying their utility bills until the credits are applied to their accounts.
Care to Share is a donation program in Miami Dade and many other Florida counties. While on the surface it is similar program to LIHEAP, but while that resource is funded by the government, Care to Share is paid for by contributions and private donors. Additionally, Care to Share, which Naranja Center can help people apply to, also provides financial assistance specifically to low-income customers of Florida Power and Light (FPL). Assistance is limited to once per year, per customer, and applicants must have been in crisis situations within the 30 days prior to application.
Another resource for senior citizens is the Elderly Home Energy Assistance Program, or EHEAP. This resource targets households in emergency situations with at least one member who is aged 60 or older. Disconnection notices or delinquent utility bills constitute emergencies. For households whose local human service centers do not provide this service, please inquire about Care to Share or LIHEAP in lieu of them.
Weatherization can also assist with cooling and energy bills. The goal is to help low-income households with lowering their home energy consumption. Not only does this program assist the families in Dade County by reducing their energy bills so that they may divert the money saved to other pressing family needs, but it may be able to address minor safety issues.
The Naranja Neighborhood Center Community Action and Human Services and Public Housing and Community Development collaborate in offering the Home Repair Program. This is a targeted service and is for low to moderate-income single-family homes or condos in the community that are owner-occupied.
The emphasis is on addressing issues that affect health and safety or any type of code violations from the county or city. This may include very minor roof repairs, electrical work, plumbing, and exterior painting. All efforts are focused on maintaining the availability of affordable low-income housing for the senior or low income family, while providing families with improved and enhanced places to live.
The Food and Clothing Distribution Program from the Naranja Center serves income qualified Dade County residents who are experiencing documentable emergency situations. Once an assessment is performed on the applicant by staff members, and they have determined that the individual qualifies for assistance, the client receives a voucher or gift card. This can be used to pay for clothing, supplies, or even emergency food.
The homebound can benefit from Meals on Wheels, which is run in partnership with the Miami-Dade County Community Action and Human Services. The agencies and drivers offer free home-delivered meals to residents who are unable to leave their homes or prepare one on their own, due to disability, illness, or also age. As funding allows, MOW provides seven frozen meals each week, accompanied by milk, fresh fruits, produce, and other food items.
Miami-Dade Community Action and the Naranja Center also partner with the Human Services Department’s Action Center to provide ESOL - English for Speakers of Other Languages courses for non-English speaking, low-income individuals, and this can lead to further job training.
In addition to that, Computer Training courses are available to low-income or even unemployed individuals who would like to work in the technology field, or who simply have a desire to learn more about computers. The course provides instruction in the use of certain software, tips on how to better use personal computers and training in basic office skills.
The location of the Naranja Center is at 13955 SW 264th St., Naranja, FL 33032. Call them at 305-258-5471.
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