Whether you need a grant for paying bills or full time employment, your local community action agency in Pennsylvania may be able to help. The non-profit organizations offer a number of services to low income families and those faced with poverty.
The specific programs and resources offered by each agency will vary and depend on funding and other conditions. In general, families can receive short term financial assistance at the same time as longer term stability. This can include career counseling, job training, educations, and financial counseling.
A number of Outreach programs are administered. Many provide emergency assistance, cash grants, service planning, crisis intervention and case management to low income and economically disadvantaged families and individuals.
Depending on resources, assistance can include assistance with food pantry referrals. Emergency rent, housing and energy bill payments may be offered. Agencies can also team up with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare to offer additional rent help.
Community action agencies generally work closely with area food pantries to insure people and children have access to food during times of crisis. Many centers also serve as distribution sites for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) that provides boxes of food to eligible senior citizens.
Social workers also work with utility and gas companies like PPL and UGI to insure that their customers have options and financial assistance available to them when it comes to pay their utility and heating bills.
For example, community action agencies can provide information about the following. PPL's OnTrack Program is an option that offers a special reduced monthly payment on your energy bills. It can also waive a portion of any debt you owe your utility company. Operation HELP is another program that provides emergency grants and financial aid to pay heating bills for low income customers and seniors with financial hardships. The Customer Assistance and Referral Services/CARES is offered to people who are faced with a temporary hardship that will cause them to be late on their bills. Another option is CAP, or Customer Assistance Program (CAP). This will set a monthly payment based on a percentage of your household income and size.
The Pennsylvania Low Income Usage Reduction (LIURP) is utility-sponsored savings program. It will help low-income residential customers conserve energy and reduce their utility bills.
Many agencies work with the non-profit Dollar Energy Fund. This organization offers grants for paying heating and utility bills to Pennsylvania customers. It can pay for gas, water, or other electric bills. Neighbor for Neighbor is another energy program that focuses on heating bills, and is mostly offered in Northwestern Pennsylvania.
Receive water bill assistance from the H2O Help to Others and Dollar Energy Fund. Grants can help qualified customers pay bills and/or offer them a 20 percent discount on Pennsylvania American's monthly service charge. Or receive free water-conserving devices such as low-flow shower heads.
Weatherization is available across Pennsylvania, and apply at a community action agency. Get help with maintaining your electric service from lower payments. Specialists will provide energy education and conservation tips, and weatherization will lower a customer's actual electric usage and bills.
Food is offered from the SNAP Outreach Program. This is also commonly known as Food stamps, and it helps low income families and the unemployed stretch precious dollars at the grocery store. Use vouchers to buy a variety of healthy foods, such as grains (especially whole grains), vegetables and fruits. Case managers can help people with little or no income apply for SNAP assistance.
Many community action agencies can help people apply for public aid such as the Women Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition program. This is focused on improving the health of eligible lower income pregnant women, new mothers, and children. It offers healthy foods, nutrition education, formula, breastfeeding support, and referrals to health and social programs in Pennsylvania.
The Medical Assistance Transportation Program is coordinated by non-profits (such as your local community action agency), the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and senior centers. The program provides free or low cost transportation to medical services for Medical Assistance (MA) consumers who do not have other transportation available to them.
Senior Centers in Pennsylvania provide a free breakfast and a hot lunch daily to the elderly. They also hold recreational and social activities. Other services provided by a center can include health screenings, information/referral services, transportation services and medical assistance from services such as Medicare. Or learn how to create wills, legal documents, living wills, and get help on your taxes.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program is paid for by the United States Department of Agriculture but is administered by community action agencies and the state of Pennsylvania, Department of Education. It will improve the nutrition and health of adults and children. It also encourages the development of good eating habits through advice and education.
Head Start is for children from low income families. Services can, among other things, help develop the early math and reading math skills of young children so they can be successful in school. It can also help special education students.
The program will increase the cognitive and social development of children. It works by providing health, educational, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled families and children. Head Start also engages parents in their child's development and learning. Parents too can receive help in making progress toward their employment, educational, and literacy goals.
Head Start offers age appropriate activities to children, and this is done in a well-structured environment that helps each student become school ready. As indicated, children with special needs are also included in all classroom or home-based activities. The agencies in Pennsylvania also have partnerships with behavioral health providers and doctors in order to facilitate the referral process for children with extra special needs.
Nutrition is also offered, and this includes healthy meals and snacks. Health care is addressed, as all children receive free dental and health screenings from health centers in Pennsylvania. Children can also receive immunizations and immediate care.
Parents are key participants as well. They need to be involved in all aspects of the program. Case managers from a community action agency can also provide parents with other assistance, such as help them find a job.
Child Care Centers are available in most town and cities, and your community action agency is often aware of them. Locations can provide affordable yet high quality care for children of all backgrounds and cultures.
Prepared Renter Education Program (PREP) is offered in partnership of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) and a local non-profit agency. It will help people become successful tenants and advise them on their rights.
The Financial Education Counseling program will help prospective homeowners learn the benefits of saving toward a goal of home purchase. Included is First-time Homebuyers Education. HUD approved counselors provide guidance and advice to help families and individuals improve their housing conditions.
Housing Counseling services include First-time Homebuyer Workshop, Credit Repair & Budget Counseling, one-on-one Pre-Purchase Counseling, and also the USDA 502 and 504 Loan and Grant programs. Some programs are offered in partnership with non-profits like NeighborWorks America.
Services are wide ranging and mostly free. Receive educational and outreach services. This includes home buyer education, free foreclosure prevention, Credit basics, and information on Pennsylvania fair Housing laws.
Homeless Prevention, Rapid Re-Housing Program is paid for by federal government grants. Another housing program is known as Rental Assistance Program. Both offer financial assistance to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless. Money can pay rent, heating, or energy bills. The program can also help those who are experiencing homelessness to be quickly re-housed and stabilized. Apply for housing relocation, emergency short-term or medium-term rental assistance and other stabilization services. Assistance can also include activities as landlord/tenant mediation, credit counseling, case management, security or utility deposits, utility bill payments, and moving cost assistance.
Rental counseling and assistance is offered. This includes assistance in locating, securing, and maintaining an apartment or rental property. Get help in filling out section 8 application, understanding lease, and budget counseling.
The Work Ready Program is offered across the state by Community Action Agencies. It offers a full range of employment and job training services to Temporary assistance to needy families (TANF).
Regardless of your background, your education, or why you are unemployed, the program provides a holistic assessment of each client and takes into account all facets of the participant’s life. Although full time employment and an increased income is the ultimate goal of the program, a myriad of other significant areas are covered by your community action agency while participants are enrolled.
Clients develop a list of personal resources and create an individual plan to set mid to long term goals in order to have a more stable and secure life for their families.
The Work Ready Program also provides TANF recipients with education services, skills training, work activities and job placement services, all of which is designed to enable people to become self-sufficient. Receive intense case management, job application completion, resume development, interviewing skills and help with the identification of job opportunities. The Pennsylvania Work Ready program also helps remove barriers to finding employment by assisting with transportation issues, child care and job readiness skills.
Job Development Classes will help people who are interested in securing new or better employment. Classes are offered across Pennsylvania. Topics include how to prepare for interviews, resume development, and career counseling.
Other services include free job search assistance, access to all employment & training services, and use of a computer for employment related work and searches. Work with a specialist to both find a job, and get feedback. Click for more details.
Computer Learning Centers are open at some community action agencies. Volunteers and staff provide technology education. Classes include computer basics, how to use Microsoft Office Programs including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher.
The Employment Skills Training Program, or ESTP, offers free services for working poor, unemployed and otherwise income eligible residents. Case managers provide motivated individuals with outdated or unmarketable skills with the coaching, information, employment/ training opportunities and case management to make people valuable in the job market.
Meet with a specialist for an assessment, which is designed to measure skills. Other assistance includes job searching, resume writing, and skills training. Participate in computer training classes. Also get access to a full-time Employment Coach that is employed by a community action agency.
Experience Works Program is for seniors in Pennsylvania. It offers them valuable work experience, and people can get a job with local charitable organizations.
PA WORKWEAR will provide individuals with free clothing that will enable people to start a new job, work an internship, go on interviews, or participate in other work related functions. Your community action agency may be able to provide professional, business casual, and job specific clothing. Receive a free interview suit, hospital scrubs, business casual attire, steel-toe boots etc.
Financial Literacy Classes will help individuals interested in learning to better manage their family's finances. Classes cover budgeting, debt reduction, credit repair, and foreclosure counseling.
The Family Self-Sufficiency Program is for section 8 tenants. It offers intensive case management and support services to help the family develop a progressive goal plan. Case managers will help all the members of a family move towards self-sufficiency. Get assistance with developing goals and managing finances. Programs address Housing, Education, Finances, Child Care, Transportation, Health Care, Substance Abuse, and Employment needs.
Community Services are the core of many Pennsylvania agencies. Resources will help people alleviate their poverty and/or homeless situation. Your community action agency works in conjunction with state of Pennsylvania and federal government agencies, utility companies, and private corporations to administer programs for the low income. Apply for rental/mortgage assistance, first time homebuyer information, foreclosure counseling, get help opening a family savings account, debt reduction and budget counseling. Case managers will offer these services.
Community action agencies in Pennsylvania also serve as VITA income tax filing sites. Highly trained volunteers and staff help people by preparing both federal and state of Pennsylvania income taxes free of charge. They will ensure people benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit as qualified.
Assets for Independence is offered in some counties, and it a matched savings account program for lower-income working families. The state and public aid provide a $2 matching grant for every $1 a participant saves. Money needs to be used to pay for school, a first home, or job training. The program is often combined with classes such as Pre-Home Purchase Counseling, budgeting, credit repair, and other free advice.
The Economic Self-Sufficiency Program will empower participants with the skills, education, and resources necessary to achieve permanent economic self-sufficiency and get people off of welfare or public assistance. Case managers from your local agency will help participants acquire the education, skills and employment to permanently leave poverty and increase their income.
Assistance can help with securing employment that pays a family-sustaining wage. Receive access to safe reliable transportation, create a balanced household budget, find affordable housing that is safe and comfortable, and sign up for a Pennsylvania health plan.
The focus of the Emergency Prevention and Stabilization program is to help people across Pennsylvania overcome a crisis and barriers to self-sufficiency. Programs can assist with utility shutoff, eviction, or job training. An experienced Self-Sufficiency Coach from your community action agency will work with you to assess the emergency, develop a plan to prevent future emergencies and stabilize the situation. Apply for a onetime cash grant.
Allegheny County DHS-Office of Community Services
One Smithfield St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2225
Telephone number is (412) 350-6617
This location both processes application for public aid and serves as the local community action agency. They partner with the non-profit immediately below.
Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc.
249 North Craig Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Information and referrals are available from this community service affiliated agency. Continue with Pittsburgh Community Services.
Armstrong County Community Action Agency
Address - 705 Butler Road
Kittanning, PA 16201
Berks Community Action Program, Inc.
Mailing address is P O Box 22
Reading, PA 19603-0022
Call (610) 376-6571
Resources from the non-profit agency range from rent help to information on Pennsylvania mortgage assistance in the form of low interest loans. Head Start and other services, such as debt reduction, are offered too. More.
Blair County Community Action Agency
2100 Sixth Avenue, Suite 102
Altoona, PA 16602
Main telephone: (814) 946-3651
Bucks County Opportunity Council, Inc.
Address - 100 Doyle Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
Call the center for information on job training, energy bill assistance, and various case management services. Outreach and Stabilization services from the community action agency can provide financial aid to income qualified families. Read more.
Butler County Community Action and Development
Address is PO Box 1208
Butler, PA 16003-1208
Main phone number is 724) 284-5125
(724) 284-1063. Various programs are administered. Find more details.
Carbon County Action Committee For Human Services
267 South Second Street
Lehighton, PA 18235
Primary phone - (610) 377-6400
CAP of Lancaster County
601 South Queen Street, P.O. Box 599
Lancaster, PA 17603-0599
Call (717) 299-7301 for intake
Apply for low income programs at this agency. Get help with nutritional needs, food, medical care, and more from social workers. Click here.
Center for Community Action
195 Drive In Lane
Everett, PA 15537
Several counties are supported by the non-profit. Residents of Bedford, Fulton, and Huntingdon should call this agency.
Central Pennsylvania Community Action, Inc. – Centre and Clearfield County.
Office location - 270 East Cherry Street
P.O. Box 792
Clearfield, PA 16830
Telephone: (814) 765-1551
Central Susquehanna Opportunities, Inc.
2 East Arch Street, Suite 313
Shamokin, PA 17872
Telephone number - (570) 644-6575
Information is provided to seniors. Call about grants, poverty fighting resources and free support services.
Commission on Economic Opportunity of Luzerne County
Address is 165 Amber Lane
P.O. Box 1127
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-
Community Action Agency of Delaware County, Inc.
201 West Front St.
Media, PA 19063
Telephone: (610) 891-5101
One of the main locations for residents and the unemployed to call. Apply for emergency assistance, grants, job training and educational services. Get more information.
Community Action Commission
Location - 1514 Derry Street
Harrisburg, PA 17104
Telephone number - (717) 232-9757
Counties – Dauphin, Cumberland, and Perry
The non-profit services a wide region. Case managers work with qualified low income clients on energy bill assistance programs, weatherization/conservation, rent help and more. The center tries to help clients regain self-sufficiency. Details on programs from Community Action Commission.
Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, Inc.
1337 East Fifth Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Call (610) 691-5620 for intake.
Residents of Lehigh and Northampton can call this agency. Some services, such as food and heating bill programs, are also offered for Montgomery and Bucks County. Other assistance includes job training, transitional housing, loans for certain expenses such as a partial rent payment, and referrals. Continue.
Community Action Partnership of Cambria County
516 Main Street
Johnstown, PA 15901
Dial the agency at (814) 536-9031
Community Action Partnership of Mercer County
Main address is 75 S. Dock Street
Sharon, PA 16146
Telephone number: (724) 342-6222. Click details on programs.
Community Action Southwest
Office is at 150 W. Beau Street, Suite 304
Washington, PA 15301-4425
The southwestern part of the state is covered, including the counties of Washington and Greene. If you need help and live in this area, call the community action agency for assistance. Read more.
Community Action Partnership of Somerset County
535 East Main Street
Somerset, PA 15501
Community Action, Inc. of Jefferson and Clarion
105 Grace Way
Punxsutawney, PA 15767-1209
Call (814) 938-3302
Several programs are available, including grants for paying security deposits and energy bills as part of LIHEAP. Job training, free Christmas meals, and more is available from community action. Learn more.
Community Progress Council, Inc.
226 East College Avenue
York, PA 1740
Phone number is (717) 846-4600
Provides services and aid to all of York County PA. More information.
Community Services Program of Beaver County
Address is 1013 Eighth Avenue
Beaver Falls, PA 15010
Telephone number is (724) 847-3889
They offer information on many government benefits for struggling families, and find more details on Beaver County Community Action Programs.
County of Chester Department of Community Development
601 Westtown Road, Suite 365
West Chester, PA 19380-0990
Programs include CareerLink job training and placement. Another focus is on homeless prevention, which may include funds or grants to pay rent, a mortgage, or security deposit. Or contact the community action agency for credit and debt counseling services. Continue reading.
Fayette County CAA, Inc.
108 N. Beeson Avenue
Uniontown, PA 15401
Call (724) 437-6050 for information and hours. Read more Community Action Agency Fayette County.
Greater Erie Community Action Committee (GECAC)
18 West Ninth Street
Erie, PA 16501
Programs include Head Start, worker training, and grants for LIHEAP and weatherization. This community action agency also has rent help and homeless prevention services. More on community action in Erie Pennsylvania.
Indiana County Community Action Program
827 Water Street
Indiana, PA 15701
Main number - (724) 465-2657
Lawrence County Community Action Partnership
Agency is at 241 W. Grant Street
New Castle, PA 16103
Telephone number is (724) 658-7258
LCCAP offers many low income programs. They can process applications to LIHEAP or refer single parents to affordable child care. Addressing lack of housing, including for rent and heating bill may also be arranged among other services. More information.
Lebanon County Community Action Partnership
503 Oak Street
Lebanon, PA 17042
Weatherization services, referrals, and long term case management is offered. Also inquire about foreclosure prevention and rental assistance programs in the region.
Lycoming-Clinton Counties for Community Action, STEP, Inc.
Primary address is 2138 Lincoln Street
Williamsport, PA 17701
Main number is (717) 326-0587
Mayor's Office of Community Services
990 Spring Garden Place, 7th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19123
This is the community action agency for the greater Philadelphia county and metropolitan area. A main focus in on employment, referrals to government benefits and utility company assistance programs.
Monroe County Grants Office
Address - 1 Quaker Plaza, Room 204
Stroudsburg, PA 18360
Telephone number is (570) 517-3129
Montgomery County Community Action Development Commission
113 East Main Street
Norristown, PA 19401
Call (610) 277-6363 for information
Examples of programs include water bill assistance from Helping Hands, SNAP applications and free income tax services. More details.
Northern Tier Community Action Corporation
Main location is 135 W. 4th Street
Emporium, PA 15834
Telephone: (814) 486-1161
Provides services to the counties of McKean, Potter, Elk, and Cameron. Referrals are provided from COMPASS, commodities from Emergency Food Assistance Program, or eviction prevention includes money for paying back rent, housing costs, or the deposit on a new home. Other aid is available too. More community action agency of Northern Tier.
Schuylkill Community Action
Stop by the office at 206 North Second Street
Pottsville, PA 17901
(570) 622-1995, or learn more.
Scranton-Lackawanna Human Development Agency
321 Spruce Street
Scranton, PA 18503-1454
Phone - (570) 963-6836
Resources are focused on the unemployed. Learn about job training. Or sign up for utility company assistance programs that operate in Pennsylvania. Other assistance includes job training from WIA and the center runs the Head Start program too. More Scranton-Lackawanna Human Development Agency.
South Central Community Action Programs, Inc.
Main location is 153 N. Stratton St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325
Adams and Franklin County. Some of what is offered includes the Work Ready Program, mortgage help from HEAMP, and assistance with paying a security deposit, moving expense, or rent. Learn more.
TREHAB Center, Inc.
10 Public Ave.
Montrose, PA 18801
Telephone: (570) 278-3338
An extensive territory is covered. Families and seniors in the counties of Bradford, Tioga, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wyoming, and Wayne should call this non-profit community action agency.
Union-Snyder Office of Human Resources
713 Bridge Street, Suite 10
Selinsgrove, PA 17870
Dial (570) 374-8938
Venango and Crawford County Office of Economic Opportunity
1 Dale Avenue
Franklin, PA 16323
Call - (814) 432-9767
Warren-Forest Counties Economic Opportunity Council
1209 Pennsylvania Ave., West
Warren, PA 16365
Main number is (814) 726-2400
Focuses on helping people deal with a short term crisis, and emphasizes employment programs. Get information on emergency grants for housing, heating bills, or rent while you work with a case manager.
Westmoreland Community Action (WCA)
226 S. Maple Avenue
Greensburg, PA 15601-3216
Call (724) 834-1260 for help.
Numerous services are available. They operate transitional housing and may have grants for paying heating bills. Other assistance includes job training resources from Supported Employment, case management, and information on government benefits in Pennsylvania. More Westmoreland non-profit Community Action.