One of the main assistance programs available for Philadelphia County residents is the Utility Emergency Services Fund (UESF). It not only helps pay for expenses such as energy or heating bills, but grants and financial aid can cover other housing costs as well. This includes rent, security deposits, mortgage payments, and more. The fund was created in an effort to help stabilize housing needs for vulnerable individuals and families. Philadelphia residents who receive aid from it will also receive case management and access to other workshops.
Transitional housing and shelter residents can get help in locating and paying for a new home or apartment from the Homeless Assistance Fund Programming. Utility Emergency Services oversees the program and offers money to pay for costs such as move-in expenses including deposits, first and last months rent, and old utility bills. Other assistance as part of this program offered by UESF includes Self-Sufficiency Workshops, monthly follow-up, and more. All of this is offered in order to ensure ongoing housing stability and to prevent future homelessness.
The Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation (PWDC) works with UESF to offer additional housing stabilization. Together they can help EARN Center participants with expenses such as utilities, rental/mortgage and security deposits. The funds can help people avoid utility shut-off, prevent foreclosures or evictions, or assist in relocation, if that is the person’s best option.
Emergency shelters are offered by UESF. The organization provides utility assistance and rental/mortgage help to families and individuals that have been impacted by the current, weak economic conditions. This components focuses on the recently unemployed, residents that are actively seeking employment and is an option for those with no other resources available to them. All participants of the Utility Emergency Services Fund program are also referred directly to PA CareerLink for employment services and career counseling. This is only for low income families that have rent, mortgage, and/or utility bills due in 5 days or that are unpaid. Other conditions will apply too. Residents of Public Housing are not eligible. Also, at most only one months worth of payments will be made by UESF.
The Utility Grant Program is direct financial assistance to low income or working poor individuals and families who are facing utility terminations. Help may also be provided to those who are out of heat or that have had their utilities already terminated. The Utility Emergency Services Fund works closely with other companies, including PECO, the Philadelphia Water Department, and Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW). They may offer matching grants or help direct the program to the most needy.
As with almost all resources, this UESF program is for a last resort only. This is especially true when the federally-funded regular LIHEAP and/or Crisis assistance programs are closed. The aid provided by UESF, any contribution by the individual, as well as a matching utility bill credit need to zero out the customers energy bill. Applicants can’t have received a UESF grant in the past 24 months, have applied for LIHEAP, and have a terminated notice or don’t have power right now. Grants can help pay water bills, electricity, or natural gas costs too.
To learn more or apply, stop by or call the UESF Intake Sites or the Central Office, as indicated below. Other resources, information, and assistance programs are offered at these offices too.
Self Sufficiency Workshops offer help across the county. Services are targeted to individuals awaiting assistance through one of the various UESF programs referenced above. The sessions will encompass an ongoing series of financial literacy classes, budgeting workshops, and educational sessions.
Some examples of these self-sufficiency classes include sessions on how to save money on your utility bills. It discusses topics such as Water Revenue Assistance, weatherization, PGW's Customer Responsibility Program, LIHEAP, CAP, and many others.
Another focus is on budgeting and goal setting. Participants can work with specialists and credit counselors to set personal and financial goals so they are able to save money and pay the bills on time in the future. Or participate in housing sessions. Learn how to conduct an effective rental search in Philadelphia County. Other sessions can assist people with understanding their security deposit, lease, and the rental laws in the city and state of Pennsylvania.
ACORN Housing, 846 North Broad St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130, 215-765-1221. This site covers N. Philadelphia and also West of Broad Street.
Carroll Park Community Council, Inc., 5218 Master St., Philadelphia, PA 19131, 215-877-1157. Supports West Philadelphia region.
Congreso De Latinos Unidos, Inc., 216 West Somerset St., Philadelphia, PA 19133, dial 215-763-8870. Residents of North Philadelphia, Logan, Olney, and Nicetown should call this office.
Diversified Community Services, 1920 South 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145, telephone 215-336-3511. The region is South Philadelphia and also West of Broad Street.
Frankford Ministries, 4620 Griscom St., Philadelphia, PA 19123, call 215-744-2990. Assistance is for the low income in Frankford, Kensington, and Northeast Philadelphia.
Friends Neighborhood Guild, 701 North 8th St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19123, 215-923-1544. Processes application for UESF in North Philadelphia and East of Broad Street.
Greater Philadelphia Asian Social Service Center, 4943 North 5th St., Philadelphia, PA 19120, dial 215-456-0308. Covers North Central Philadelphia.
Germantown Settlement, 5538 Wayne Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19144, call 215-849-3104. Provides help in Northwest Philadelphia.
New Kensington CDC, 2513 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19125, 215-427-0350. Regions include Frankford, Kensington, and Northeast Philadelphia.
Partnership CDC, 4020 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, 215-307-4917. West Philadelphia families should call this office.
Southwest CDC, 6328 Paschall Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19142, 215-729-0800. Southwest Philadelphia area.
United Communities, 2029 South 8th St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19148, 215-467-8700. Programs support South Philadelphia as well as East of Broad Street.
We Never Say Never, 4427 Lancaster Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19104, 215-452-0440. Assists people in West Philadelphia.
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