Over the years, the Portsmouth Area Resources Coalition has either directly assisted or provided referrals to hundreds of struggling families, with a focus on housing needs. Clients of the organization come from all backgrounds and religions. If someone has a short term crisis, then immediate relief such as food or funds for a bill may be issued. On the other hand, if the situation requires long term support, such as retraining for a new skill or referrals to public aid such as section 8 HUD vouchers for rent, that will be arranged too.
The federally funded PARC Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) supplements a qualifying household's heating and other utility bill payments by issuing a grant directly to the utility company on behalf of the client. Emergency benefits, which are also paid directly to the utility company, are also available for families who have received Termination Notices. This particular resource is called Fuel Assistance in the state of Virginia
HEAP covers bills for electricity, water costs, propane, natural gas, wood, oil, kerosene, and other heating fuels. Two types of cash aid benefits are available, and they include regular and emergency, and they each run according to a different schedule.
The Regular HEAP Season runs from November to February while Portsmouth Area Resources Coalition can also offer information on Emergency HEAP, which runs from January to March. A termination notice is required to receive Emergency assistance. For households that have used both types of assistance and still need help with paying their utility bills, the Emergency Unit can be reached, however note that is may be necessary to pay back emergency funds so this is therefore a loan.
The Housing First program is a nationally used model that focuses on keeping homeless families in a stable environment verses moving them many times over. The stability of staying in one place (whether a house or an apartment) is especially true for the children in the family. As with every move, these children may lose academic progress if they have to continually change schools.
For those enrolled, Portsmouth Area Resources Coalition helps these struggling families move quickly into a permanent housing situation by providing guidance as well as at least several months of rental subsidy. There is also access to intensive supportive services with a Family Advocate. By establishing personalized goals, the client will become self-sufficient and stable in their lives. By the end of their participation in the program, they will benefit in many ways.
For individuals and households who are either currently homeless or will become evicted without intervention, there is funding for rental assistance to those who qualify. Funding is one time only up to a certain dollar amount per individual. There may be additional financial aid for needy families with children. Funding is limited and the applicant's income must be more than the rental amount due. Funding is not designed to prolong an eviction, and any rent or security deposit help is only available on a first come, first serve basis.
PARC is committed to help low-income parents get the professional attire they need for work. They also try to provide upper grade children have the proper school clothing, uniforms and necessary school supplies when they return for a new year. Another focus is on offering food, basic needs, and hygiene supplies, including to the homeless.
To make these goals achievable, the Portsmouth Area Resources Coalition Family Clothing Center is multiple days per month to give needy families the opportunity for clothing at no cost for all adults and children living in the home. The client may also be able to use a local food pantry for obtaining low cost groceries.
This opportunity is available several times over a period of 12 months. Clients of this program may make their own choices with a maximum dollar amount of clothing bundle per visit per low income family.
Through a partnership with the City of Portsmouth as well as county, there is a home repair program for low-income clients who meet predetermined requirements. Services for this PARC program include Electrical work, fixes for gas piping, Replacing existing furnace or cooling system, and Water heater replacement. In some cases, other support may be patches to leaking roofs.
Potential repairs from Portsmouth Area Resources Coalition or their partners will be determined and assessed by a professional to see if the work to be done meet the program’s requirements. Services are provided on a case by case basis and is also based on available funding at the time of the request.
PARC provides support across the entire Portsmouth region. The telephone number to the Coalition is (757) 393-7848.
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