Both applications to government aid and direct financial support is available from Schuylkill Community Action. The agency is focused on helping to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness, and all of the assistance and advice provided has that goal in mind.
The main resources from community action are below, and include federal programs such weatherization or applications to food stamps as well as outreach and more. All funds are limited, but when possible, SCA will try to help with bills in a crisis such as rent.
Outreach is a service that is committed to serving as many struggling Schuylkill County residents as possible. This is offered across the county, including from satellite offices in Shenandoah, Tamaqua and Mahanoy City, and those locations complement the activities of the Pottsville office.
The centers have on site case managers to assist those who qualify. They do everything from processing applications to aid programs to enhancing community awareness of SCA services, and this is another function of the Outreach Program. Examples include, but are not limited to, Home Repairs and Weatherization (for home owners and tenants), PPL utility Bill Assistance, Emergency Food and Shelter which covers rent or mortgages, Applications for PACE, Child Care/Children’s Services/Head Start, and more.
Outreach also touches upon self-sufficiency, such as foreclosure counseling, Family Savings Account Program, Home Buyers Advice, and Job Placement. There is also Drugs/Alcohol prevention services and Counseling and more.
Providing free food to Schuylkill County residents who are in need is a priority for Schuylkill Community Action Agency. While the Food Distribution Network is a major source of assistance, there are times when immediate needs cannot be met by a local pantry. At those times, SCA can provide emergency assistance in the form of a bag of food, hot meal or a grocery voucher.
SCA's Emergency Shelter fills a very basic need that, under certain circumstances, can literally be a matter of life or death, especially for seniors. Depending on the applicant's situation and the availability of funding, the non-profit can provide shelter at a local boarding facility or motel.
In addition, case managers work with clients to explore additional needs and issues. This can include government grants for a deposit or low income apartments, and all this is done with the goal of reaching permanent housing solutions. When possible, the agency refers clients to the Bridge House Program below.
Bridge House is an SCA-administered transitional housing program. It is run in partnership with the Pottsville Housing Authority. In addition to housing, it provides comprehensive services in a supportive environment to adults and children dealing with long-term homelessness. The transitional resource known as Bridge House is funded by the Schuylkill County Board of Commissioners.
Basic needs can be met for people seeking a new home. Since the availability of emergency housing in Schuylkill County is highly unstable, due to inconsistent funding, SCA therefore makes every effort to address the issue. They may have hygiene supplies, funds for rent, food, and clothing vouchers as funding becomes available.
Rental assistance is under high demand. This is commonly sought out by low-income households, but its availability depends on special funding that isn't always available. Because of this, contact Schuylkill Community Action to learn whether they are able to provide one time rental assistance or some form of loan.
Homeownership is a solution that enables low to moderate-income individuals and families to purchase newly constructed homes within Schuylkill County at affordable prices. Throughout the process, support services include training in managing all phases of the purchase process. This will also fully prepare participants to make educated decisions. Additionally, participants may be eligible to receive grants of up to $1,000 to help with closing costs.
The Schuylkill County Senior or Disabled Housing Repair Program can help with major system updates. Repairs can be made for roof and drainage, fire and smoke protection, plumbing, electrical, fixtures, and heating – in the homes of seniors and the disabled. The aim is to improve accessibility, enhance living options, promote health and safety, and increase the ability to function effectively in the home.
Other updates may include adding zero-step entrances, ramps and widened doors and hallways. Resources will help expand living options, promote safety, and increase the ability to function effectively in the home.
Utility and heating bill help is the result of employees and customers of PPL Electric Utilities. They provide the funding for the Operation Help Program, which assists the disabled, elderly and others with special hardships that have led to an inability to pay energy bills. Hardships may include, but are not limited to, illness, or death of a head of household, serious injury or loss of income due to termination of welfare or unemployment benefits.
The EPowerwise Energy Saving Kit and Education Program furnishes kits that help people save money. It also educates clients in regard to wise home energy use. The goal is to demonstrate that they can save money by making household adjustments that help lower usage and reduce costs.
The goal of the SCA Case Management Program is to help participants become financially self-sufficient. It is available upon request, and must be coordinated with a case manager. After meeting with the client, a staff member explains the agency’s various programs and provides referrals to other community service agencies, as needed.
Examples of workshops include Wells Fargo's Hands-on Banking, and these are tutorials to provide high-quality financial education. Case managers work with clients to address other concerns affecting their lives.
Schuylkill Community Action Agency Work Ready Program provides support for TANF - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients who are just entering or returning to the working world. The goal is to identify barriers that stand between the client and self-sufficiency, and then provide services that will be the most effective in helping eliminate them. In addition to classroom and community activities that emphasize strengths rather than barriers, Work Ready also provides Assessments, Barrier Remediation, Skills Evaluation, and ongoing Job Retention Assistance.
The main center is at Schuylkill Community Action, and the address is 206 N. Second St., Pottsville, PA 17901. Call 570-622-1995.
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