Neighborhood Service Centers Client Advocates provide wrap-around case management services as well as emergency financial assistance to help low-income families as they work to achieve self-reliance. They operate from several locations in the community. All resources in Suffolk County are presented in a manner that demonstrates respect for the clients’ dignity, either at the main offices or in the clients’ homes in very rare cases.
The non-profit will use a strength-based approach that enables people to make use of their own available resources, with the support of staff from the Suffolk County Neighborhood Service Centers. Available services include, but are not limited to, the following. There may be financial assistance for utilities or rent, free food, Weatherization, Energy Reduction, Employment and Resume Assistance, as well as Government Health Insurance Applications.
Weatherization provides free energy-efficient services to help income-eligible Suffolk County residents conserve energy and save money on their utility or heating bills. The federal program can help people free up their income for bills and other needs.
Neighborhood Service Centers will arrange this service for both homeowners and tenants that qualify. It can be used on a variety of programs, including single family and duplex units. The program requires authorization from landlords for rental units.
If weatherization is to service a multi-family dwelling, two-thirds of the occupants must be income-eligible. Also, note that if any units across Suffolk County Massachusetts have been weatherized in the past, the landlord is required to contribute financially. Services include the following. The agency will help arrange Plumbing Repairs, Electrical Repairs, furnace repairs or replacement, insulation, and much more.
The Suffolk County Neighborhood Service Centers Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides grants to help pay the gas and/or electric bills of low-income Boston as well as Suffolk County residents. An overdue bill or shut-off notice is not required to receive any type of financial assistance from the county or state. However the organization accepts LIHEAP applications by appointment only. The funds can be used for paying everything from heating to gas bills.
Suffolk County Neighborhood Service Centers Emergency Assistance Program offers limited resources to help eligible residents of Boston and Suffolk County who are in temporary situations of crisis. Available resources include, but are not limited to, the following. There may be cash grants for Utility Bills (water, gas, electricity, sewer), free Motel Vouchers (which are limited to times of severe weather), Bus Tokens, loans for paying rent, and medications.
Christmas help is from Neighborhood Centers Adopt-A-Family. This is one of the more widely available services in both the county and statewide. Many charities run this program for children and entire families that are low income.
The team at the Suffolk County Neighborhood Service Centers match people or local businesses who want to give back to the needy. Clients range from individuals with a disability to older adults or children. The applicant will be provided personalized holiday assistance. This can be a toys for a child, gifts, clothing, meals, or a free food basket. The goal is to try to get everyone the means to celebrate and enjoy the Christmas spirit.
Neighborhood Service Centers in Suffolk County also partner with charities to run a Food Pantry and offer assistance in applying for SNAP food stamps. There are churches, businesses, charities, and other groups that partner on this. The locations in Suffolk County may have Spaghetti-Os, baked beans, baby formula, apple juice, butter, and so on, and the agencies then commit to donating it on an ongoing basis, typically for a year at a time.
The non-profit will also try to offer a more short-term solution for individuals. This too is run in partnership with church groups, or businesses. To learn more or the pantries, or to apply for benefits, call the center to make a special arrangement.
For working poor, less fortunate clients in the Suffolk County community, there is an opportunity for them to have their taxes prepared and filed for free at the Neighborhood Centers. This service ensures needy people from the area receive the maximum refunds due to them.
If found to be eligible, then this free service is open to any low-income household in the Boston area that earned less than $55,000 or so last year. Clients are free to meet with a team of specially trained and certified volunteer tax preparers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program
A key partner to VITA is the United Way of Massachusetts and the IRS. This service saves disadvantaged clients money preparing their taxes, ensures they are filed correctly and makes sure they receive all benefits, credits, deductions and refunds that may be due to them.
For youth ages 14 years to 24 years from disadvantaged backgrounds, the Neighborhood Centers in Suffolk County have a large summer youth program available. Professionals work with the younger client to assist them in gaining work experience, enhance their academic performance, receive basic education instruction and increase their work skills with appropriate training during summer breaks.
Clients from Boston, Dorchester and the county have an opportunity to earn school credits, gain exposure in the workplace and work on education and career plans for their future. This service is federally and state of Massachusetts funded.
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