With a focus on helping clients achieve self-sufficiency, Tioga Opportunities provides services to the needy. Any type of aid, especially financial, is limited and comes with restrictions. However, the community action agency may help with applications to HEAP for paying heating bills, job placement, education, employment and more.
The location can also be a source of referrals to public aid. For examples, people from the greater Broome and Tioga County region can learn about benefits such as SNAP food stamps or SSI disability applications. Those benefits can also often be combined with self-sufficiency and other guidance.
The specialists from the community action agency advocate on the client’s behalf. They help individuals and families become self-reliant over the long term. This is available as a result of on-site and in-home case management, and these services also include financial and food assistance, health insurance support, and employment guidance.
Other services available in southern New York State help clients weatherize their homes and reduce energy expenditures. Agency advocates encourage qualified low income families to achieve their goals by using both community resources and state of New York programs and services.
Low-income families can obtain temporary emergency fuel through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP). Not only will it help them obtain fuel for their homes or apartments, but there can also be cash grants provided for paying heating or natural gas bills. These programs help clients procure the help they need to heat their homes during the cold New York winter. HEAP and ECIP participants must meet income-eligibility and other state of New York requirements
The agency also administers an emergency assistance resource to help needy households acquire help in a short period of time. This is known as ECIP, and the application process is both streamlined and accelerated. Staff from the agency inform clients of the documentation required to obtain support. More information regarding this program and fuel allowances is available by calling the organization’s main office.
Several housing programs are administered, including loans as a form of rental assistance, apartments for the disabled and senior citizens, and free home repairs or rehabilitation. Tioga Opportunities is a HUD certified agency and works to both end homelessness and help low income families become homeowners.
Eviction prevention is met by a combination of government grants (as noted above) or landlord and tenant mediation. Some clients, such as the elderly, may be moved into one of the Tioga community action agencies apartments as well, and these units are much more affordable.
Homeowners as well as tenants that reside in multi-unit housing can minimize energy costs and save money through the state of New York weatherization assistance program, or WAP. This program provides many services to improve the energy efficiency of clients’ homes, such as floor, wall, ceiling and attic insulation; furnace repair or replacement; hot water tank repair or replacement; draft reduction; CLF light bulbs; combustive-appliance inspection; and even refrigerator efficiency analysis.
As part of WAP, as resources allow the contractors from the community action agency will also make minor repairs and perform a health-and-safety review of homes in Tioga County or Binghamton. Other services that can reduce home energy consumption include CAPCO – Energy Savers, the hot water tank program, and also EmPower NY program. Each energy-saving program will come with unique income guidelines and eligibility requirements.
Heating Equipment Tune Up, Repair or Replacement can assist with boilers, furnaces, hot water heaters during the winter. The agency will help fix direct heating components necessary to keep the resident’s home system functional.
The agency, in partnership with charities and churches, supports food pantries in the counties and towns in Broome and Tioga. Income-eligible clients can procure food at these pantries at no cost to them at all. The non-profit recommends that families who make use of the pantries call for hours as well as terms. They should either speak to or schedule an appointment with client advocates regarding self-sufficiency.
Emergency Food is coordinated from the agency’s Community Services Department. They also work closely with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier to feed the hungry, and several regional soup kitchens also participate.
Income-qualified individuals in need of professional clothing for job interviews can make use of clothing banks or resources such as Dress for Success. This service provides business suits free of charge for an interview or first day on the job.
Not only is clothing provided, but clients in these program can participate in job placement services. This can help them obtain employment in New York. In addition, it can also achieve lasting success in the mainstream working environment. The agencies career center helps clients search for jobs, enhance computer skills and make strong first impressions during interviews.
In addition to SNAP, another food assistance programs in Broome and nearby counties is WIC, or women, infant, and children. This federal funded resource serves women, infants and children from low income and families facing poverty. They can get vouchers and formula, among other help.
EITC - Earned Income Tax Credit program assists low-income individuals and families during the state as well as federal tax season. On-site, highly trained volunteers help qualified persons prepare tax returns. This free service is available to families that meet very low income limits, and some seniors may also benefit from it.
VITA is another option. This is the federal government sponsored free and reliable tax preparation assistance program. As resources allow, it is available to low-and-moderate-income individuals and families. In addition, specialists from Tioga Opportunities provide public education on tax credits and budgeting tips in cooperation with IRS.
Representatives from numerous health insurance providers help clients sign up for affordable health coverage, including the newest offering of the affordable care act. Although this assistance is available at all of the agency’s offices, days and times vary. Also, the community action agency uses funding from assorted sources to help individuals and families obtain needed prescriptions at reduced prices.
With a focus on children, there are development resources for students and infants, such as Head Start or referrals to day care. The agency strongly believes that getting a child off on the correct footing is key to long term success, and the student may get a free meal, health checkups, and other resources.
While there are several offices in the area, Tioga Opportunities is based at 9 Sheldon Guile Boulevard, Owego, New York 13827-0306. Call them at (607) 687-4222.
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