Families in crisis, regardless of race, religion, or age, may be able to get help from their local town office. The government works to prevent homelessness and feed the hungry and poor. People across the region can turn to shelters, food pantries, and soup kitchens for basic needs. Other support may be one time financial aid for bills or rent, but this is always limited in both New Haven and other towns. Some examples of what may be provided are below.
Seniors can get help from a number of services. There is Meals on Wheels for the homebound, elderly, and disabled. Volunteers from local charities will partner with the town and try to offer non-emergency transportation to a scheduled doctor’s appointments or a local store for a medication. The goal is to ensure senior citizens in the local area get the help they need with food, medical care, and even just someone to drop by to visit them.
Advice and guidance on housing, including emergency support, is coordinated. Many of New Haven County homeless as well as struggling residents work full-time, but they still struggle with paying their rent, utility bills, and other costs. Community Services may be able to offer some financial support and referrals to struggling tenants.
Knowledgeable staff, town officials, as well as volunteers work with clients to give them assistance and skills they need. There are also a number of other local non-profits that participate in this activity, including HUD certified and approved agencies. The goal is to help people keep their home or apartment or find new housing that is safe and affordable.
Counselors provide information on eviction prevention, stabilization, applications to grants for paying rent, and case management services to ensure that housing is sustained. Another focus is on heating costs, and this can be met by Operation Fuel or CEAP grants.
This type of aid from Community Services will allow families and individuals time to work towards other family career and educational goals. Or they can find a new or higher paying job, which can go a long way towards preventing homelessness.
The goals at each Town Community Service office is to address the elimination of homelessness, both short term and chronic. Another focus is on breaking the cycle and helping people exit poverty. Local charities and churches, often in partnership with the town, offer emergency shelter to women, children, men and families. In addition to the housing, the charity aims to help others help themselves with assistance through crisis intervention and ongoing case management. This also touches upon employment and other needs.
As part of any housing or financial aid, the case manager and participant complete an extensive interview and review of their financial condition. It includes information about all aspects of their life so that a family development plan can be created, and it will be childcare, transportation, nutrition, and employment. Each plan created identifies barriers to achieving goals so that all obstacles are addressed.
Information on financial aid for rent or energy or utility bill assistance is available. One main resource in Connecticut, known as CEAP, provides cash grants to all qualifying low-income or working poor families. There may also be loans for paying rent, or government grants from programs such as ESG. Staff from a local Town Community Services office can be a source of information on all of the options available for struggling families, and staff can often refer clients to resources.
Veterans from New Haven County can get information on federal government assistance as part of SSVF - Supportive Services for Veteran Families. This was designed to help those veterans as well as their families that are at risk of becoming homeless, such as behind on their mortgage, rent, or even utility bills. As part of this process, coordinators provide case management services to the veterans that are enrolled into the program so that they can work towards self-sufficiency and remain stably housed.
Local food pantries provide people with free fresh meats, dairy, produce, canned goods, and household staples to income qualified clients. Most local sites are client choice, so during a visit the individual will be given a bag and encouraged to select the foods or groceries which are best for them and their family. The amount of food from any pantry is dependent on family size and special needs.
For referrals, dial 1-800-203-1234. Callers can learn about resources from towns as well as other non-profits.
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