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Berkshire County assistance programs.

If you are struggling to pay bills, increase your income, and just make it through these difficult times, contact the Berkshire Community Action Council. They are the local non profit community action agency, with offices in Adams, Pittsfield, and Great Barrington and they offer residents various assistance programs that can help with housing expenses and rent, utility and heating bills, provide food, and other aid. The agency can be reached at (413) 445-4503, and some of the services they offer are noted below.

  • Rent assistance, homeless prevention program and transitional housing assistance - The agency partners with the Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority, federal government programs, and resources that are offered by the state of Massachusetts. The community action agency provides a variety of assistance, including information and access to funds to pay rent, security deposits, and more.

    There is also support from housing specialists to assist families and individuals with finding safe and affordable housing for their families and themselves, and they can help clients explore both loan programs as well as any direct financial aid.
  • Christmas and holiday gifts - A service known as Sponsor - a - Child Program supplies thousands of low-income children with Christmas gifts and other holiday presents. There may be free toys, gifts, games, books, and other free Christmas items.
  • Food assistance program and brown bag - Many people can get food and groceries, including the working poor, elderly, unemployed and other low-income families. The food is provided from one of the agency’s five-pantry sites. Even elderly shut-ins in Southern Berkshire County can get access to the program.
  • Heating, utility, and rent help -The Berkshire Community Action Council has received a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with housing expenses. The agency provides one-time cash grants and funds to be used for emergency assistance such as money for the payment of rental arrears for those facing eviction, funds for utility and heating bill assistance to those in imminent danger of shutoff of their service, or the money can also be used to provide food assistance for those who have no other resources.

    The funds from the grant program are usually limited and not always available to everyone who applies for help for these bills and expenses. Eligibility recipients must prove that their situation is an emergency and that they have no other means.




    Another option is known as the Fuel Assistance program, which provides eligible individuals and households with help, including cash and free heating fuel, for paying winter heating bills. The assistance program pays benefits up to a fixed dollar amount based on the applicants total household income. An additional benefit is also available to qualified households having a higher than average energy burden and energy bills. Also learn about how to get free heating oil. More.

  • Heating system repair and conservation programs - Two different components for Pittsfield area families include the Heartwap as well as the Weatherization program.

    Heartwap is a maintenance program that is offered in the state that deals with heating systems and the program also has a preventative maintenance component as it offers an emergency “no heat” service for qualified families. This assistance program not only evaluates the applicants heating system for efficiency, but Heatwap also cleans tunes and repairs both gas and oil heating systems. the program also provides for the replacement of entire heating systems, if needed, for the applicant.
  • The other option is weatherization, which is a federally funded energy conservation program that is designed to save heating dollars and reduce energy bills by increasing the energy efficiency of homes.

Call the Berkshire Community Action Council to learn about all the services listed above. Dial (413) 445-4503. The location of the community action offices are:

  • Address - 1531 East Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 01201, dial (413) 445-4503 Ext: 112
  • Main address: 10 Ashland Street, North Adams, Massachusetts, 01247, call (413) 663-3014

What is noted above is only a sampling of the resources available from the non-profit. The agency offers other support, referrals, and financial aid. Click more Berkshire Community Action Council assistance programs.

Financial assistance from non-profits in Berkshire County

Catholic Charities - Berkshire County - The non-profit offers county residents the following services and resources to needy families and individuals. Get access to groceries from food pantries, rent payment assistance, home delivered meals, transitional housing/shelter, heating and electric bill payment assistance, gas bill payment assistance, general used or new clothing and career development and job finding services. (413) 452 - 0605





Construct, Inc. runs a rent assistance and homeless prevention program. This includes direct financial aid and grants to assist households with paying back-rent or providing help for other financial crises that might jeopardize their stability in housing. Homelessness Prevention will provide applicants with rent payment assistance, homeless financial assistance programs, personal finances/budget counseling, debt reduction, and case/care management. Great Barrington Massachusetts. Call (413) 528 - 1985, or click here for more rent, HUD and housing programs.

Family Life Support Center, or FLSC, is focused on housing needs in the Berkshire Community. There are several resources offered, and they include the following. There is a transitional housing shelter or housing program known as Louison House. The staff also help with budgeting and permanent housing placement.

The organization will also offer emergency rent assistance when funding allows. SSO counselors, which are a partnership with HUD, work on housing stability and preventing future evictions. The Family Life Center also supports the disabled with Representative Payees, SSI applications, and offer free budgeting. More on Family Life Support Center assistance programs.

Salvation Army - Berkshire County, which is located in Pittsfield, provides services and resources to the low income that include food pantries, rent and housing payment assistance. As funding allow, there may be grants for heating, gas and electric bill payment assistance, holiday gifts and Christmas baskets, thanksgiving food and prescription expense assistance. Call (413) 442 - 0624, or click here Berkshire County Salvation Army assistance programs.

Berkshire transitional housing assistance programs - Find shelter, case management, food, job training, and more. The objective is to help families that are homeless or facing imminent eviction. Get information on local resources. Continue.

Christian Center of Pittsfield can offer emergency services, including thanksgiving baskets, clothing, prescription expense assistance, holiday adoption programs, information on assistance programs, holiday donations, holiday gifts/toys, and comprehensive information and referral to charities and non-profits. Phone (413) 443 - 2828.

Berkshire County Council of Churches of Western Massachusetts is a leading charity that offers social services and emergency assistance. The organization will focus on assisting families with children and seniors. Funds may be offered for paying utility and heating bills or other basic needs, such as housing. Other resources are for the unemployed, ill, and struggling in Pittsfield and the region. Read more.

Northern Berkshire Community Action – A great place for information on local and statewide social services and financial assistance. For example, Community Action provides discounted heating fuel to low-income population as well as heating fuel bill payment assistance. They often have information on other local resources such as food pantries, clinics, and much more. 85 Main Street, Suite 410, North Adams, MA, 01247, call (413) 663 - 3014

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Northern Berkshire County – If you have no other options available, then this charity may be able to offer one-time cash grants. The service is known as short-term family assistance with a particular focus on needs not served by other local non-profit agencies. This location should not be contacted for emergency assistance, and this agency is an agency of last resort. Our Lady of Charity Conference, C/O St. Elizabeth of Hungary, 68 Marshall Street, North Adams, Massachusetts, 01247, phone (413) 664 - 4835. Click here for more information and locations of Saint Vincent churches.

Foreclosure prevention and mortgage help in Berkshire

Western MA Foreclosure Education Center - The location offers mortgage assistance and counselors can provides at-risk homeowners with foreclosure prevention counseling and a variety of support services to prevent housing loss. They can direct people to Massachusetts HUD agencies as well. Dial (413) 233 - 1622.

Low cost or free medical assistance programs, dental and health care

Volunteers in Medicine - The Berkshire clinic operates a medical community clinic, a dental care clinic and provides mental health services. The center also provides free preventive healthcare services to low income qualified and uninsured patients with an all volunteer, professional staff. Call (413) 528 - 4014.





Neighborhood Health Center serves Berkshire County. Health care services offered to qualified patients includes diagnosis and treatment of adult illnesses; blood pressure;; checkups; health education; diabetes, and general health promotion; and even pregnancy testing. Pittsfield Massachusetts. Call (413) 447 - 2351

Community Health Programs is open 24 hours a day. The community clinic provides comprehensive health care to individuals and families of all ages, regardless of ability to pay and regardless of their health insurance status. Members of our provider team are board-certified in Family Practice and Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, and medical professionals can also provide preventive, acute and ongoing medical care for adults and elders, infants, and children. Call (413) 447 - 2351 to make an appointment or learn more. Also click here for additional free health care services.

Free food programs

Get free food and other non-monetary support from the following pantries as well as soup kitchens in Berkshire County. There is the Community Bible Church ((413) 458 - 5556), First Baptist Church of Pittsfield ((413) 445 - 4539) offers meals and groceries, and The Guild of Saint Agnes (Call (413) 684 - 0125), and People's Pantry.

There are other charities and churches too. Or click here to more food pantries and banks in Berkshire County.

By Jon McNamara














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