Services from Cayuga Seneca Community Action Agency.

A leading non-profit organization for low income families is the Cayuga Seneca Community Action Agency. It will assist those facing poverty, the unemployed, seniors, disabled, among others. While short term financial aid may be offered (much of it by referrals) the goal is to help people gain self-sufficiency.

Case managers from the community action agency work to help those that are struggling and economically challenged. Partner with a specialist on gaining new skills or a job. During this process some emergency aid may be provided. The main locations, or so called Community Centers of the Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency, are located at the following.

65 State Street; Auburn, NY 13021, Phone: 315-255-1703
Social Services center at 1 Brookfield Place; Auburn, NY 13021, 315-252-0038.
4 Garfield Street, Auburn, New York 13021, dial 315-252-0038
53 Water Street; Auburn, NY 13021, main telephone 315-283-2030
37 Brogan Manor; Auburn, New York 13021, dial 315-282-0531 for information
23 Center Street; Waterloo, New York 13165, call 315-539-5647

The Energy Services Program includes applications for New York State HEAP as well as the Weatherization Assistance Program. The staff from Cayuga Seneca Community Action Agency offers support for energy bills which allows families to use their income towards paying for other basic necessities and other expenses. For example, energy savings from weatherization can free up money for healthy food, car repairs, medical care and transportation.

One example, the Weatherization Assistance Program is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, state of New York, and the U.S. Department of Energy. It is administered locally the CSCAA community action agency and by New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

As part of this process, an auditor will conduct an energy review (or audit) of the covered homes. After this has been completed, a number of free weatherization measures were created to reduce energy consumption and increase the overall comfort levels of the household occupants.

Activities completed by the trained and approved contractors involve adding free insulation, addressing health and safety measures like smoke detectors, furnace repairs, and control of carbon monoxide and replacing with energy efficient lighting. Weatherization also includes draft repairing or replacing broken windows, reduction of airflow by using the latest air sealing techniques, new doors and refrigerator. The home’s heating and cooling systems are also tuned up to work more efficiently.




Another conservation option is EmPower NY. This is a free energy efficiency program for Cayuga County New York homeowners and tenants. It is funded in part by the New York State Energy Research Development Authority and Honeywell, Inc.

The main goal is to help the low-income household in the area, such as Seneca County, with reducing their heating bills and saving money. It will lower energy consumption by using cost-effective electric reduction measures involving refrigerator replacement, lighting and freezer monitoring. It also lays an emphasis on home performance strategies involving insulation and air sealing to reduce drafts so that homes are kept cool in summer and warmer in winter.

Some of the other assistance programs offered for the poor in Seneca County are Emergency Services; Car Seat Distribution; Food/Pantry and Healthy Families. More details are below.

The free Car Seat Distribution Program offers safety measures, and specifically car seats for families. It is funded by an annual grant from the State of New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. Aid is for children in income eligible families and the program is free of charge to those that qualify. It is managed by a certified technician who educates families and new parents on the proper use and the installation of the safety seats for children. This Community Action Agency program also accepts referrals.

Financial aid and Emergency Services collaborate with families from the community through crisis situations. The assistance program provides clients with free food, shelter, clothing, financial assistance, short term loans and guidance in crisis situations. Resources range from security deposit help to vouchers for medications and eviction prevention / rent assistance.

The funding is provided from various sources like the NYS Department of State, donations, NYS Community Services Block Grant, Federal Emergency Management Funds / FEMA, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Cayuga Seneca Community Action Agency Emergency Services will help clients on a walk-in basis to get aid. In some cases, this will be referrals and guidance when someone is in a crisis situation. This could involve anything from emergency rent help to a food basket to providing homes for shelter. Clients are also referred to a combination of other resources within the agency. Or they can be directed to several outside agencies who can offer long term help to all those in need.





Rental assistance as well as Homeless Intervention and Case Management is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. The Cayuga Seneca Community Action Agency also works with the City of Auburn on this endeavor. It provides help to the homeless and their families. An advocate from the non-profit works with the clients to establish their housing needs and how these needs can be addressed to provide permanent and safe low income housing options at affordable rates.

New and expectant parents can benefit from The Healthy Families. This is a voluntary program and gives individuals the latest information on child health and development. It will help provide and encourage the interaction between children and parents and help with the achievement of self-sufficiency.

Programs available from CSCAA also includes the Warm the Children. This will offer gently used, warm clothing in the cold New York winter months to children and students who cannot afford school or work clothes on their own. The eligible families are referred to it by the Seneca community service agency at the school where the children are attending.

Christmas and holiday assistance from the Christmas Elf is yet another program. It can assist local Cayuga County families in arranging free Christmas gifts and toys for their children. This campaign helps hundreds of families from the area and is managed by numerous volunteers and contributions from the community, including the Campaign Coordinators. Some of the partner groups are the Auburn Party Rental, Currier Plastics, Finger Lakes Business Services, and many other businesses.

Food Bank offers residents with free food assistance. It is for emergency cases to clients and families so that they do not go hungry in the community. This is a unique service in the Finger Lakes area that is being offered because it is the only pantry in operation. It will assist customers regardless of the region or the counties where they live in.

Clients are able to receive free food, canned goods, and perishable items on a weekly instead of a monthly basis. Funding for the program is done through the Food Bank of Central New York, the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program, local pantries and it is administered also through the and Federal FEMA funds.



By Jon McNamara

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