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Chester County local church assistance programs.

Case management as well as referrals from Chester County churches are combined with emergency financial support, when available. Using money allotted from government grants or raised by the public, assistance is available for housing expenses such as rent or utilities. Basic needs such as food or clothing may also be available, as well as special seasonal and holiday help. The programs are available in towns that include, but are not limited to, Eagle, Elverson, Guthriesville, Downingtown, Honeybrook and Lionville.

When it comes to financial aid, very small dollar amounts may be offered on occasion for rental payments. The churches are often relying on funding sources such as Emergency Solution Grants as well as state allotments, the charity may be able to assist people facing eviction.

If the family lives in an affordable apartment, budgeted properly, and took other steps, then they are more likely to receive emergency aid. There will be an intake process that takes place, and proof of income as well as a pay or quit notice from the landlord is required too.

In addition to the rent help, other funds may be for utility costs such as electric or water bills. Or homeowners can be referred to non-profit counseling agencies, as staff from the a church have information on these organizations. All of this financial support is intended to stop, or even reverse, homelessness in Chester County.

Assistance is also more likely for homeowners that are conserving energy. There are services that help people minimize the cost of their monthly utility bills and help families save money. Weatherization will add insulation to the home, reduce any drafts, and may do minor home repairs, such as patching roofs that leak.

Churches of Chester County has food pantries in the region and across Pennsylvania, including the cities of Downingtow and Guthriesville. The centers help feed clients and their entire family, and the support is offered at no cost to clients. In addition to a free bag of groceries or box of food, staff will recommend people speak to or make an appointment with client advocates to help address the cause of the hardship, or what was causing hunger. This can take place as part of family development planning.

Clothing is available. There are fund raisers held for children, including teenagers, going back to school so they can have shoes, a new coat, and other items. The enrollment for this will normally be in the mid summer to early fall period as it is seasonal.




Another focus is for parents or others that are going to work. Chester County churches or other religious groups will provide interview and employment appropriate clothing to disadvantage men and women. The items can help people acquire jobs and even retain a new position. The goal is to help less fortunate succeed in mainstream work place.

Case Managers that are part of the local churches will also utilize their experience and knowledge in an effort to support clients in achieving individualized housing and income goals. These specialists, relying on volunteers and key partners, will work with individuals to empower them to obtain a productive life.

Staff will work with qualified working poor clients and those living in poverty to develop, monitor and support individualized case plans that focus on addressing the root causes that caused each person's financial hardship. Examples of some of the social services programs available include budgeting and monitoring of expenses, support for educational goals, development and monitoring of case plans and referrals to human services and state of Pennsylvania benefits.

A thrift store sells items for residents in Honeybrook and other towns. However, some clients impacted by a disaster or in a crisis can benefit from the free redistribution of clothing, cribs for babies, household goods and furniture to people who need them. Donors come from many places, including faith based groups and caring residents of the community. These groups supply the Chester County churches thrift store with items they no longer use.

Adopt-A-Family gives children and seniors in crisis an opportunity to joyfully celebrate the Christmas holidays through the love of a neighbor. The family who is enrolled into the service will receive the benefits of generous gifts from the community. Without special donors, these low income families and more importantly, their children, would not have the chance for a holiday celebration. Each donor to family match is unique, and they may receive a free holiday meal and gifts.

The families who are enrolled by Chester County churches and who are up for adoption for this holiday program are referred through local social service providers. They are households who are in the midst of crisis, whether it is emotional, financial, or physical and needing a lift in spirit. So a gift will go a long way to helping the less fortunate.





There are several other regional Christmas programs available, some of which may offer free gifts or clothes to children from working poor families in Chester County. The church based affiliated programs help ensure that each and every child has a present to open on the holiday. Some kids may be given more than one gift as well, depending on donations. More on free Christmas gifts or voucher programs.

Get referrals or information on churches in Chester County

When applying for any assistance noted above, the resources are only for people from the county and the towns, such as Lionville, specific above. They will need proof of their eviction, utility disconnect notice or hardship, as well as income. The applicant also needs to have applied for financial support from other sources first, such as family, as any help from a church is a last resort. For more information or referrals to social services in the Chester County region, dial 1‑866‑964‑7922.

By Jon McNamara














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