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Cortland and Chenango County Catholic Charities assistance programs.

Individuals living in poverty, the unemployed and struggling may receive assistance from Catholic Charities. The non-profit is one of the regions leading Human Services agencies. Some of what is available includes residential services, emergency assistance, and case management. They also have programs for people impacted by mental illness or substance abuse.

Some of the emergency assistance available includes housing programs, shelter, Community Food Pantry, infant supplies, and a prescription medication assistance program. A number of seasonal assistance programs include free school supplies for kids, summer lunch program for children, and annual Christmas Baskets. Meals and gifts may also be distributed around the holidays.

If Catholic Charities or their churches can't meet your specific need then look into referrals to other Cortland area non-profits. The fact is that many people using the services provided by Catholic Charities will be referred to other local or regional community programs that may be able to help them on an ongoing, longer-term basis. For example, receive advice and guidance on applying for Food Stamps or LIHEAP/low income home energy assistance. Or meet with a health insurance expert who can assist you with plan enrollment while at the Catholic Charity Food Pantry.

Any type of financial assistance comes with conditions. The emergency services are for lower income people who are experiencing some form of crisis that was not caused by them. This can include residents who have no jobs, have recently become unemployed (due to no fault of their own), or receive government public benefits. They are some of the more frequent users of the services in Chenango County New York. While some programs administered do not require any application process or documentation, others that are administered will have some eligibility and application criteria do.

The Cortland Community Food Pantry is offered to residents who need food or groceries just once per month. The center may also supply the needy with personal care products such as shampoo, soap and toilet paper. In addition diapers and infant formula may also be available. Qualified clients will be served on a walk-in basis with no appointments needed. Consumers from Cortland and Chenago can receive enough food and groceries for up to 9 meals at each visit.





Housing assistance, including rent and utility payments, is limited. These services are for people with shelter and housing emergencies. What is offered can vary, but can include help with preventing a utility shut off, eviction, or funds for paying security deposits. As funding is very limited, generally people who are at risk of homelessness or who are homeless right now can access this service.

Eligibility for many of the Catholic Charity housing programs also requires participants to be income eligible and they need to pay the rent by themselves going forward. In general the assistance is offered as a last resort. Applicants need to access alternative resources in the community before returning to us with additional requests for help.

A Prescription Medication Assistance Program is available to low to moderate income people who do not have health care insurance coverage. This program can help them pay for the medicine they must have. Only those prescription medications that are necessary may be able to qualify for this one time payment program. Up to 30 days of medication may be provided if you are qualified and of course have a valid prescription from a doctor.

The Department of Social Services may offer Shelter Assistance in partnership with Catholic Charities. This is also a program of last resort.

Students can sign up for the Summer Lunch Program. It is a free program that serves lunch to school aged children throughout Cortland County including Randall, Suggett and Dexter Parks in the City of Cortland, at the YWCA, at McGraw Schools and also the Salvation Army.

Contact information and location

The main offices is at 33-35 Central Avenue, Cortland, New York 13045, however the center also serves Chenango County. Call 607-756-5992.

By Jon McNamara

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