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Greater Bergen Community Action assistance programs.

Several resources are overseen by the Greater Bergen Community Action. While the financial aid for expenses such as rent, heating bills, and homeless prevention is in high demand, the agency offers other services as well. They can include education and job training, credit counseling, Head Start, referrals to free credit counseling services and many more.

The staff and case managers are focused on breaking the cycle of poverty as well as employment. They want to help clients who are low income gain new skills, experiences and in effect improve their income possibilities. Applicants need to be able, and willing, to get on path to self-sufficiency. In those cases the Greater Bergen Community Action may be able to assist.

Financial and energy assistance

Greater Bergen Community Action helps the residents of the local towns and cities by offering numerous other resources to people facing temporary financial issues. Some of these other assistance programs, resources and referrals are as follows.

Among one of the many programs for low-income families and individuals, Home Utility Bill Assistance is one of them. The agency is involved in the administration of the state and federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Bergen County New Jersey.

Federal and state government funds are used to pay for LIHEAP. The purpose of the program is serving working poor and senior households by providing ongoing and emergency utility bill assistance. The disa bled are also a priority. You can call and apply for the assistance program. Any help needed by residents in completing the application will be provided by the staff.

With energy costs and heating bills increasing continuously, the Greater Bergen Community Action is aware of that fact and is ready to act to help in any way they can. The goal of GBCA is to provide assistance to the residents who are facing financial difficulties and are late with their paying their current heating and utility bill payments. For that reason, GBCA provides services at two locations in the county so that the residents are not left in the cold.




USF - Universal Service Fund - The program is required by the State of NJ and is created to help low-income families by making energy bills more affordable. Government grants and free conservation measures can be offered by USF and the Greater Bergen Community Action Agency.

Temporary Relief for Utility Expenses Program (TRUE), which was established by the NJ Board of Public Utilities, has one time assistance available for paying natural gas and electric bills. This is provided to households with average (so even moderate) income and who are also facing financial crisis. In order to be eligible for the TRUE assistance, the applicant must not currently be receiving any benefits through LIHEAP or the USF program mentioned above. In addition, the assistance is provided to residents who have not received any form of financial help within the previous year.

Another option is Statewide Heating Assistance and Referral for Energy Services, or NJ SHARES. The GBCA non-profit agency, using this resource, helps low-income residents by providing assistance for paying energy bills. SHARES is established and also supported by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

United Water Cares. Temporary help in paying water bills is provided from this program to Bergen County individuals with financial difficulties. A focus is on keeping water - sewer on.

For phone bills, Verizon New Jersey's Communication Lifeline helps residents by providing assistance with their cellular or landline telephone service. This can, in particular, help families living in poverty, immigrants, seniors or the disabled get a free phone or pay for it. Or find other New Jersey telephone bill assistance programs for low income families.

Homelessness Prevention Programs may disburse rent help. Financial assistance or grants for low-income families is provided by one or more Homelessness Prevention Services. People from the community who are behind on their rent, were evicted or who lost their leased housing due to a temporary financial crisis are eligible for the program. Qualified applicants need to provide documentation of eligibility, such as proof of income. In addition to this temporary financial assistance, the program also offers budget counseling. The main aim of this kind of help is preventing future repetition of homelessness.





GBCA Housing Counseling educates individuals on budgeting, rental delinquency, advocacy with landlords, and housing information. Referrals to regional affordable and public housing are also available. Find more details on government funded homeless prevention programs.

Funded both by the state of New Jersey and federal governments, Weatherization Assistance Program helps homeowners and tenants in enhancing the energy efficiency of their homes. This program is free and is run nationwide. It is administered locally by Greater Bergen Community Action for Bergen County residents.

Ensuring optimum energy efficiency via conservation and repair services is one aim of the program. Free installation of wall insulation, extra caulking and weather stripping are some of the services available for low-income families and homeowners. Inefficient appliances and the repair or replacement of them is possible in some cases as well.

Heath insurance premiums are very high in New Jersey, with high deductibles, limited coverage such as dental care, high co-pays and more. The team that the community action agency in Bergen County assist with insurance needs, whether private or government policies. The goal is to find an affordable option, and even help with paying health insurance deductibles.

Other services from Greater Bergen Community Action Agency

Adult education workshops are for immigrant and limited English-speaking adults in Bergen County. It is offered via English as a Second Language classes. The program is suitable for residents of all ages, including immigrants and seniors.

There are three ESL levels, and they include beginner, intermediate and advanced. The program offers four 10-week class cycles to non-English speaking individuals at a few different different local sites. In addition to ESL program, GBCA offers the New Americans program. This was created for foreign-born adults. The services of the program include translation and interpretation services, job training, immigration and naturalization assistance, information and referral. New immigrants or refugees in Bergen County are welcome as well.

Greater Bergen Community Action IDA is a saving program created for working poor individuals. The so called Individual Development Account aims to direct savings and use them for paying for education or business ownership. The basic components of the program are financial literacy training, case management, and access to free credit counseling and general supportive services.

Bridges to Success was created by the Greater Bergen Community Action and the faith-based community. The guidance and assistance offered can assist with issues such as employment, financial education, access to affordable credit and transportation. This, and more, is available from social workers to former welfare recipients. In addition, there is even a car grant-loan program for qualified applicants. This provides the financial ability to buy a car for transportation to work.





Financial Education is based on banking, credit repair and money management. Major elements of the program and its workshops include budgeting classes, savings and investment, understanding the terms of loans and insurance, and more. The goal of the program is to educate participants on benefits of saving and building credit.

Non-profit Credit Counseling is used for household budgeting, reducing debts, money management and accessing free credit reports. These are major focus of Credit Counseling sessions. Referral to financial local literacy classes is also for persons facing financial difficulties or challenges. More on New Jersey free credit counseling services.

GBCA also works with both credit counselors as well as lawyers to give free advice when filing for bankruptcy, either Chapter 7 or 13. They can also answer questions for small business owners, so this is not just a personal filing. As the process can be long and complicated, and this is what a lawyer may help. Depending on the type of case, some minimal fees may be required. Learn more, and get free bankruptcy advice.

Applications for Head Start and Early Head Start are processed by Greater Bergen Community Action. This government program provides help to over a thousand of infants, toddlers and pre-school children from low-income families in the community. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funds the program for the state.

Educational, medical, nutritional and social services are available to the children and their families participating in the Head Start program. Enrolling in free programs requires demonstration of eligibility documentation.

Parent involvement is always a focus. All guardians and parents of the children are expected to participate in their child's education. This is one of the key goals of Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

PHASES, or Program for Homeless Adolescents Seeking an Environment of Stability, is when Greater Bergen Community Action provides assistance to homeless adolescents. The supportive housing program is a group home located at Chadwick House, licensed by the NJ State. Each participant tries to achieve individual case plans related to budgeting, education, employment, financial literacy, health, nutrition, etc. The primary goal of the PHASES is self-sufficiency and eventually permanent reunification with family.

In addition to PHASES, Greater Bergen Community Action offers Independence Hall for disabled, chronically homeless children, men and women. The safe environment provides security that is essential for recovery and self-sufficiency.

Case managers provide social services to homeless families who are residing at the family shelter. There is also support for people participating in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. Aid is provided in accordance with the guidelines recognized for and in this transitional housing facility, owned by the County.







More general type case management will include individual social service care plans, relationship counseling, advice, daily living skills and employment counseling. These are some of the activities for the participants in the program, aiming at self-sufficiency achievement. Greater Bergen Community Action implements the program in the cooperation with the Department of Human Services, the Bergen County Board of Social Services, and the non-profit Hackensack Housing Authority.

Phone number for GBCA resources

This, and more, is offered by the Greater Bergen Community Action. To get information or to speak to a case manager, stop by 392 Main St, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601 or call 201-968-0200.


By Jon McNamara














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