Financial help from La Casa de Don Pedro.

While numerous services are administered by La Casa de Don Pedro, homeless prevention is a priority and is part of the Emergency Housing Assistance Program. The non-profit will also help clients achieve education and self-sufficiency, and that will range from workshops such as ESL and referrals to job placement.

Many other services are available in Essex County as well. Case managers can help low income families apply for government grants for paying heating bills or resources such as weatherization. All funds are limited, but the staff from La Casa do their best to meet the needs of the less fortunate.

To help struggling families avoid homelessness or evictions, the agencies Emergency Housing Assistance Program, or EHAP, helps Essex County New Jersey residents who are at risk of losing their homes. The program works by providing education or orientation in the areas of tenant’s rights, money management, financial planning, and more. There may also be referrals to free legal counsel or low interest loans from local agencies for paying rent as needed.

In limited cases of legitimate and demonstrated need from the applicant, and dependent on available funding, La Casa de Don Pedro may be able to furnish financial assistance. The funds can be used for security deposits, back rent or mortgage payments. In addition, case managers also assist those who are homeless with information on new housing or access to low income apartments.

To qualify for EHAP, any family applying for help must be able to document their expenses as well as income and that they are experiencing a genuine crisis. The funding for this housing program is limited, however if need be they work in collaboration with local non-profit community service organizations or charity groups to try to ensure that adequate assistance is available to those in need.

Operating as a HUD, or U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Certified Housing Counseling Agency, La Casa has trained counselors that assist families who are facing behind on their home loans and are faced with a mortgage foreclosure. The counselors work closely with clients in providing referrals to legal services, information on mortgage modifications, individualized assessments, counseling, and other support services.




La Casa de Don Pedro is administrator for federal funded and public aid as well, such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program in Essex County. LIHEAP assists low-income households, including seniors and the disabled, with meeting home heating and in some cases medically necessary cooling costs.

It works by offsetting high utility or heating bills, and grants from LIHEAP can also be used for preventing termination of service. The federal and even state of New Jersey program assists participants with payments, obtaining delivery of emergency oil supplies, or making heating system or furnace improvements.

All eligible LIHEAP participants are also advised of the Weatherization Assistance Program, or WAP. This provides a number of free energy-efficient measures to homes for the purpose of conserving energy and reducing the costs of heating bills and even cooling costs. Available Weatherization services may include repair or replacement of faulty heating units, tuning up furnaces, installation of insulation and/or weather stripping, roof patching, and many more.

As part of this various services, La Casa also offers emergency home energy services to seniors and medically eligible households in Essex County. This was initiated with the goal of helping with heating and cooling bills by providing emergency funds in installing cooling units, obtaining home heating oil or replacing boilers.

Immigration Services assist newcomers to Essex County, including refugees or immigrants, with gaining legal standing. Resources available include exploring options; assisting with document filing or preparation; and representing clients throughout the process.

This is all done with the goal of achieving appropriate status within the parameters of the immigration laws. Any resources are available for either a small fee or at no cost to for eligible clients.

La Casa’s Healthy Living Initiative is focused North Newark, and it is tasked with improving health outcomes and reduce health disparities among residents in the area, with an emphasis on medically underserved Latino families. The services available are noted as following.





The non-profit will collaborate with health care and medical providers to offer educational workshops and health fairs that focus on enhancing awareness and facilitate prevention of community health issues, such as obesity, diabetes, smoking and asthma. Further, as part of the Healthy Living Initiative, staff connect clients with appropriate medical services, including direct referrals, access to NJ Family Care insurance, or testing. Finally, the program provides case management services for clients in need of extra attention in managing their health issues.

Employment assistance is part of the Welfare to Work Initiative. This is a government job-readiness program that also offers case management, job placement, basic education, workplace orientation, testing, ESL classes, and referrals to other employment support programs, as needed. The La Casa de Don Pedro program’s goal is to fully prepare participants for entering the world of work and becoming effective employees.

Residents who do not have high school diplomas are encouraged to attend La Casa’s GED - General Educational Development course in preparation for taking the test. Classes and workshops focus on English and math, and course work on all subjects appearing on the GED test is available through self-directed computer as well as one on one individualized instruction.

The resources above are often combined with English as a Second Language classes. Three levels of instruction are available, including basics, Intermediary, and advanced. The results of this classes can be an increased chance at employment.

The Summer Enrichment and Literacy Program is for students, and it is taught by certified teachers. The program’s goal is to promote, foster and develop children’s writing, speaking, reading, listening, and language skills. In addition to the education, free, freshly prepared, family style meals (breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack) are served daily. It is often combined with Youth Enrichment for teenagers and elementary age children.

Family Success Centers from La Casa de Don Pedro are located at 23 Broadway and at 282 First Avenue in Newark. The locations are part of a state of New Jersey program that provides convenient, centralized points of contact for those wishing to access social services or public benefits.




Examples of what is available at the centers include tax information, SNAP food stamp benefits, school enrollment, medical care, instruction in regard to parenting skills, and more. In cases of clients who can be assisted through programs offered by La Casa, the non-profit will provide them with access to that program. Case managers also provide referrals to agencies and programs not offered through La Casa.

The location is 76 Clinton Ave., Newark, NJ. Call 973-624-4222 for more information. Staff can help people find the program that they may qualify for.


By Jon McNamara

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