Lehigh County Conference of Churches programs.

Dozens of churches and faith based organizations in Lehigh County and Allentown work together in an effort to help low income families. There is assistance regardless of religion, race or age. However the focus is on the very low income, homeless and people facing poverty.

A wide range of programs are available. While more details are below, a Clearinghouse can provide information and referrals. There is short term housing, and maybe one time rental assistance available. Other services include meals, food, and basic health care in partnership with local churches and clinics.

Housing, homeless prevention and rent assistance programs

The Clearinghouse focuses on the homeless, ex-prisoners, and youth in the region. Churches partner with groups such as Lehigh County Health Choices to provide emergency security deposits, help with moving, and rental expenses. Much of this is available from referrals, however staff also offer self-sufficiency and related forms of support to clients, including those with special needs. Call 610-439-8653.

Daybreak is another homeless prevention program. Not only may a church have financial aid for paying a portion of back rent, but there is also nutritional, educational, socialization, and employability components of the resource. It can help people increase their job readiness and social skills, and vocational training is available as well. There is also counseling and support for people with HIV/AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse, or a mental illness.

The conference is a key member of the Continuum of Care. This is one of the nation’s leading homeless prevention organizations. They work with other non-profits and the City of Allentown to end Chronic Homelessness in the county and really across the state. They want each individual to have access to health care, support services and employment opportunities. Other resources may be shelter, financial aid, short term loans for housing costs, and referrals to low income permanent housing in the area. This is administered from 1031 West Linden Street, Allentown. Telephone: 610-439-8653.

Rehousing from the Conference of Churches will help move homeless individuals and families to transitional and then permanent housing. Hundreds of residents from Lehigh County will receive help each year. Aid can be in the form of rent help, government grants for security deposits, case management, or legal support. Get help with overcoming barriers to housing stability.




Homeless Supportive Services will also help those most at risk, such as single parents and the disabled. Each client will receive the support they need from local churches. This will also touch access to affordable health care and employment opportunities.

Pathways is another housing program. The objective is to give families and individuals who are homeless or facing eviction support with their needs. The conference of churches in Lehigh County may arrange actions to stabilize their housing situation and their lives. Services and include emergency shelter, transitional housing, and financial assistance with utilities. Self-sufficiency includes debt reduction, employment referrals transportation assistance to medical appointments or job interviews.

Homeless and eviction prevention is also part of Pathways. The faith based group can provide people who on the verge of homelessness with help. Churches and non-profits in Lehigh County offer cash and other support. The main components of this are below.

Emergency rental assistance from HPRP can be paid out to people who were affected by the economy and who are facing eviction or homelessness. Or there may be support from the Lehigh County Conference of Churches Housing Case Management or TBRA Tenant-Based Rental Assistance programs. This are paid for using HUD or FEMA funds. There are loans for paying back rent or the deposit on a new apartment. 1031 West Linden Street, Allentown, PA 18102, dial 610-439-8653.

The PEP, or Permanent Employment Program, will help clients with searching for jobs and other forms of meaningful employment. Case workers and volunteers offer clients education, case management, help in breaking barriers, and subsidized work experiences in the Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania area. There is also usually paid job training opportunities available. Most of this is targeted at the chronically unemployed or homeless.

Food from the Lehigh churches

The churches that are part of LCC will usually serve hundreds of free meals per day to the needy. The food is healthy, balanced, and of course available at no cost. There can also be special Thanksgiving and Christmas services in the Allentown region. The homebound may have items delivered too. Much of the aid is provided from the Lehigh County Conference of Churches Ecumenical Soup Kitchen.

Basic needs are provided as well. This can include help with acquiring toiletries, bus passes, free diapers, money management classes, and support in filing out government forms. There is also of course food offered.





Meals are also offered at the soup kitchen. The Lehigh Conference of Churches feeding center is a free safety net program that can help feed children, seniors, and the low income. Clients can also get weekly health screenings and referral services at the same time as the meal. It is operated from St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 8th and Walnut Streets, Allentown.

Information on medical care

Health care is also part of Daybreak. This can help the underinsured or low income reduce their dependency on emergency room visits, patient acute care and psychiatric hospitalizations, and can help people save on any prospective medical bills.

One component of it is the Pharmaceutical Assistance plan. This assists low-income Lehigh County Pennsylvania residents who have no health insurance and lack income. They can get help in the form of emergency prescriptions for conditions such as seizures, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, and antibiotics. There may even be some medical care for cancer patients.

Free or low cost medications are part of the Pharmaceutical Assistance Program. This fills hundreds of local prescriptions each year. There may be vouchers used for items such as Epileptic Seizure Medications, High Blood Pressure Medications, Asthma, Diabetes, and more. Churches will only help the low income with no health insurance or prescription coverage. Dial 610-433-6421.

Other medical programs include Pennsylvania Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which is for uninsured teenagers and children of medium income families. Another option from Conference of Churches is the Lehigh County Prescription Discount Card. This will provide discounts and saving to consumers, and is offered in partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo).

The locations of the conference are below.

  • 534 Chew Street, Allentown, Pennsylvania 18102, dial 610.433-6421
  • Pathways Housing Services and homeless prevention operates from 1031 W Linden Street, Allentown, PA 18102, dial 610.439-8653.



By Jon McNamara

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