Lynn Economic Opportunity assistance programs.

Several different towns are supported by the Lynn Economic Opportunity, or LEO. The goal is to help residents address an immediate crisis they are facing. Not only that, but case managers will offer advice and support to help the family break the cycle of poverty and ongoing financial challenges.

There are services, such as affordable housing or funds for paying heating bills and rent, available in Lynn, Lynnfield, Saugus, Nahant, Swampscott, and Wakefield. The non-profit also focuses on providing child Care programs, such as Head Start. In order to assist all who come to the agency for help, they have advocates available who speak a number of languages, including Spanish, English, Khmer, and others.

LEO may have Emergency Assistance for paying Utility Bills. Or there may be funds for Housing Payments The community action agency will try to assists client who are late with rent or mortgage payments, are in need of emergency heating fuel, or have had utilities shut off or are facing a disconnection. The agency offers several programs to assist income-eligible clients with housing-related issues, including the following:

Staff advocate for, and assist town of Lynn residents who are at risk of eviction by providing information and support in regard to tenants’ rights. The support available will address questions on the eviction process and timeline as well as offer advice on solving health code violations. Assistance is also available with completing forms such as applications to emergency solution grants.

Legal support is offered too. Case managers help with Answers; Discovery; Transfers to Northeast Housing; provide Temporary Restraining Orders due to code violations or other issues; and there is legal aid in completing the Small Claims Form for security deposit recovery. In cases that do end up in court, legal aid will help the client with preparing for court appearances.

Eviction prevention is also addressed in Lynn and towns such as Nahant from landlord/tenant mediation. This service assists both tenants and landlords with resolving tenancy issues.

For people looking for a low income apartment in towns such as Saugus, Lynn Economic Opportunity provides assistance and support for clients who have been denied rent subsidies. There is also support for those who face subsidy termination due to lease violations. In addition, staff help with solving documentation issues, get advice on requesting and preparing for hearings, and accompanying clients to court in Essex County.





The community action agency also operates affordable housing. The homes will be priced at approximately 50 percent below market prices in Essex County, with preference given to those who are homeless or at risk of it. LEO does not furnish rental subsidies and in fact each resident is responsible for paying their own monthly rent and utilities.

Units available in the region include studio apartments and units with one, two, three, and four bedrooms. To further assist with locating affordable housing, whether in Essex County or a nearby region, the staff also help homeless individuals and families with joining the Lynn Continuum of Care housing database.

After you have qualified for fuel assistance, you may also be eligible for energy conservation measures to make your home more energy efficient, thereby cutting the cost of utility bills. From energy-saving tips to free energy-saving lightbulbs, insulation, furnace repairs or new appliances, a conservation specialist will visit your home for assessment, for eligible homes of 1-4 units. This is a National Grid funded service. Households with elderly, disabled, and children under 6 years old are first priority.

Lynn Economic Opportunity Fuel Assistance Program provides subsidies for paying utility or heating bills. There also may be discounts on service for eligible low-income households in Lynnfield, Nahant, Lynn, Saugus, Swampscott and Wakefield. Eligibility for any type of funds from the agency is determined according to family size and household income, following Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) guidelines.

One key benefit of this is that the household heating fuel type is not taken into consideration when evaluating an application. Not only that, but tenants whose heating fuel costs are included in their rent are welcome to apply for the state of Massachusetts Fuel Assistance Program which runs from November through April.

Those who are approved for fuel assistance may also be eligible for the National Grid-funded Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). This is a service that helps low-income residents from towns such as Wakefield and others reduce their home-energy bills by providing free energy-efficient home improvement measures. It is targeted at low-income residents, with the goals of conserving energy and making homes more efficient.

Based on the results of a free energy assessment performed by a conservation specialist, WAP services include free energy-saving lightbulbs, furnishing energy-saving tips, insulation, furnace repair or replacement, installing energy star new appliances, and more. First priority is given to households that include the elderly, the disabled, single parents, and children under age six.





LEO operates, or can refer people to several child care programs. These are used for ensuring that children living in the service area have safe, positive places to go when parents are at work or school.

One service, the Emergency Assistance for Utility or Housing Payments, is an option if rent is late or mortgage is overdue, if utilities have been shut off or are about to be shut off, if emergency oil is needed. In these cases LEO may be able to give School Child Care, offers children from five to twelve years of age a safe place to go during the hours when school is not in session. This is even available during during school vacations or the summer months.

Trained staff members are always available to supervise and provide homework help. In addition, the program provides children with an opportunity to build friendships as well as increase self-esteem. During school vacations, programming includes field trips to local beaches, parks in Swampscott, and other local attractions.

The Stepping Stones Family Child Care Center offers a six-hour, center-based program that provides high-quality day care services. The child will also benefit from the access to nutritious meals, an individualized educational curriculum, group activities, and instruction on personal hygiene skills. For families with significant needs, limited transportation is also available in some parts of Essex County. The Center is located at 35-37 Waitt Avenue, in Lynn

The Home-Based Care Program from Lynn Economic Opportunity provides weekly 90-minute home visits. It is for families near the office. This service will have staff members provide in-home parenting support, early learning, social development, and health care services. The services available include social groups for parents and children, along with other early intervention services.

The federal funded Early Head Start is part of the services from LEO. This can be the first component of a comprehensive program that serves parents and children from birth to age five. This provides resources in regard to parenting and child care to pregnant women, infants, and children aged six weeks to three years. EHS is offered is free of charge, and is available to families in Lynn, Lynnfield, Swampscott, Marblehead, Nahant, or Saugus who meet income eligibility requirements.

The next step is Head Start. This is a free preschool program for three to five-year-old children from income-eligible families. It operates in Lynn, Marblehead, Nahant, Lynnfield, Saugus or Swampscott. Priority is given to those most in need, including children who are homeless, in foster care, or disabled.

Head Start staff members participate in extensive training to gain all of the tools, skills and information necessary for supporting children’s development. The program will ensure that each child is prepared to begin kindergarten. This is accomplished through participation in individual and group activities, following a high quality educational curriculum.




In addition, Head Start children and their families benefit from an array of support services arranged, including the following. There may be free nutritious meals and snacks. Children will receive free full health screenings for blood pressure, hearing, nutrition, hearing, and vision. Other comprehensive health services are provided by local partnering agencies.

The staff at LEO will also arrange weekly site visits by mental health and early intervention professionals, who observe the classroom. Based on the results, there may be personalized action plans and support services created for families with children in need of intensive health services and much more.
Lynn Economic Opportunity is based at 156 Broad St., Lynn, MA 01901. For information, call the agency at 781-581-7220.


By Jon McNamara

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