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McKean, Potter, Elk, Cameron assistance programs.

There are a few places to go to for help, advice, and information on assistance programs. They are noted below. However the leading agency is the local community action agency, which is Northern Tier Community Action Corporation.

Northern Tier Community Action Corporation

Information - They provide outreach services, advice and referrals to other local non-profit organizations and charities. They can also advise the low income of programs that are administered by both the federal government as well as the state of Pennsylvania

Emergency Food Assistance Program - This is a federal government program is which surplus food items are provided to food banks, which they give the food to the low income.

Homeless Prevention - Not only can the community action agency help individuals and families who are currently homeless, but the agency can also provide eviction prevention aid. Get help with rent, security deposits, first months rent, and other aid.

Mortgage Help and Foreclosure Assistance - They work with HUD approved agencies, and can direct homeowners to numerous mortgage and foreclosure prevention programs. Include them will be the state of Pennsylvania’s Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Initiative, foreclosure mediation, federal government mortgage programs, and much more.

Weatherization - Receive free energy conserving updates to your home. The goal is to help low income, elderly, the disabled and families with children save up to several hundred dollars per year on their energy and heating bills. Also get advice on the best methods to conserve energy. Receive insulation, heating system tune ups, caulking, and other enhancements, all of which are free to income qualified applicants.

County Specific Programs - There organizations and specific programs and resources for each county in its service area. They include the following.





  • Potter County - FirstEnergy/Penelec Pennsylvania Customer Assistance Program.
  • McKean County - Dollar Energy Fund and FirstEnergy/Penelec Pennsylvania Customer Assistance Program.
  • Cameron County - National Fuel Gas Neighbor 4 Neighbor Heat Fund, Emergency Food & Shelter, and Dollar Energy Fund.
  • Elk County - Emergency Food & Shelter Program/Utility Assistance and National Fuel Gas Neighbor 4 Neighbor Heat Fund.

Call the Northern Tier Community Action Corporation, which is headquartered in Emporium, at (814) 486-1161. In addition to that, click here for more information.

Elk County Community Action is another organization. This location focuses on residents of that county only. There are various resources available for qualified low income families, both emergency programs and more longer term self-sufficiency. Examples of them include government grants for paying rent, mortgage, or a security deposit from ESRA. There is also information on low income apartments and homeless prevention services.

Other basic needs can be addressed as well. They range from free groceries and food from a pantry to job training from Work Ready. Or call about energy assistance from LIHEAP as well as conservation measures. If the community action agency can’t meet your needs, they may have referrals. Read Community Action Inc.




Food banks and assistance programs

The following sites can distribute free or low cost groceries and food. Northern Elk Food Bank, Good Samaritan Food Bank, Cameron County Food Pantry as well as Christian Food Bank. Read more on food banks.

General advice and assistance

The St. Mary’s Area United Way partners with local non-profits and charities. They arrange funding for those organizations, and can help direct people to assistance programs. (814) 781-6000

The United Way of the Bradford Area serves Mckean and the surrounding area. They partner with non-profits to provide direct services for free food, health care, shelter, emergency services and protection from abuse/violence for those who cannot provide it for themselves, and also clothing. (814) 368-6181.




By Jon McNamara

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