Help from the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency.

Oneida and Herkimer County families can turn to the non-profit Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency. The organization helps low-income individuals and families residing in the region. The agency provides services concerning housing, child development, financial help and family resources. MVCAA offers a great number of various programs for eligible clients including.

  • Housing resources such as Residential Emergency Services to Offer Repairs to the Elderly (know as RESTORE), Rental Assistance, and Weatherization.
  • Child development including Head Start, Day Care, and Early Head Start.
  • Financial aid for paying rent or heating bills from Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).
  • Other social services such as Family Development, Self-Sufficiency, Tutorial Intervention Program and referrals.

The Weatherization Program provides both low-income homeowners and renters with free energy conservation measures. The assistance is for their home. Eligible applicants are entitled to several different home improvement projects, whose basic purpose is enhancing their safety and health. The services of the program include:

  • A complete free energy audit of the home by MVCAA, This could lead to EnergyStar rated refrigerator replacements, attic, perimeter and sidewall insulation, door replacements, testing of the heating system, and extra Weather-stripping.
  • Diagnostics, and door sweeps on existing doors as well as some air sealing.

MVCAA provides short term housing assistance to families who are in need of a safe and suitable place to live. These may be funds for rent, deposits, or aid support. It is all offered via the Homelessness Intervention Program. Eligible applicants can use the case management services as well.

In the partnership with the EmPower New York program, Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency serves income-qualified families by providing no-cost energy services. The program is funded through the Public Service Commission as well as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).




Services in Oneida County may include extra attic/wall insulation, draft reduction measures, replacement of old appliances, and installation of high-efficiency lighting. Additionally, applicants will be advised on saving energy in their households.

Eligibility is based on the income guidelines for fuel assistance under the Home Energy Assistance Program, as noted above. Applicants need to be the customer-of-record for the utility bills. After completing an Energy Services Application, the household will be entitled to use the services of this program. Preference for the conservation service is given to customers on the basis of energy usage, their income and the potential for energy-saving measures.

Emergency Shelter Grants program provides assistance to the residents of Oneida County New York. One-time payment cash grants are intended for either arrears or first month's rent payments. Funds cannot be used for paying security deposits.

Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency also provides rental vouchers and case management through the Family Unification Program. This program serves to families where lack of adequate housing threatens to separate children from their families. It is also efficient with coordinating family reunification for those that need it.

Head Start and Early Head Start provides assistance and support to low-income children and their families and parents. The support offered is concerning comprehensive health, nutrition, education, and parent involvement services. The programs are funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Expanding on above, Head Start program provides help to low-income children (ages from 3-5). The program tends to create healthy environment that will influence all aspects of a child's development and learning. The services from Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency are individual and unique. They will be based on each child’s and their parents’ background and experience.

This comprehensive preschool developmental program is federally funded. Not only that, it is free and confidential as well to those that qualify. Children with disabilities from Herkimer and Oneida County are also eligible. Head Start offers training and job opportunities for parents too.





The Early Head Start program strengthens the development of infants and toddlers from birth to age 3. It also promotes healthy prenatal outcomes and healthy family functioning. The program also provides assistance to new moms or pregnant women.

The state of New York Home Energy Assistance Program assists low-income households in Oneida County that pay a high proportion of their household income for home energy bills. The primary goal of this resource is meeting their immediate heating bill and other energy needs. The HEAP program provides following services to eligible clients. Apply for utility bill payment assistance; home repairs; energy crisis assistance; weatherization services and more. Please call: 624-9930 (Mohawk Valley Community Action) or you can dial 338-0240 (in Rome) or  798-5559 for the Utica department of Social Services.

RESTORE is also known as Residential Emergency Services to Offer Home Repairs to the Elderly. Senior citizen homeowners in the Herkimer County area can get help in the form of emergency repairs to their homes. It is for eligible applicants and they need to meet low income guidelines for the services of the RESTORE program. Funding is provided by the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation's Office of Community Renewal. Eligibility is based on the following requirements:

At least one of the residents of the home must be 60 years of age or older, they need to meet state income eligibility requirements, the existing situation they are facing must pose a threat to the life, health or safety of the resident, and the Herkimer home must be their primary place of residence.

The services of the RESTORE include repairs such as electrical, plumbing, roofs, furnace,  foundations, water problems, steps and handrails. The maximum credit (as finding allows) for one household is $5,000.




The community action agency of Mohawk Valley provides help to youth up to age 21 years and their families through the RHY - Runaway and Homeless Youth Program. The goal is to ensure the safety of youth as well as teenagers and help them to get off the streets. Social workers strive to ideally reunite youth with their families whenever possible. Short-term residential services are provided via volunteer Host Family Homes. Other resources offered include Crisis Counseling; referrals to other agencies/services; transportation, advocacy, and referrals.

Services are available across the entire region. The Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency has a few offices as noted below. Call all sites by dialing 315.624.9930. The main office address is 9882 River Road Utica, NY 1350. Locations of other sites are:

  • 1721 Black River Blvd. Rome, NY 13440,
  • A site is at 1100 Miller St., Utica, NY 1350
  • Herkimer County center, 61 West St. Ilion, New York 13357

By Jon McNamara

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