New Opportunities assistance programs.

Residents that need help can turn to New Opportunities, which is the leading community action agency for many towns and cities in Connecticut. The non-profit is involved in offering dozens of resources to low income families. Many of their clients include families with children, senior citizens, the disabled, and unemployed. Everything from rental and utility bill assistance to job training and child care may be provided.

The non-profit provides support to many towns and cities in the region. Assistance is for people in Barkhamstead, Berlin, Bethlehem, Cheshire, Colebrook, Goshen, Hartland, Harwinton, Litchfield, Meriden, Middlebury, Morns, Naugatuck, New Hartford, Prospect, Southbury, Thomaston, Torrington, Wallingford, Waterbury, Watertown, Winchester, Wolcott, Woodbury, and Worthington. If New Opportunities can't meet your need of if you don't qualify, then inquire into referrals.

Financial assistance from New Opportunities

Mortgage and rent assistance may be available in an effort to prevent evictions and foreclosures. Clients that qualify will be put into contact with a trained mediator. They will work with all parties involved, such as a bank or landlord, to help resolve the rent or mortgage payment issues. The mediator tries to find some form of agreeable solutions for all the issues involved.

The New Opportunities housing program targets families and individuals who are at risk of becoming homeless as the result of the upcoming eviction or foreclosure. Some of the challenges addressed in this kind of mediation include delinquent mortgage payments; back rent due; repairs; housing code violations; and miscommunication.




Rent Bank may have funds for tenants facing eviction. While it is limited in scope, under appropriate circumstances, qualified families can receive emergency funds to help pay rent, security deposits or mortgage arrears.

The eviction and housing programs are focused on families in Waterbury, Meriden, Torrington and surrounding towns. Call (203) 575-4248 in Waterbury. If you live in Meriden, dial (203) 235-0278. Or phone (860) 482-9749 in Torrington Connecticut.





Short term, Emergency Shelter Services, are managed by New Opportunities. The main resource is known as Shelter NOW and it is located in Meriden. It is for women with children, single parents, the homeless and others. The program also offer transitional housing so it is more longer term support. The location is 43 Saint Casimir Drive, Meriden, CT. (203) 634-1734.

Heating and Energy bill assistance is for low-income families. The state and federal government may allow people to obtain help with paying their energy costs. New Opportunities Inc. accepts applications, provides referrals and guidance, and will help families navigate their options. Each application will require a face to face meeting.

Grants and credits may be issued to households from the federally-funded Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP). This will help with paying winter heating and gas bills. CEAP is not meant to pay total heating bills and the household will need to pay a large portion of it as well.

The CEAP winter heating assistance pays for costs such as heating oil, wood, natural gas, electricity, propane, kerosene, and coal. While the program is overseen across the state by the CT Department of Social Services (DSS), it is administered local by New Opportunities Inc. Call (203) 756-8151.

Emergency energy bill assistance is may be offered from Operation Fuel to lower and middle income working families, the disabled and needy elderly. The programs is for those who have exhausted other federal government and state benefits. Aid can help prevent residents from having their utility or heating service terminated due to lack of payment. It is focused on assisting people that are in the midst of a financial crisis, such as a medical emergency or job loss. Staff will also work with your utility provider to create some type of payment plan. Phone - (203) 756-8151.

All applicants for any program, weather CEAP or others, must apply in person. An outreach visit is available for the homebound elderly or physically disabled. Some of the main New Opportunities offices are located in Waterbury, Meriden and Torrington.

Weatherization applications are processed by New Opportunities. It is paid for by the US Department of Energy. The conservation program will enable low-income individuals and families to permanently reduce their monthly utility bills by making their apartments or homes more energy- efficient. The savings can amount to hundreds of dollars per year. Also all of the weatherization improvements services are long-lived and last for years. This is offered in Naugatuck Valley and Greater Danbury, as well as other towns.

Another similar program just for Connecticut is the Weatherization Residential Assistance Partnership (WRAP). It was created by Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P), The Northeast Utility System, Connecticut Natural Gas as well as Yankee Gas. It is for more moderate income families or individuals who live on a low or fixed income.




Freedom Walk is Supportive Housing project in Waterbury. The community action agency provides rental and other assistance to the families that are in the units. It is also partially paid for by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency as well as section 8 funds. Other partners include the Salvation Army, Waterbury Hospital Health Access Program, Mutual Housing Willow Development, and the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board. Telephone - (203) 575-4238, or find more details on HUD programs including section 8 vouchers, homeless prevention and more.

Housing Search Assistance and Mobility Counseling can assist low-income renters who wish to relocate to more affordable and qualified private housing in the town or community of their choice. New Opportunities will also help people that are benefiting from any of three government-sponsored housing assistance programs, including Transitional Rental Assistance Program (T-RAP), Section 8, or the Connecticut Rental Assistance Program.

The Tenant Education Workshop is required as part of Housing Search Assistance. This will inform individuals of rental and deposit programs, help clients create a family budget, better understand landlord and tenant laws, including lease obligations, and teach people about establishing a rental history. Call (203) 575-4357.

Senior programs

CHORE is a form of InHome Services from New Opportunities. It will help the elderly and senior citizens live independently in their current apartment or home. It is available for people age 60 or older, whether they rent or own their home. There may be some small fees and contributions due.

The InHome Service worker that is part of CHORE can provide a variety of services, including Shopping / Errands, Yard Work, Minor Handyman Jobs, and even Housecleaning

Comprehensive Outreach Project for Elders, or COPE, will assist seniors with identifying and completing applications for appropriate government benefits and assistance programs. It addresses needs including housing, healthcare, nutrition and several other forms of government subsidies. Find more details on financial help for senior citizens.

Some examples of the government programs that seniors can get help applying for include QMB – Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program, CONNPACE – the CT Prescription Assistance Program, Tax relief for homeowners and renters, CONNMAP – Medicare Assignment Program, and Lifeline.

Connecticut and New Opportunities provide several other resources for the elderly. Some of the more common requests are Senior Nutrition Services including Senior Dine, Meals On Wheels and Senior Cafe. There are also several housecleaning, minor home repairs and yard work for frail elders, in Waterbury and Meriden. The non-profit will try to coordinate door-to-door to medical appointments, shopping, meals and jobs. There is also Adult Day Care as well as the Elderly Health Screening Service.

The local MedSmart system will help seniors with taking medications, in the correct dosage, and more. The MedSmart program, which is managed by New Opportunities, is a great help to the disabled and/or seniors that live independently but that may need some occasional support. (203) 575-4268.





Money Management, which is offered in partnership with the American Association of Retired People (AARP), assists adults 55 and above or disabled adults. It will offer them assistance with paying bills, managing income and expenses, and balancing the checkbook. New Opportunities has staff and volunteers that participate in this activity.

Meals On Wheels is run by New Opportunities Inc. They will often partner with other non-profits such as the Salvation Army and Agency on Aging offices. The free Meals On Wheels program will home-deliver up to two meals a day up to the homebound and seniors, age 60 and above. This is for Danbury and Waterbury.

Menus for the program can even be specially formulated by a registered dietitian. With the daily delivery service, recipients will receive one hot meal as well as a snack or light supper. This may even operate during weather emergencies. A contribution or small donation is always appreciated as it will help the program to ensure it continues to run.

Child care in Connecticut

Daycare and help for children is offered as part of the New Opportunities Head Start, School Readiness and Child Care Division. The non-profit runs NAEYC accredited Early Childhood Development Centers that promote school readiness and health care needs for infants and children under the age of 5. Low income families and their children can receive comprehensive, yet free, health, educational, nutritional and social services. Hundreds of children from Waterbury and other communities benefit. In addition, their parents also get support from social services and government aid, including assistance with childcare.

The state offers and combines a number of programs with free child care vouchers. Parents can benefit from resources such as Infant and Toddler Care; State Subsidized Child Day Care; Head Start and Early Head Start, and also School Readiness.

New Opportunities employment and self-sufficiency resources

The community action agency New Opportunities Employment Assistance services will help residents achieve self-sufficiency. They coordinate job-training programs at One-Stop offices. These are funded by the federal government and are run by the non-profit in conjunction with the Workforce Investment Board.

The unemployed and underemployed, and really anyone needing employment assistance can benefit from assessment, intake and the creation of individualized plans offered at these locations. Staff work with clients and provide access to a variety of job search resources and training. Youth employment planning is also provided in Connecticut.

Employment opportunities for women in the greater Waterbury Connecticut region is offered as part of In-The-Making. Training and workshops are for the unemployed, or under-employed, women in the area. It will also address barriers to employment such as childcare, transportation, education and affordable housing. Dial (203) 575-4359.




Individual Development Account are matched saving accounts. Among other things, they can help families and individuals of modest means save money and also establish a pattern of regular saving. New Opportunities is approved by the State of Connecticut to help residents of Torrington, the Greater Waterbury, Meriden and nearby areas. Credit counseling and debt reduction may also be offered along with IDA.

Help is also offered for veterans. New Opportunities offers programs such as the Good Neighbor Program, outreach, and information on employment opportunities. Volunteers will assess the needs of veterans needs and direct them to financial assistance programs and social services, whether government or non-profit resources. Housing, food, rent help, and more may be available for veterans from government sources.

Free Income Tax Preparation from VITA is administered by New Opportunities. This is for low to moderate income families and individuals. The sites are listed below.
Waterbury - (203) 575-4360
Torrington - (860) 482-9749
Meriden - (203) 235-0278
Winsted - (203) 808-6323

Food assistance programs

Maybe the number one option is Operation Pantry. The New Opportunities center in Greater Meriden (NOGM) runs a food bank known as Operation Pantry. It provides canned goods and non-perishable foods to needy residents.

The Senior Community Café is a program that provides a low cost, nutritionally balanced lunch to mobile Seniors, their spouses and a few other eligible groups. These Community Cafés are held at a variety of sites in Connecticut including senior centers, charities and local churches. This is open to anyone, regardless of their income.

Senior Dine allows the elderly to eat out at at discounted rate. This was created by New Opportunities and their senior division. Only certain restaurants participate in the program.

Free breakfast and lunch for students are part of the Summer Food Service program. Assistance is for low-income school children under the age of 18. It provides them with nutrition when the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs are not operating.

Locations of the New Opportunities community action agency offices

The main office is at 232 North Elm Street, Waterbury, CT 06702, (203) 575-9799
Meriden Center, 74 Cambridge Street, Meriden, Connecticut 06450, dial (203) 235-0278
138 Migeon Avenue, Torrington, CT 06790, call (860) 482-9749
310 Main Street, Thomaston, CT 06787, main phone (860) 283-2282
Danbury Senior Nutrition Services, 54 Main Street, Danbury, Connecticut 06810, dial (203) 743-5418
Winchester Energy Services Office, 110 Main Street, Winsted, CT 06098, telephone (860) 738-9138
One-Stop Employment Services is at 249 Thomaston Avenue, Waterbury, CT 06702, call (203) 574-6971
Another One-Stop center is inside the CT Works Office, 685 Main Street, Torrington, CT 06790, call (860) 496-3500
4 Liberty Street, Danbury, Connecticut 06810, (203) 730-0451



By Jon McNamara

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