Northern Tier Community Action Corporation financial assistance programs.

One of the main organizations for residents to contact is Northern Tier Community Action Corporation. The agency works to help the unemployed, low income, disabled, and elderly. They also support people facing a crisis, in particular when facing an upcoming eviction or hunger situation. Assistance programs are available across the Pennsylvania counties of Cameron, McKean, Potter, and Elk.

Assessment, Outreach and Referral from Case Managers provide assistance to individuals and income qualified families. It is focused on those who need assistance and guidance connecting with Northern Tier Community Action services.

Referrals for the services that are offered by other area human service agencies or charities are also provided by NTCAC. All families and individuals in need from the community are welcomed to call and ask for assistance.

Before engaging in any of the programs at Northern Tier, all applicants will need to participate in a need assessment type evaluation. The aim of the evaluation process is to determine and prioritize immediate needs in order to provide adequate assistance to the client. A needs assessment is the basis for developing a mutually agreed upon action plan, whose major objective is establishing goals and guiding the client and the case manager as well.

As part of the goals that will be established, social workers from community action will work with families and individuals in order to develop a monthly cash flow, budget and money management plan and to increase job seeking and employability skills. The major objective of these services is on increasing the potential for long term employment and self-sufficiency development in low-income individuals and families.

Northern Tier Community Action Corporation provides assistance to homeless people and those who are in imminent danger of eviction. What may be offered is funds for paying rent or security deposits, among other aid. This is done through the Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) and the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program (EFSNBP).

The Homeless Assistance Program, or HAP, is for eligible individuals or families residing in Cameron County. Qualified residents are entitled to cash assistance or a loan to help in the form of first month, past due or back rental assistance.




The second component is the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. EFSNBP may provide financial assistance in the form of first month, or past due rent. In addition, eligible individuals or families in Cameron and Elk counties can use the damage deposit rental assistance as well.

Both programs are designed to help working poor individuals and families in crisis situations. Any support is for those who are in immediate need of housing from counties such as Potter or Cameron.

Several other housing initiatives through Northern Tier Community Action Corporation (NTCAC) provide assistance to families facing imminent loss of their existing housing. Foreclosure counseling, landlord/tenant mediation and more is available from the community action agency.

The Emergency Food Assistance Program - TEFAP, is offered in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture. it will provides surplus food items to Northern Tier. Another partner is the state of Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The supplies and groceries are distributed at the Elk and Cameron County Food Banks.

The Elk and Cameron County Pennsylvania Food Banks offer boxes and bags of free groceries to low-income families. Food Items are obtained through local donations or fund raisers. Additionally, foods are supplied from funds and commodities provided by Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program and also State of Pennsylvania Food Purchase Programs.

Information on public aid is available from COMPASS. Northern Tier Community Action was established as a COMPASS (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Access to Social Services) Community Partner. This means the organization is heavily involved in providing assistance or referrals to low-income individuals and families seeking to access to Pennsylvania health and human services.

The services include details on LIHEAP applications, SNAP (food stamps), Medical Assistance, CHIP, SSDI disability, etc. The agency provides assistance applying for new government benefits, finishing an application or checking an application status. By using COMPASS, all eligible clients can apply at any time from any desired location with Internet access.

Educational support from Pre-K Counts and the Northern Tier Community Action Corporation is for qualified residents of the service territory. The agency provides help to children between three and kindergarten age through the Pre-K Counts program. This educational program serves eligible low-income children and operates under the guidelines set by the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning. The purpose of the program is preparing children for kindergarten entry. The curriculum is created to help them grow academically and socially.





Families from Elk, Potter and nearby counties with household income within 150% of Federal Poverty Guidelines are eligible clients for Weatherization Program. Priority is for improvements is given to households with children under the age of 6 and those homes with elderly or handicapped occupants.

The assessment of the entire household is required to determine which materials cost will effectively provide a warm and energy-efficient home. Moreover, insuring occupant health and safety is in focus. Educational seminars on controlling high utility costs is also provided to the clients. Services are provided to owner occupied dwellings as well as rental units throughout McKean, Potter, Elk and Cameron County.

Low Income Usage Reduction Program, or the LIURP, is when the agency and utility companies implement usage reduction programs. It is offered through, FirstEnergy/Penelec, West Penn Power, National Fuel Gas, and UGI.

These conservation programs provide, but are not limited to, many of the same services and materials provided by the State Weatherization Program referenced above. Eligible clients of NTCAC or other community action agencies can apply for the utility, gas and electric program, as well as the state program. Eligibility is based on the Federal Poverty Guidelines and customer energy consumption.

Heating bill help from DCED/DPW Crisis Interface Program is an option for clients of Northern Tier Community Action. The organization provides heating emergencies to low-income applicants during a specified time of year. Department of Public Welfare County Assistance Office distributes the applications. The referral is made to the Weatherization Assistance Program upon eligibility determination. The objective of the DCED/DPW Crisis Interface Program is eliminating disconnections or so called "no heat" crisis situations throughout McKean, Potter, Elk and Cameron County.

The agency also implements several different utility bill assistance programs through both publicly donated and private funds. The assistance is provided to low-income residents throughout McKean, Potter, Elk and Cameron County. Eligible clients are those who are experiencing difficulties in paying for or restoring utility service. The assistance to participants is limited to once a year. Eligibility is based upon the Federal Poverty Guidelines and client needs as well. Call and apply for the program.




Head Start is for low-income children between 3 and 5 years old. Education, medical and dental care is available through the comprehensive Head Start program. This preschool program provides health, education and nutritional services to eligible children who meet federally established income guidelines.

A variety of social services are also provided to enrolled families and their parents. Disabled children are also eligible for the program. Head Start has several different centers located throughout, Potter Elk, McKean, and Cameron and counties Pennsylvania. Apart from that, home base projects are also available in Elk, McKean and Potter counties.

Northern Tier Community Action Corporation is located at 135 W. 4th Street,Emporium, PA 15834. Call them at (814) 486-1161.


By Jon McNamara

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