Office of Human Affairs financial assistance programs.

Low income families in the Newport News and Hampton County Virginia area can get help from the Office of Human Affairs. This is the leading non-profit community action agency for the region, and the organization administers numerous services for those facing poverty and the working poor.

The aid and programs are intended to help deal with the crisis. So there may be food, funds for paying bills such as food or rent, and more. However the focus of OHA is on case management, and this includes working with the client on self-sufficiency, employment, and financial stability. The community action agency supports both Hampton and Newport News.

Emergency grants and financial support from Office of Human Affairs

Utilizing an extensive database of information about various non-profit community service agencies, OHA's Emergency Services Program provides information on vital financial assistance to families in a crisis. The program is based on the idea that matching people in need with appropriate programs, including grants, can prevent possible eviction, utility disconnections, and even homelessness.

The staff in the local Outreach Offices work throughout the Hampton Virginia area community, linking people in need with the information and agencies that are most appropriate to help with the specific emergency situation. The goal is to build a structure of self-sufficiency, stability, and self-help within the community.




As part of Emergency Services, the federally funded EFSP - Emergency Food and Shelter Program assists with free food, clothing, shelter, grants for rent or mortgage payments and/or utility bills. This is offered either through direct services from Office of Human Affairs or referrals to other community agencies.

The nationwide program operates with financial support provided by the Food and Shelter National Board and the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA). Funding is limited, and in some cases a loan be issued for housing expenses such as rent or a security deposit.

Emergency Services also maintains a food pantry for the needy at 2708 Chestnut Avenue in Newport News. Canned goods, dry goods, fruits, meat, and fresh vegetables are supplied by the Food Bank. The goods are offered at a low cost for distribution to those in need.





OHA food assistance programs

The Food Bank also provides support, such as boxes of food, groceries or meals for severe emergencies, such as flooding, hurricane, and other events. In addition, the center will provide a larger supplement of free groceries or meals during the Holidays. Each household is limited to receiving program benefits no more than once a quarter, with exceptions made according to the seriousness of each individual or family situation. Food recipients are also asked to give back by volunteering at an area church or charity.

The OHA Self Help and Resource Exchange Program provides participants with supplemental food at a reduced cost. As part of the Second Harvest Program, Office of Human Affairs is able to provide food packages valued at $40 to $50 for just $17 apiece. The community action agency is dedicated to alleviating hunger, advocating, and providing an opportunity to become involved by volunteering in the community.

The federal funded Summer Lunch Program in Newport News Virginia was established to ensure that children in needy areas have access to nutritious food or snacks during school vacations.

By providing children and teenagers with balanced and healthy meals, the program helps children return to school ready to learn. In locations with significant concentrations of low-income families, all children aged one to eighteen are fed free of charge. During peak times, the Summer Lunch Program serves thousands of teens and youth a day at sites in Hampton and Newport News. More on Summer Food programs.

The elderly and area senior citizens aged 60 and over are encouraged to take advantage of OHA's Senior Program, located at the Office of Human Affairs' Clark Multi-Purpose Center. In addition, younger adults are welcome to join in certain age appropriate activities. It is available in the Cities of Newport News and Hampton. Hot and nutritious lunches are served. A key partner is the Peninsula Agency on Aging (PAA) and by Community Food and Nutrition. Assistance with traveling to and from the Center is available to many seniors and the disabled as well.

Housing solutions in Hampton County and Newport News region

Low-income households in Newport News and Hampton can turn to the Peninsula Community Development Corporation (PCDC) for help in finding low cost, safe, and affordable, community-based housing solutions. Another local non-profit Community Housing Development Organization, PCDC addresses the principle of achieving economic self-sufficiency through affordable apartments, housing, job training and financial literacy workshops.




As a HUD approved Housing Counseling Agency and a VHDA-certified home-ownership trainer, Office of Human Affair's Comprehensive Housing Counseling provides potential first-time home buyers with resources and support in obtaining new affordable housing.

The program also works with existing home-owners or tenants in avoiding foreclosures or evictions. There are also resources for those who are eligible for assistance under home ownership, buying or rental housing programs, including those currently in Section 8 or public housing. The HUD services also stresses mortgage assistance for struggling homeowners.

The CHCP Comprehensive Housing Counselor is certified through both the National Association of Housing Counselors and Agencies/National Federation of Housing. The non-profit community action group is fully qualified to help clients with making prudent and responsible use of a variety of programs to locate and qualify for assisted rental units.

Advice and services are rendered across eastern Virginia and in Hampton County at no charge, and are available to anyone. Whether it is someone seeking a mortgage, or just looking for a house, assistance is given as needed.

In addition to all of that, individual counseling and group training in the following areas is also available from Office of Human Affairs. Meet with specialists on Credit Counseling and Debt Reduction, Money Management and Budgeting Classes, Pre- and Post-Home Purchase Counseling, Tenancy Counseling, Eviction Prevention, and free Mortgage Default Counseling.

For men, children and women from the region who are homeless, the Clean Comfort service provides support. Guests can access a shower facility, a clean change of gently used clothing, personal hygiene toiletries, and medical assistance, all on a "day-care" basis.

Available services include medical consultations with various health care professionals who visit the site on a regular basis; bus tickets; mail drop; use of telephone services; and an adult clothes closet. Professional services include dental check ups, general health, AIDS education, flu shots, screenings for blood pressure and cholesterol as well as TB tests.

In addition, the program offers referral services to clinics and other direct on-site services. The programs are run in partnership with East End Health Facility, Veterans Administration, Community Services Board, HomeBase, AIDS Foundation, HealthCare for the Homeless, and many other groups.

Educational services

Thousands of children from low-income families are served by the federally-funded Head Start preschool program. To attend, children must be 3 or 4 years of age and live in Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, or Norfolk. The program offers them a comprehensive set of services for children and families, including in Community/Family Partnerships, Health Care, Education, Free Food, and other Family Services. Head Start children participate in activities that promote social, educational, mental emotional, and physical growth and development.





Early Head Start is another Office of Human Affairs resource. It is available to at-risk infants and toddlers (birth to age three) of pregnant teens/women living in Newport News Virginia. The program offers pre/post natal follow-up care for women and children; early intervention services; meals and formula; educational support that enables teen parents to remain in school; and other social services.

Both Head Start and Early Head Start also provide targeted services for children with disabilities or a mental challenge. Low income families from EHS are offered the opportunity to continue by making the transition to Head Start as their child ages, thus taking advantage of the consistency of participating in a familiar childcare setting from birth to age four.

Office of Human Affairs works with parents and can give them the opportunity to obtain a high school General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or to participate in other adult education programs. Our staff also provides referrals to job training, medical providers, social services or government benefits, employment specialists, and/or other service agencies in the community. Follow-up services are also included, to ensure that families receive appropriate assistance.

Once they reach the age of four, children can then look into other comprehensive services through the Four-Year-Old Initiative Program, which provides health, meals, food, educational, and social services. Educational services are based on the Virginia Standards of Learning as well as Doors to Discovery Curriculum, with an emphasis on reading readiness, math readiness, and fine motor skills.

OHA Children's Clothes Closet provides free clothing, including school supplies, to needy children, with the goal of promoting self-confidence, consistent school attendance, and positive learning experiences. The clothes closet coordinates with Hampton County churches, businesses, and individuals in the community to gather the items for children in need.

Job training and employment services in Hampton and Newport

The Wells Fargo Career Development Program is another key Office of Human Affairs partner. It generously supports and sponsors the Adult Career Training (ACT) Program to provide educational opportunities for underemployed or unemployed residents who are seeking to improve their earning potential.

Qualified candidates of ACT will receive training at local community colleges, technical schools, and vocational schools for employment. Training is for welders, nursing assistants, medical billers, and others. Clients also receive instruction in Career Readiness and Financial Literacy. Tuition is paid by grants that are part of Adult Career Training. Individuals who do not meet the educational requirements to participate are referred to OHA's GED Program, where they receive instruction that prepares them for future application and attendance at ACT.





For Food Stamp and TANF recipients, the CWEP Community Work Experience offers the opportunity to gain experience through unpaid on-the-job training in a public or private nonprofit agency or organization. The CWEP program assists in developing basic work habits, gaining work experience for future job applications, and learning or improving skills.

Participants also learn the advantages of forming a positive work ethic and gaining an understanding of the employee-employer relationship. Support services include free transportation (bus tickets or gasoline vouchers), daycare, and others deemed necessary for success. Placement is intended to be regarded as a job for the client.

Their initial placement is for a period of six months or until they find full-time employment. Work hours are calculated based on state regulations around TANF and Food Stamp allotments. Participating nonprofits also benefit by gaining temporary workers who provide assistance and support. CWEP is operated sponsored by the Newport News Department of Human Services and the Office of Human Affairs.

Virginia Cares provides support and services for ex-offenders, prisoners and their families. They can get a referral to other agencies that offer vocational rehabilitation, medical care, legal aid, substance abuse, and other needed services. Clients are also provided with clothing and food pantry referrals as necessary. Other services from OHA includes transportation to and from interviews, job leads and other destinations, and emergency food or housing services.

The main locations of Office of Human Affairs are 2410 Wickham Avenue, Newport News, Virgina 23607, (Telephone: (757) 247-0379) as well as 392 Maple Avenue, Newport News, VA 23607, phone (757) 247-6747.


By Jon McNamara

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