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Oswego County Opportunities community action assistance programs.

Operating across Oswego County, the non-profit Opportunities community action agency works with low income, the youth and working poor families to help them overcome their challenges. While limited, the organization may be able to coordinate some short term aid, such as for food, housing, and medical care.

However the main focus of OCO is on self-sufficiency. So case managers will work with individuals, the disabled and youth in Oswego on so called stabilization and activities such as job placement or education. These after all are key to long term stability.

The primary goal of the agencies Crisis and Development Services Program is to provide resources that help improve lives and guide people toward self-sufficiency, independence and personal growth. Case managers from OCO can help people reach goals through social services based on life skills, prevention, and similar activities.

Families who have been referred by DSS of the county can access strength-based, family-centered case management services. The main assistance programs and components include some or all of the following.

  • Youth can benefit from Street Outreach Services, or SOS. The program educates youth and teenagers in regard to available community services and resources. Oswego County Opportunities provides them with assistance with conflict resolution and problem-solving, among other topics. In times of crisis or emergency, SOS distributes emergency supplies, such as free blankets or food.
  • OPTIONS is a program that provides access to services in the areas of job readiness, health care, education and tutoring, advocacy, pediatric care, and life skills.

Transitional living and a housing program known as PATH is specifically for young people. In addition to providing shelter to clients, the PATH program offers an opportunity to learn to live independently and complete an education.

Women or children facing domestic violence can get help from the Crisis Hotline. This will Oswego County residents with access to information, such as on low income housing, as well as trained intervention specialists. In addition, the hotlines serve as a link to community programs or government benefits that help struggling individuals and families meet their needs.




Homeless Services deals with housing issues in Owego County. OCO works to prevent homelessness and evictions, or, in cases of clients who are already homeless, to facilitate a smooth transition to obtaining permanent, affordable housing. If and when possible, there may be limited financial aid or short term loans to pay the rent on an approved apartment in Oswego County.

The first step in this process from Oswego County Opportunities is a thorough assessment of the applicant's situation, including their strengths, needs and long term goals. OCO specialists also provide advocacy services on behalf of clients, job skills training, guidance in researching available housing, case management services, outreach, and transitional living. For those who are eligible, direct financial assistance for security deposits or other expenses may be an option.

Community action agency coordinates high quality, affordable, and comprehensive health services. Any resources are provided in an effective manner with a focus on health maintenance and disease prevention. To make an appointment for free or low cost health services, please call Oswego Health Center (342-0888) or the nearby Fulton Health Center (598-4740).

Medical assistance offered include Reproductive Health Care (Women and Men), Patient Education, and Lab Services and On-Site X-Ray, Assistance with obtaining Health Insurance, and access to the northern New York Rural Health Network

The non-profit's Health Education Program offers information and education to community groups, individuals, and public school classes. Staff or medical professionals address a variety of topics, including sexually transmitted infections; adolescent pregnancy prevention; immunizations, and public health care.





MSCP - Medicaid Service Coordination operates around the core concept of providing person-centered programming. Oswego County Opportunities, using the MSCP program, assists families with navigating the eligibility process for the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) services. This process will involve arranging for psychological and medical evaluations, gathering reports, and locating other necessary documents.

Other OPWDD services include assisting with completing applications for SSDI or other government benefits. Case managers will also provide referrals as necessary, ensuring that clients are satisfied with services provided at home, at work, or in the community. As noted, they will also be making necessary referrals to relevant areas of need or want.

Free food or meals are part of the Nutrition Services Resource. The community action agency and its partners have furnished millions of meals to senior citizens and the poor over the years. In some cases, home-delivered meals are available throughout the Oswego county region via the Meals-on-Wheels Program. Meals are also served meals at the Dining and Activity Centers.

The preparation and general meal planning is carried out by a registered dietician and prepared professionally by staff or trained volunteers. Everything will meet nutritional guidelines.

The sites also rely on a network of dedicated volunteers, who make daily home deliveries. Other support at the senior centers will include transportation for seniors to medical appointments through our OCO RIDES program. These services are available to all residents over the age of 60, with no guidelines in regard to income level.

New moms and/or their children can look into the federally funded Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC). This provides food, free formula, nutrition counseling, and referrals to health care clinics throughout Fulton and Oswego County.

OCO also offers a range of services for residents with developmental disabilities, including several different types of residential programs. IRA, or Individualized Residential Alternatives, offers permanent housing in a selection of residential settings. The agency will also offer Non-Certified Shared Living Situations, which is permanent housing with other social services available as well.

Residents with developmental disabilities, regardless of their age or background, as well as their caregivers can take advantage of Oswego County Opportunities community action programs Respite Services. The organization runs a homelike residence, where individuals aged four and up can stay for a day or for a few days. This type of service provides needed breaks for both caregivers and their clients.

Habilitation Services help those with developmental disabilities gain a better orientation within the community. There are different components, such as day Habilitation which provides knowledge and skills that enable clients to access and actively participate in community activities. Depending on individual needs, this service is provided in either a group or a one-on-one setting.

Another option known as Community Habilitation is also offered in groups or singly, with programming actually based in the client's home. At the start of this process there will be daily living skills addressed. The next step is to move out into the community to gain more confidence and independence.





Employment services include job training and workshops held at Backstreet Books and Bistro. This is a local, popular destination for buying a book, using a computer, listening to music, learning a craft, or having a quick snack.

The agency will also coordinate Job Assistance Readiness Training, or JART. This operates as an employment skills program for adults. JART provides testing for the National Work Readiness Credential as well as access to on-the-job training. Case managers and teachers also offer support in the search for ongoing employment in the community.

There are a few main locations of Oswego County Opportunities.

  • 239 Oneida Street, Fulton, NY 13069, 315-598-4715
  • Mexico Community Service Center, 5871 Scenic Ave., Mexico, New York 13114, dial 315-598-4712
  • Crisis and Development Services is located at Midtown Plaza (Lower Level) in Oswego, NY 13126. Call 315-342-7532.


By Jon McNamara











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