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Help from community action in Philadelphia and the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity

The team at Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, or CEO in Philadelphia, is committed to helping people help themselves. The programs operated by the community action agency are focused on individuals that are in an economic, educational or social need. There may be short term financial assistance given for paying bills, but much of what is provided is intended to eradicate the causes of poverty by focusing on employment and/or money management. They also help low income families sign up for government assistance.

In an effort to stay focused on these goals, there are resources such as the Career Readiness Program in Philadelphia as well as rent help, clothing for work, and more. These are just some examples of the many short as well as long term services offered by Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity.

Employment and self-sufficiency in Philadelphia County and region

Assistance with securing employment is available from Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity. Much of this is coordinated through employment readiness program.  Clients are taught how to effectively search for a new or better job in Philadelphia by using a variety of search methods, such as looking for work both online and offline, networking, cold-calling, and registering with the state of Pennsylvania Department of Workforce Services.

Clients will meet with employment specialists. The person will be given individualized assistance. They will help clients assess their job skills, develop strong résumés and cover letters, practice interviewing, review their work history, and set up email accounts. Computers and free Internet access are offered to individuals participating in the employment readiness program. The office places people in free job training in Pennsylvania as well.

An education program, based at the main office of non-profits that partner with the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment & Opportunity, offers a safe environment in which at-risk youth as well as adults can prepare for the General Educational Development (GED) test. Or it offers ESL classes and other development skills. It was created in an effort to help adults make a positive change in their life.




Not only do teachers help on the program, but public offices such as officers from the police department also mentor participants in this program. Funding for providing GED classes as well as counseling is provided by a grant from the federal government and other sources, including private donors, such as the United Way.

Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment & Opportunity Budget and Debt Counseling Program provides quality education to consumers, training and resources that enhance knowledge and awareness about money management. The process is as follows.

-Community Resource Specialists and/or credit counselors work directly with each client.
-There will be a review of credit scores, debt levels, and the households cash flows. Everything from debt to loan payment assistance and more is arranged. They also help low credit score borrowers pay car loans.

The goal if the counseling is to help participants gain greater levels of self-sufficiency. They will identify areas for implementing change in their monthly budget. Whether it is accessing low cost housing or saving money using coupons, all of this and more will help people gain a basic understanding of money and allow them to make critical financial decisions to reach stability.

Financial aid from community action agency

The Philadelphia CEO office advocates for decent affordable housing in the city as well as county that can accommodate low-income people, single moms and the less fortunate. There is almost always higher demand that available units for HUD subsidized units. There is a shortage of apartments for adults with a developmental disability, the working poor, single moms, and others.





The Philadelphia Office of Community Empowerment &  provides advocacy, information, and education to individuals and groups throughout the region. They can direct applicant to rent assistance programs or places to apply at for HUD section 8 vouchers. The local community action agency works with many charities as well as non-profits in the region. Find information on emergency rental assistance in Philadelphia.

Public and government benefits are wide ranging in Philadelphia (both the city and the county). They may, but are not limited to, food stamps, home energy assistance, SSI disability, section 8 housing vouchers, cash assistance (TANF) in Pennsylvania and child care subsidies. With the free guidance of trained social workers, the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment & Opportunity (CEO) team is able to convert complex eligibility requirements for public aid into easy-to-answer questions.

Free advice is also given by the social workers to end a cycle of dependency. The community action agency in Philadelphia does this by encouraging eligible low income residents to claim tax credits or find a job. They also coordinate with local government certified credit counseling agencies on debt reduction programs, and work with community action groups on VITA and programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. So both cash aid and general support is arranged.

The Social Services from Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment & Opportunity in Philadelphia provides short term, temporary financial assistance to city and residents who are at risk of homelessness, individuals that need medications, and people in a crisis. Applicants need to be ineligible for other support, including charities or public aid such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families welfare. They also can't be qualified for Supplemental Security Income or General Assistance welfare.

The community action agency works with partners to offer referrals to emergency food, or maybe give a voucher to pay for some medications. There may also be one time rent or free vouchers for a motel or shelter stay for a limited amount of time.  It also can provide gasoline cards, mortgage, utility bill help, and security deposit assistance. This program is also for an emergency basis, also includes limited case management as well as referral services.

Struggling individuals, single mothers with young children, and working poor families who cannot afford clothing and household needs may apply for a voucher from partners of the Philadelphia community action agency. This will allow them to shop at the thrift store and can be used to buy some items for their home. There may be computers for college students, clothes for work, Christmas support, and more. Find more information on places that give free clothes.





Partners of the CEO operates an onsite thrift store. This is where the voucher can be used to shop, or even if a family does not qualify, they can still shop there. The location is noted below, and the shop sells gently used as well as new shoes, clothing, furniture, toys, box fans to cool a home, household items, and birthday gifts.

Apply for help from community action in Philadelphia

The main location is 1234 Market Street in Philadelphia PA 19107. For more information or referrals to the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment & Opportunity, or community action in Philadelphia. For referrals to financial support, call 1-844-848-4376 or for information on more employment and self-sufficiency programs, call 1-855-346-7445.


By Jon McNamara














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