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Pittsburgh Community Services financial aid programs.

Providing both short term emergency aid in Allegheny County, with a focus on the city of Pittsburgh, as well as longer term self-sufficiency, the non-profit Community Services organization is a leading place to contact for help. They are part of the state’s and nation’s poverty fighting community action agency group, and will help families overcome their short and long term challenges. The main assistance programs administered are below.

Having access to a continuum of services is vital for financially disadvantaged households to reach the goal of self-sufficiency. To help in this capacity, the Community Service's case managers as well as certified housing counselors provide a wide comprehensive array of such resources to clients. It touches upon offering them referrals, information on job training in Allegheny County Pennsylvania and educational programming to assist families in the city of Pittsburgh at each stage of the process. Some of the services offered to qualified clients are described here.

Free counseling and self-sufficiency programs

Family Self-Sufficiency follows a proven model that is used to address a wide range of needs, with the goal of providing working poor or even unemployed families with the skills and knowledge necessary for long term success. There is also advice for seniors as well as the disabled, and some of the services are tailored for their needs. All of this aid is intended to assist people with moving out of poverty and becoming self-sufficient.

While this is no easy task, Pittsburgh Community Services helps by offering an intensive series of one-on-one meetings. Some of the topics covered include educational achievement, employment, housing, finances, child care, transportation, and other areas that may present barriers to achieving self-sufficiency. Specialized services are available as well, depending on funding and staffing levels.





Mortgage Delinquency Counseling provides educational and support services to assist residents of the city who find themselves in or close to a foreclosure on their primary residence. The program provides detailed information on the subjects of restructuring debt and homeownership preservation. Clients of the community action agency can receive other aid too, including the ability to learn about what to expect of the foreclosure process and can enroll into lender mediation.

The housing support services include providing assistance to those victimized by predatory banks or lenders as well. HUD counselors can also help people with locating more affordable, alternative housing in the county. There are also of course loss mitigation services and the provision of referrals to other agencies and resources, as needed.

Pittsburgh Community Services offers programming that supports and promotes financial stability. The agency and its case managers provide clients with the tools they need to move toward their goals by offering advice and guidance.





Classes for both individual and group education is available for individuals who are considering purchasing homes in Allegheny County. In addition, counselors from the agency are available to provide guidance and advice on special programs for potential homebuyers. Some of them include alternative home lending sources, dealing with predatory lending practices, obtaining low interest loans, and applying for the federal Section 8 Homeownership Voucher Program.

Low income families on section 8 can also use home buying programs. HUD vouchers can be used for down payment, closing costs, or to even pay part of the monthly mortgage. Staff from Pittsburgh Community Services can help clients understand as well as navigate the process. Read more on paying a mortgage with section 8 vouchers.

Financial help from Pittsburgh Community Action Agency Services

The case management program also assists with the often complicated process of completing social benefit applications for resources such as SNAP food stamps, WIC, or maybe even SSI disability. Employment support services are also available through the community action agency, including access to computers and the Internet as well as help with creating resumes for the purpose of searching for employment.

One main goal of Pittsburgh Community Services (PCS) is to offer referrals to community services and regulatory agencies. There are many churches, charities and other groups in Allegheny County that focus on helping struggling residents. Other assistance programs covered include, but are not limited to, the following. Learn about local food pantries, clothing closets, and shelters. There may be legal aid or financial support to pay rent to stop homelessness, and much more offered.

Tenants can get advice and information on the tools needed have a positive experience as a renter. Instructors and case managers from community services are well trained and prepared to discuss important issues in regard to looking for housing as related to the clients’ personal circumstances and challenges. This service can be invaluable on preventing evictions and maintaining good landlord relations. There are even details on process to rent an apartment with a past eviction.

The Pittsburgh Community Action Agency can also direct tenants to state of Pennsylvanians homeless prevention programs. The government, as well as local non-profits in Allegheny County, coordinate everything from legal aid to grants, utility bill help and more to stop evictions. The goal is to help keep families or individuals safe as well as housed.

Low income home energy bill assistance is for residents of Pittsburgh. There are educational resources that teach income-eligible residential clients about various ways to make their homes more efficient. In some cases, participants of workshops may be able to leave with some of the energy-saving measures for installation in their own homes or apartments.

Other options include government grants as part of LIHEAP. The agency will process applications for this, and the funds can help a household keep their power or heat on during the winter. A crisis component can also include an accelerated approval of the application.





Apply for community action agency programs in Allegheny County

So these and many other resources are available from Pittsburgh Community Services. While resources are limited and qualifications need to be met, call 888-553-5778 for referrals. The main center is at 249 North Craig Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

By Jon McNamara

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