Pro Action of Steuben and Yates programs.

A goal of Pro Action of Steuben and Yates is to help low income families gain self-sufficiency. This is mostly achieved through coordinating job training and employment programs for the poor and low income. While more limited, families and seniors from the region can also look into government financial aid such as LIHEAP energy bill program ,weatherization, or WIC. Some of the resources available from the community action agency are noted below.

As noted, Pro Action of Steuben & Yates providesemployment assistance. This involves working with  people and giving them access to job opportunities and ongoing support. This is available as a form of self-sufficiency. The programs and its case managers assist with job seeking, help people acquire and build job readiness skills, and provide other forms of employment support.

A key to stability is coordinating Skill Building. Clients are trained on tasks such as math, communication, computers, reading, language proficiency etc. to help them get a good job. Other skills covered include building team work, understanding workplace reliability and initiative. This is ongoing, and classes are available as part of life long learning sessions too. These wide range of literacy and job readiness programs serve everyone from the young to the unemployed and seniors in the area.

CHAMP, or Caring Hearts and Minds of Pro Action, gives out grants. Money is for people looking for help who are not eligible to receive it through other government or financial assistance programs. The potential recipients need to be referred by social service agencies or program staff at Pro Action. Funds can be used for certain bills such as the application fee for college or trade school, textbooks or paying the fee for a driver's license.

Job search assistance is available. As many people know, good skills and experience alone may not always guarantee a well paying job. The companies hiring are not as aggressive as they use to be and the market is competitive. Finding job opportunities in New York can be difficult. Pro Action of Steuben and  Yates’ programs help people find and respond to existing job opportunities in the local communities or even statewide. The community action agency has also developed partnerships with local employers.

Pro Action of Steuben and Yates has information on One Stop Career Centers. These locations, which are federally funded, help people in gaining skills, achieving employment and self-sufficiency. In partnership with Workforce NY, the non-profit operates three One Stop Career Centers in Hornell, Bath and Corning New York.




The locations support mid to long term self-sufficiency by helping qualified job seekers develop and enhance their skills. Work with staff from the community action agency on finding opportunities for employment.

HEAP, or the Home Energy Assistance Program, is for low-income families, including seniors. Many often find it difficult to pay their heating bills during winter. HEAP is a federally funded program. It helps people in paying a portion of a household's annual energy bills. The program may help eligible households to pay for Propane, Electricity, Natural Gas, Wood, Heating Oil, Kerosene, Coal, or any other form of heating fuel. The New York Department of Social Services processes the applications for eligibility and payment to the utility company.

Aid can also be able for emergency assistance for households in a heat-related energy emergency, such as a disconnection. In some cases HEAP also assists with furnace repairs and/or replacements for households with inoperable heating equipment.

Youth from Steuben and nearby counties can benefit from Yes! Careers. This is a state organized youth employment program which assists at-risk youth and teenagers under the age of 21. Clients may be eligible for an internship or work experience activity. They can also get assistance with a Vocational training and/ or Higher Education goal.

Working with a specialist from the non-profit, youth can avail of other supportive services such as get a free gas card, a Driver's Permits, interview clothes, work clothes, free bus tokens, and much more. Participants of Yes! Careers also learn job skills such as attendance, how to take  initiative, reliability, proper dress and hygiene, and teamwork.

The Senior Employment Program is for low to moderate income seniors. If qualified, they will be placed into paid community service employment with designated nonprofit or charities. So they get a salary, and they may even get some limited benefits while working. This is all coordinated by the community action agencies Senior Employment Program.

Participants will get paid in most cases. In general, they earn a stipend of up to $145 per week while gaining experience and learning new skills. Among other things, this will make them more marketable in the Finger Lakes regional labor force. Counties served from senior employment include Yates, Steuben, Schuyler, Alleghany and Tioga

Financial assistance for employment needs is available. Support can help people through the transition. The agency can assist them in paying for needs such as gasoline, cab fare, professional clothing or gear, transportation, child care, and licensing fees. This financial support are especially beneficial to residents when a job is new or low-paying.

Wheels for Work from Pro Action of Steuben & Yates assists people in getting a car or vehicle. Commuting to and from work regularly can sometimes be a challenge when first starting out in a new job. Low interest loans from Wheels for Work services can help pay for auto repair vouchers, insurance payments, monthly car loans, and license and registration fees.

Child Care Aware may be financial assistance or information on government subsidies. This is offered for low income parents that are working, full time in school or in training.





Self-sufficiency empowers low-income and working poor families. Individuals in the region, including Steuben County, can benefit from Family Development Adult Services. It may improve their quality of life.

The program helps them set achievable goals, assess their needs and strengths, and offer information and referrals to access services in our community. When qualified, individuals and families receive direct support services from the Pro Action of Steuben & Yates Family Development worker. Assistance may be providing information and arranging referrals, conducting assessments and building on family's strengths to help overcome barriers, informal counseling, and more.

As part of self-sufficiency, clients are provided with access and referrals to resources and financial aid. This will include Rental Help, Housing, Employment, Education, Low Cost Transportation Assistance, Food/Nutrition, Income/Budgeting, Free Health/Health Care, Family/Community Relationships, and Affordable Child Care.

Wealth Health Skills - Financial Literacy provides clients with more information about debt reduction, credit and banking services. The community action agency often partners with non-profit credit counseling agencies in the Finger Lakes to offer this. It will help the low income increase savings, improve their financial health, buy homes and enhance their total well-being. It is based on the FDIC's Money Smart curriculum.

The Head Start Family Program is a free childhood education program. It offers children from low income and struggling families with the skills needed to enter pre-school or kindergarten. The program works to enhance certain skills of the children and help them in their overall development. It is available both at home and in a center. It offers activities, such as reading, medical care, and sacks, that enhance a child's healthy development. Pro Action Head Start also relies on and partners with several local school districts to provide educational programming in center-based classroom settings.

UPK - Universal Prekindergarten is similar to Head Start, referenced above. It will make children ready for kindergarten though, so is for slightly different age group. This program relies on grants and funds from the New York State Department of Education to support it.

Another option is Early Head Start. It will address the social , mental and cognitive development of infants and toddlers. It also provides students and children with access to free well-child care and support for their healthy physical development.

WIC, or the Women, Infants, Children Supplemental Nutrition Program, is for new moms and their infants. It can help Yates and Steuben County families. The federal government WIC program provides free formula, good nutrition, and education. It is for those that struggle to buy health foods. The WIC program offers breastfeeding promotion and support, free supplemental foods for optimum growth and development; and nutrition classes.




New York Summer Food Service Program is for children in low-income households. It provides nutritious breakfasts and lunches to any child aged 18 or younger in dozens of community facilities including local schools, outdoor parks, and even churches. The program is intended to assist them during summer holidays, as they might be deprived of the free school meal programs they would otherwise participate in. The Summer Food Service Program from Pro Action of Steuben and Yates has been created to help fill this nutrition gap.

Weatherization helps in reducing the heating/cooling costs by improving conservation. It is for income-eligible families and individuals by making their houses more energy efficiency measures. Average savings in excess of 20% can be achieved, which equates to hundreds of dollars. The energy efficiency measures are done for free on home. The updates may include wall and ceiling insulation, air sealing (i.e. weather-stripping, caulking), lighting efficiency improvements (CFL bulbs), and heating system improvement or replacement.

Pro Action of Steuben and Yates also can help with energy efficiency measures from EmPower NY. It is slightly different from the Weatherization Program as it mainly targets the homes electric usage. Another key difference is that this is only for NYSEG customers who meet low income eligibility guidelines. Participating households experience significant energy use savings of up to 20% on their bills.

VITA - Tax Assistance (CA$H) is offered in partnership with the United Way of the Southern Tier. Highly trained volunteers prepare tax returns for low to moderate income families. It is done for free. Staff ensure they get all tax credits they've earned, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Call or stop by 117 E Steuben, Street Bath, New York 14810, call or 417 Liberty St., Suite 1116, Penn Yan, NY 14527.


By Jon McNamara

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