Public assistance programs in Philadelphia.

Financial support and job programs are available in Philadelphia County from the federal government and the Department of Public Welfare. Most of the aid is focused on families with children, and the government can provide short term support while working with local families on longer term job programs and self-sufficiency. Some of the primary Philadelphia programs are noted below.

The county offers medical bill assistance as part of the primary federal government program of Medicaid. This pays for health care and dental services for eligible individuals. Examples of what can be covered and paid for include Mental Health/Behavioral Health Services, Dental Services, Special Pharmaceutical Benefits Program, Medicare Part D Drug Coverage Information, Family Planning Services, and Healthy Beginnings for Pregnant Women. This is the main federal and county of Philadelphia public health insurance program.

During the cold winter months, apply for heating bill assistance from LIHEAP, or the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. It helps low-income families and seniors in Philadelphia pay their heating bills, whether natural gas, electricity, or another fuel type. Also apply for weatherization at the same time.

A fairly significant amount of government and public aid is focused on various Homeless Assistance Programs. Some examples of what can be paid for and that are included are noted below.

Rental assistance and eviction prevention is offered for those in danger of being evicted. The county of Philadelphia may be able to assist qualified tenants with payments for their monthly rent, mortgage, utilities, and/or security deposits. Representatives from the county will also work directly with your landlord to find a solution. Or if that is not possible, they will help you find a more affordable apartment, or public housing unit in the county or somewhere else close by in the suburbs of the city.

If you are homeless or facing imminent eviction, then the Bridge Housing program can help you find permanent housing in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. This public housing service will set people up in a shared facility or apartment for up to 18 months. A small payment may be required towards your rent expense, and people can still take part in case management and housing counseling services.





Advice, guidance, and case management can help people identify the reasons why they became homeless and provide individuals the tools and services they need to prevent it in the future. The many case management services offered include budgeting, referral to drug and alcohol services, life skills, job preparation, and home management. The state wants to ensure homelessness is not an ongoing cycle situation.

Public shelters are located across Philadelphia County. It is offered for people with no housing or apartment to live in, and is available for a short window of time to those who qualify.

Cash assistance is offered to those whose income is not high enough to support themselves or their family, or if they can’t work because of a disability. The main resource is the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families/TANF. It offers money for paying bills and basic needs for dependent children who are needy because financial support is not available from their parents.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Welfare provides payments for funerals, burial and cremation services. Aid is offered on behalf of eligible individuals and families.

Food assistance is provided from SNAP/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Benefits and vouchers are used to buy groceries and food, and otherwise help eligible low-income Philadelphia households pay for more nutritious diets by increasing their purchasing power.

Other county services offered include Diversion Program, Refugee Cash Assistance; Health Care/Medical Assistance; Family Planning; Long Term Care; Legal Services; Assistance for Persons with Disabilities; and Mental Health Care.

The Philadelphia County Assistance Office runs these aid, welfare, and public assistance programs. The main office is at 801 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Dial 215-560-3283 for information.



By Jon McNamara

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