Reading assistance programs.
Over $1 million in federal government stimulus funds is being provided to Reading County. The funds will go to assistance programs and charity organizations. In total several agencies will receive funds, including Opportunity House, which runs a shelter and rent assistance program for low-income people, individuals who are about to lose their homes, and the currently homeless. Call (610) 374-4696. Much of the federal funding is being provided to help those who would otherwise be homeless without a little short term aid.
While there are some restrictions on the money, it can be used for some wide ranging uses. The government funds can be used for paying security or utility deposits, offering rental assistance, housing relocation, credit counseling, heating bill and utility payments, moving costs and a wide variety of other assistance. Call them to find additional ways to get credit counseling.
Most of the other assistance programs are run by the human services division in partnership with the county or the state of Pennsylvania, including the Department of Public Welfare. Some or all of the following services and public assistance programs may be offered to Reading residents.
- Healthcare Coverage, which can include programs such as Medicaid. Other medical assistance may be offered for low income families/individuals who are experiencing life threatening conditions and/or catastrophic health care bills. Seniors can look into prescription discount cards.
- Food Stamp Benefits. Vouchers may be provided to low income families, in particular children, for buying groceries. Aid is also offered to help low income families if they have a drug offense. SNAP food stamps offer clients extra buying power for the purchase of groceries, food and perishable items. The vouchers are used in place of cash assistance.
- Long Term Care as well as Home & Community Based Services are offered by the government.
- Cash Assistance for basic needs, including the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) heating bill assistance. These cash grants are meant to only provide temporary assistance and resources to very low income individuals/families. The money is offered while they look for jobs and become employable. LIHEAP on the other hand is a little more available to the public. People can apply starting in October.
Most government programs, including those offered by Reading, come with conditions. People need to be actively looking for a job or attending training, and they also usually need to sign up for case management and other social services. The main office to apply at for these resources is located at 625 Cherry Street (Room 215) Reading. Or dial 610-736-4211.
The Reading/Berks Coalition to End Homeless is another housing type agency. You need to call for an appointment to meet with a case manager. The organization is also US Department of Housing & Urban Development certified. One program they offer is HPRP, and it may have funds in an emergency for rent or utility assistance. Various outreach services are offered too, including foreclosure prevention counseling. The main address is 336 S. 18th St.
Receive information on utility bill assistance, or on your rights when it comes to disconnection, from the Public Utility Commission. The government can assist water, electric and gas customers, and they mostly provide advice. Get support with the resolution to issues such as termination of service or deposits for a new account. Call 800-692-7380.
Those are just a few of the services offered in the city of Reading. Or course people can also look into additional Berks County assistance programs. Click here for more information on those services.