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South Central (Pennsylvania) Community Action assistance programs.

The South Central Community Action is a regional non-profit agency for the working poor, senior citizens and low income families. They administer resources that can help the less fortunate make it through a hardship. Examples of their programs include Work Ready, housing assistance, information on food pantries, and much more.

The financial aid and case management support is meant to serve as a hand up to those that are struggling, and not a hand out. This means that the client needs to be working towards self-sufficiency. So case managers from South Central Community Action will partner with the resident in an effort to help them increase their income, gain new skills, or maybe even find a job somewhere in Franklin or the Adams County area.

South Central financial aid for rent and utility bills

Rent assistance and eviction prevention is available from South Central Community Action Programs. The aid is targeted at those families who are currently homeless or who are behind on their rent and/or facing homelessness through eviction or other circumstances.

If the clients meets all program terms, including satisfying the ability to maintain the rental agreement on an on-going basis as well as income guidelines, then the non-profit may offer a bridge loan or direct rent payment to your landlord or apartment manager. There can also be assistance to pay for a security deposit or first month’s rent if needed.

Free food is available from the Second Harvest Food Bank, which is a key partner of the not-profit Community Action Committee of the South Central Community Action.  Hundreds of agencies and pantries in Adams and Franklin County distribute tons of groceries and food to the needy. The organization is involved in distributing groceries or food to people in need through area charities and non-profits.  Second Harvest will also provide resources for advocacy to end hunger as well as education.

FirstEnergy’s WARM Program is available from South Central Community Action. The main objective of WARM is to lower the amount owed on monthly electric bills for low-income FirstEnergy customers.




A part of the WARM program, staff from both the South Central Community Action as well as FirstEnergy work to identify energy saving improvements to the customer’s residence. All of the updates will need to result in lower electric bills for the family. After inspecting the home as well as studying a customer’s electricity usage, a CACLV representative provides the customer with tips, advice and information on how to go about conserving energy.

As part of this process, the homeowner will also learn about any other services that may be available from SCCAP. Some examples of these possible WARM services from FirstEnergy or the community action agency include caulking of air leaks, extra insulation of attics, hot water pipes and basements as well as the installation of compact florescent light bulbs or energy efficient appliances. All of this is done for free.

The federal government funded LIHEAP Crisis Program is run by South Central Community Action in Franklin and Adams county. It will offer emergency financial aid and service to eligible persons who face a home heating related emergency or utility disconnection.

The Weatherization Assistance Program is run by the agency for people and families who live in nearby Lehigh and Northampton Counties. Both renters and homeowners can apply. These services are also provided for free to the individual. Weatherization may provide for additional insulation, furnace repairs, additional caulking and weather-stripping doors. The U.S. Department of Energy and US Department of Health and Human Services fund it.

PPL’s WRAP Program was created in an effort to help lower income customers. It is another free conservation program that will help families with decreasing their electric bills. What may be offered by WRAP includes additional insulation of attics, insulation of hot water pipes, floors and basements, and the caulking of air leaks that lead to higher heating costs. There may also be energy efficient appliances offered or CFL bulbs.





The UGI Low Income Usage Reduction service will both make a families homes more comfortable and help them save money on their utilities. South Central Community Action can provide more information and they administer it in the region. In general, if your income is below 150% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines level or if you received LIHEAP benefits during the last 12 months, you may be eligible for Low Income Usage Reduction.

It provides inspections to the home and a wide array of energy saving improvements. The improvements typically include things like door weather-stripping, insulation sealing of leaks, and more. As part of this program, an Energy Auditor will visit your home to discuss ways of saving money on your UGI gas bills.

Homeowner programs and mortgage assistance

Home Ownership Counseling is available from SCCAP for those who currently rent or really anyone that is interested in becoming a homeowner. The workshops and seminar are made up of several different sessions, which include activities such as shopping for a home, reviewing the closing process, credit repair, and information on what to expect from being a homeowner.

As part of this process, clients can request individual counseling from South Central Community Action. This is also available for people both during and after the home-buying process. They will review your credit report, help with selecting the best mortgage, pre-qualifications, and offer referrals for home rehab or repair programs if need be.

For current homeowners that are struggling, get information on the Pennsylvania HEAMP - Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program. This is a state run assistance program to help those who are struggling but that otherwise worked hard to purchase and keep up with the loans on their homes.

HEAMP offers individuals from the area who have received an Act 91 notice the ability to apply for a new, lower interest home loan that will be used to pay their mortgage. The financing will allow the individuals time to regain their financial footing and get back on track. Counselors from the community action agency will need to prepare the necessary paperwork to be mailed to the state for a decision and also review each individual situation.

Often combined with that is free or low cost foreclosure counseling. Housing Counselors provide guidance and support to homeowners from Adams and nearby counties that are at risk of losing their home to a sheriff’s sale or repossession by their bank.

Counselors will meet with clients in an effort to prepare them for a Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement Conference. This will take place in civil court. As part of this settlement process, the Housing Counselor will review your financial situation, including current loan documents. They will work with the client and assist the homeowner with going over different options available which may include loan modification, bringing your mortgage current, proposing a repayment plan, and more.

Before the court session, a proposal will be developed to address the mortgage delinquency. This will be presented to the lender or bank’s attorney prior to the conciliation conference. The different parties that will be at the session include the lender, their attorney, the housing counselor, a pro bono attorney representing the homeowner, and of course the homeowner.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance resource from SCCAP can help low to moderate income residents with completing their income tax returns, both federal and state. It was created as the result of a partnership between South Central Community Action and the IRS. It is mostly run by IRS trained volunteers. It in effect enables tax payers to file their taxes at no cost to them. It allows them to use their refunds to pay towards savings and asset building. Many of the clients of VITA also qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.

Employment resources

The Work Ready Program is offered in the state, including in Adams and Franklin County. It is administered by South Central Community Action Agency and offered in partnership with the Department of Public Welfare.

A number of employment and job training services are offered from it to temporary assistance to needy families (TANF) participants who otherwise have limited employability. Also, the fact is that many people that benefit from Work Ready may have a college degree and/or extensive work experience, but they just need a little additional training or support in this challenging economy.





All participants are referred directly through the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare by contractual obligation. Work Ready provides clients with a holistic assessment and takes into account all facets of the participants life, including their financial situation and past work experiences. Although long term employment is the goal of the program, clients can also access other services throughout this process.

Staff work with individuals to identify, diminish, or remove obstacles that impede individual growth and self-sufficiency. The efforts of the Work Ready Program will remove Adams County and other individuals from dependence on the welfare system. Clients can get assistance in the form of Job Search Training, Transportation Assistance, Help with Child Care, Vocational Skills Training, ESL classes, GED Assistance, and maybe even limited Vehicle Purchase.

Apply for financial help from South Central Community Action Agency

For more information, contact South Central Community Action Programs. The main office is at 153 N Stratton St Gettysburg Pennsylvania 17325. Or dial 717-334-7634.


By Jon McNamara

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