Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project financial aid programs.
Helping families emerge from poverty, Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project offers several crisis programs and other services. Resources are available in Franklin, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and the city of Suffolk. The non-profit also offer assistance in the counties of Southampton and Isle of Wight.
While a number of programs are available, a focus is on housing and homeless prevention as well as addressing nutritional and employment needs. They use a combination of government grants and private funds, and many of the main services available are below.
Find help for bills, deposits, and housing costs
STOP’s Crisis Intervention Initiative provides limited financial assistance to area residents who are experiencing a short term emergency situation. The program, known as CII, helps income qualified families and individuals with finding and/or retaining adequate shelter. This is done through the provision of short-term financial assistance, such as payment of the first month’s rent, security deposits, or mortgage payments. In some cases there may also be vouchers or funds to pay for hotel costs.
When possible, Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project also provides free food, bus fare or tokens (to and from work or interviews only), assistance with utility costs, and support services for the homeless. So resources available in Virginia Beach, Franklin, and other towns are extensive.
Obtaining and keeping affordable permanent housing can be difficult. It can sometimes be a complicated and confusing matter. To help clarify housing-related issues, STOP’s Counseling Program is available to address the issues surrounding the process of locating suitable, affordable low income housing. Some examples of the free Housing Counseling services include education on finding a place to live, information on grants for paying rent, loans for housing expenses, and foreclosure prevention for owners.
The non-profit also operates a Community Housing Development Program, or CHD. The organization provides support and assistance for low to moderate-income individuals and families. Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project will work with families in the region, including Southampton County, who are searching for safe, sanitary, and affordable housing. CHD is available only in the cities of Franklin, Suffolk and Isle of Wight and Southampton Counties.
HECM - Home Equity Conversion Mortgage provides information for elderly residents who are so called house rich and cash poor. The program is run in conjunction with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as well as the Virginia Housing Development Authority. Counselors from STOP provide information on how to obtain cash against home equity. Freeing up this money will allow the senior to address other needs, such as health care and more.
The Home Weatherization Initiative is a federal government Department of Energy regulated program that provides home alterations or improvements to eligible low-income residents and seniors as well as the disabled. It will help with the goal of increasing energy efficiency and reducing costs. Available measures can include insulating and ventilating the attic, sealing windows and doors to eliminate any air leakage, and wrapping the water heater.
Elderly/Disabled Home Maintenance Initiative provides $5,000 grants for free home repairs for eligible low income elderly and/or disabled homeowners. Funded by the City of Norfolk as well as government grants, the program was created in response to the extreme need of these target populations. Examples of repairs in Virginia include plumbing, roofing, painting, heating and cooling, and accessibility improvements. These are just a few of the services available through the Home Maintenance Initiative.
LIHEAP - Low Income Home Energy Assistance is a federally funded program providing qualified households in eastern Virginia with assistance with paying bills for a variety of heating fuels. Grants can be used to pay for heating oil, propane, kerosene, coal, cord wood, water, natural gas, and electricity. Certain eligible households or tenants may even receive assistance with energy costs that are included in their rent.
Financial literacy and employment services from STOP
The main goal of VIDA - Virginia Individual Development Accounts Initiative is to provide participants with financial literacy skills that allow them to both obtain and build assets. The Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project VIDA program furnishes each participant with a special savings account, and then matches every dollar deposited by the participant with a additional funds. When a certain amount is reached, the money can be used to pay to purchase a home, start a business, or further an education.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance offers free tax preparation and electronic filing for low-income working families in the region, including Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and Southampton County. Special emphasis is placed on ensuring that all individuals receive all tax credits to which they are entitled, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Credit and Child Care Tax and other Federal government and State of Virginia credits that increase the amount of a refund to a client.
STOP partners with Training Solutions, a privately owned company, to provide employment-related job training and educational services to those who are seeking entry-level jobs in the healthcare field. There is also help given to many health care professionals who wish to keep their skills up-to-date.
VIEW is a Chesapeake Department of Social Services program that provides access to jobs for all members of eligible families. It is run in partnership with the community action agency. Through direct CDSS referrals, VIEW provides round-the-clock transportation services to and from childcare, local job interviews, training sessions, and even work on a short term basis.
This initiative serves the entire family and minimizes immediate transportation barriers by implementing a flexible scheduling system that can be customized to accommodate each participant’s level of training and childcare responsibilities.
Project Discovery from STOP is available to students in Grades 9 through 12, at high schools in Chesapeake and Norfolk Virginia. The program is run as a partnership between public schools, the greater community, and local colleges.
The overall goal is to provide support and inspiration to the students, and to inspire them to stay in school, graduate, and go on to attend college on time. Project Discovery activities include study sessions, field trips to colleges and universities, information on loan products, as well as assistance with completing financial aid applications. This is often offered at the same time as the Learning Academy/Youth Empowered to Learn and Lead Program, which promotes social and academic learning.
There are several centers in the region. The main STOP - Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project office is at 2551 Almeda Ave., Norfolk, Virginia 23513, telephone 757-858-1360.