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Assistance from churches in Westchester County.

A goal of churches in Westchester County is on housing, hunger prevention, and basic needs for those that are facing eviction, hunger or the homeless. The charity also runs the largest soup kitchen in the region, provides food and other social services to low income families and the poor.

Rental and affordable housing solutions from Churches

Housing stabilization programs are offered in the form of emergency rental assistance, eviction prevention, or low income, short term housing. If a Westchester County family is facing homelessness due to an unpaid utility bill, then funds may be provided for energy expenses as well. Much more is offered based on donations and resources as indicated below.

Homeless prevention is from the local churches. They try to help address the growing need for emergency rental assistance and other housing aid among low-income and unemployed residents. Clients include the working poor, unemployed, recent immigrants, and the elderly from WestChester.

Financial assistance is available to individuals who do not qualify for any form of government assistance from DSS, and qualified DSS applicants who are still are unable to cover their rental payments. This program has achieved success in preventing eviction and/or homelessness in the community, by providing pre-screened clients with short term, but very limited cash assistance.

In addition to financial assistance or loans for paying rent or utilities, the Westchester County and White Plains community center church programs offers counseling from qualified experts in regard to ways to avert pending eviction.

Depending on availability of funding, additional financial aid may be provided to cover the cost of security deposits, first months rent, storage, or other necessary short-term expenses related to housing retention or obtaining alternative housing. In the event that the staff from a church in Westchester County is unable to help with your housing needs, case managers will refer applicants to other service agencies or local charities.

Housing assistance includes stabilization to income qualified community members who are facing eviction, foreclosure or general homelessness. The Housing Services Office at a local White Plain Parish may offer help to residents with HIV/AIDS, individuals and families in danger of losing their housing due to rental costs that are greater than 50 percent of their income, the disabled, people with a mental illness, or seniors. Households in need of cash grants to avoid eviction or to obtain affordable housing may qualify for one time security deposit, mortgage, or rent help.




The Shelter Plus Care Program is administered in Westchester County by the churches as well as government run community center. The program provides a combination of direct rental assistance, loans for deposits and case management support services to single, homeless individuals with histories of substance abuse or mental illness.

The government supported housing resource helps clients with relocating to affordable housing as well. There is also support for the development of goals and skills necessary for progressing toward a stable, independent lifestyle. Shelter Plus Care operates according to a sponsor-based model, arranging with landlords to lease dozens of apartments in the region and then sub-let them to clients. A key Westchester County Church partner is the Department of Community Mental Health.

Clients need to pay a portion of their income towards their monthly rent and related bills. Federal government HUD guidelines call for clients to pay 30 percent of their incomes toward rent and Shelter Plus covers the balance. As part of GCCC's "continuum of care" approach, eligible residents of Samaritan House and Open Arms who are determined to be ready to move on to low cost rental housing are referred to the Shelter Plus Care Program.

When housing can’t be found, and shelters are full, churches in Westchester County may offer emergency motel vouchers. These will be for very short term stays and can help children, women fleeing violence, immigrants, and those with no other options available.

Housing from the Open Arms Program offers shelter and rehabilitative services for single, homeless adult males. This is only an option for those who are in need of temporary housing. Open Arms has operated its shelter and social service center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is a full range of services administered by Department of Social Services (DSS) as well as Church as part of this for single homeless men.

Objectives include moving residents toward independent living by placing them in transitional or permanent housing within a few months and also integrating basic shelter services with other aid to address the varied needs of residents. For example, Open Arms residents have access to job-readiness evaluation and training, psychiatric assessment, medical care, and other activities which are also essential components of the rehabilitation process.

Homeless women can avail themselves of the Samaritan House. The community center operates a temporary shelter for homeless women in Westchester County that are suffering from domestic violence, substance abuse, or mental illness. Housing is also for women recently released from prison on parole.





In addition to emergency shelter, the Westchester County Church Parish House program provides rehabilitative services as necessary for each individual. Case managers work with residents to ensure that every client receives access to and information on the best mix of treatment options. While in the shelter, the women receive help in finding employment, keeping appointments with medical doctors and therapists, keeping court appointments, visiting children, and attending job training. Find additional sources of regional overnight homeless shelters.

Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS, or HOPWA, was is designed to assist eligible individuals and families currently facing loss of rental housing due to an inability to pay rent. First priority is given to persons living with CDC-defined AIDS or severe symptomatic HIV.

HOPWA is operated by Westchester County Church Parish House according to a tenant-based model, with participants involved in a direct landlord-tenant lease relationship. Case management is also an integral component of this program, providing information in regard to primary health, dental, and mental health services, accessing government entitlements, free food and nutritional support services. This program is administered through grants issued from the Department of Planning, in conjunction with a HUD rental assistance.

The Ryan White Title I Program is another GCCC service dedicated to providing housing assistance to Tri-County residents living with HIV/AIDS. A key partner on the administration of this resource is the Department of Health. The Ryan White Title I programs offers short-term housing assistance, financial aid, and other support specifically around eviction prevention and housing stabilization services. Clients can access Budget Counseling, One Time Emergency Rent Payments, Assistance with Relocation Expenses, Free Legal Assistance and Representation, and Relocation Assistance. There are also funds for paying utility and rental deposits.

Neighbors Home Care Services is available from Westchester County Church Parish House. It is operated as a New York State Licensed Home Care Services Agency, and it provides customized, compassionate, and comprehensive care for senior citizens and the disabled in Westchester.

Working with the attending physician, a registered nurse performs a preliminary assessment and develops a Plan of Care for providing each disabled or elderly client with appropriate services. All aides or registered nurses are certified to perform simple health care tasks, such as monitoring vital signs and helping clients with managing medications. Other assistance may include transportation to doctor appointments, simple companionship, grocery shopping trips, meal preparation, medication management, housecleaning and home care services.

Meals, clothes and food programs

Free meals are available from largest soup kitchen in White Plains. They are also the only location that is serving hot meals Monday through Friday and on holidays. The Church Community Center Soup Kitchen assists dozens of low income and/or homeless individuals each day. Thousands of free holiday meals are served too, including on Christmas, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Presidents Day, Martin Luther King Day, Easter, July 4th, Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Many Westchester County churches have soup kitchens. They help feed the homeless, poor, children, as well as starving. Whether free meals at lunch, breakfast or dinner, or holiday events and parties, help is offered. There are many other options too, including Salvation Army Catholic centers and other free soup kitchens.





A food pantry can also help Westchester families too. In addition to those free daily meals, the charity will offer canned goods, boxes of groceries or sandwiches for those in need to take home each day. On Fridays, enough free groceries or food items to last the weekend is available for clients to take home. Anyone in need of assistance is welcome to stop by at Church Parish House. No one is turned away.

There are many churches, that are non-demonational, that help low income families in Westchester County. Churches are in all cities and towns, including White Plains. Dial 211 for referrals to financial help as well as basic needs.


By Jon McNamara














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