Economic times have been difficult everywhere in the country in recent years. Our nation’s seniors have been hit especially hard. Living on Social Security or other fixed income does not always cover all of the expenses that seniors incur. When medical expenses add up or home repairs are extensive, many seniors have to choose between paying for their basic needs or paying their other bills. Fortunately, Pittsburgh has a strong ecumenical presence that performs charitable services for its aging population. Community services, along with state and federal programs, fill the gaps in senior services.
Seniors who need help might be well advised to check with their church, synagogue, or religious order to see what help is available first, but there are many other religious institutions that help people of all faiths. Here are a few of them:
Pittsburgh Presbytery Lazarus Fund- The Presbyterian church may offer up to $250 in one-time assistance to help with rent, utility bills, medical bills, or other outstanding payments.
Catholic Charities Challenges: Options in Aging - This is a joint partnership with the Lawrence County Area on Aging. The Challenges program offers care management, home-delivered meals, nursing home transition, personal care, and support at no cost or low cost.
Allegheny Valley Association - Allegheny Churches partnered with their own affiliates to offer seniors assistance with rent, security deposits, food, and more.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Pittsburgh - The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Conferences helps with utility bills for seniors who are having a crisis and are at risk of having their utilities shut off. Funds are limited, so applicants should apply as soon as they have a need. The society helps over 700 clients annually.
Action Housing - The leading housing agency is a non-profit agency called ACTION Housing Inc. offers emergency housing and shelters for the homeless. The program also helps homeless individuals and families find permanent housing options.
Urban League of Pittsburgh - The Urban League offers seniors housing assistance by funding security deposits, rent payments, utility payments, heating payments, and general housing assistance.
BrightStar Care of Pennsylvania provides transportation for seniors for medical appointments, errands, or for any other reason. The service also offers senior companions for help on trips.
ITN America is the Independent Transportation Network that offers transportation for seniors with rates that are more affordable than taxis. Drivers take senior passengers to any destination and always treat their passengers with dignity and respect. The service runs around the clock and serves seniors age 60 and over.
Allegheny Neighborhood Legal Services Association (NLSA) is a non-profit, public interest law firm that works with individuals to prevent evictions, resolve landlord disputes, and work towards justice regarding fair housing laws. The law firm attorneys work primarily in poverty law and offer pro bono legal services. NLSA handles cases in the crisis stage that threaten the fundamental safety and security of seniors or other low-income individuals.
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