Low-income citizens in Philadelphia will have assistance in accessing federal, state and local benefits for which they are eligible thanks to the official opening of six BenePhilly Centers on Tuesday.
These centers are an extension of the city’s 2008 effort to assist low-income senior citizens in accessing services over the phone.
Created by the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO) in partnership with Benefits Data Trust and Solutions for Progress, the centers will connect low-income individuals to counselors who will provide assistance in learning about available benefits, support in applying for and enrolling in programs and connections to other support systems available through community-based organizations.
Eva Gladstein, executive director of CEO, participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center located at Philadelphia FIGHT.
“Every year, eligible Philadelphia residents leave millions of dollars on the table by not enrolling in critical benefits programs,” Gladstein said in a statement. “We are proud to partner with the best in this field to help Philadelphians cut through red tape and put money back in the pockets of individuals and families who need it.”
Ginger Zielinskie, executive director of Benefits Data Trust, said in a statement that the non-profit is “thrilled” to partner with CEO.
“Expanding BenePhilly allows us to help eligible individuals, of all ages, throughout the City of Philadelphia access the services they need either in their neighborhood or over the phone,” Zielinskie said.
Mayor Michael Nutter said the program is a “critically important” part of Shared Prosperity Philadelphia, his administration’s anti-poverty campaign.
“BenePhilly Centers will help our vulnerable residents in many ways, from heating their homes to buying groceries to feed their families,” Nutter said in a statement. “I want to thank the CEO for its leadership and Benefits Data Trust and Solutions for Progress for partnering with the City on this important initiative.”
The BenePhilly Centers provide support for:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);
Health insurance like CHIP, Medicaid and Medicare;
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC);
Child Care Tax Credit; and
State and City property tax credits, including the Homestead Exemption.
Additional benefits screenings and referrals for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Unemployment Insurance (UI).
BenePhilly Center locations
Catholic Social Services, Casa Del Carmen, 4400 North Reese Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140;
People’s Emergency Center, in the Families First building, 3939 Warren Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104;
Philadelphia FIGHT, 1233 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102;
Project HOME, 1515 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130;
Utilities Emergency Services Fund, 1617 JFK Blvd, Suite 840, Philadelphia, PA 19103; and
United Communities Southeast Philadelphia, in the Houston Center, 2029 S. 8th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148.
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