Especially important during these stressful economic times, Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) Single Stop programs offer free financial counseling and a range of other services for lower income individuals and families in three Manhattan neighborhoods: W ashington Heights, East Harlem and Central Harlem. The following are tips for low income New York families to survive the economic crisis:
- Don’t’ panic. Instead, see a professional such as an advisor at one of CUCS’ 3 community Single Stop Centers or any of the 59 Single Stop Centers in the Single Stop USA Network funded by the Robin Hood Foundation throughout New York City. Single Stop staff can assess your situation and inform you of your options on a complete range of financial and legal issues.
- Make sure you are accessing all the benefits you or your family are entitled to. Many households=2 0do not apply for things such as food stamps, free or low-cost health insurance and heating assistance, even though they are eligible and the receipt of these benefits could make a huge difference in their ability to remain healthy and stably housed. In fact, $65 billion worth of benefits go unclaimed each year by eligible households. CUCS’ Single Stops have advisors who can help you determine what benefits you are eligible for and will help you apply for these benefits.
- Develop a household budget. It’s important to know where your money is going so you can determine if there are ways in which you can cut back in one or more areas and so that you can have sufficient funds available throughout the month. Advisors at CUCS’ Single Stops can help you in developing a practical budget.
- If you fall behind on rent, be proactive and speak with your landlord. Many times, you can work out a payment plan before so that you don’t fall farther behind and risk court eviction proceedings. If you have an eviction pending, see a lawyer so that you can know your rights. CUCS’ Single Stops can assist you in developing a plan with your landlord and offer you free legal services to assist you in staying stably housed.
- Access free or low-cost resources in your community. CUCS’ Single Stop staff can assist you in finding nearby food pantries and other emergency services.
- Don’t forget about tax credits. If you are a low-income household, you may be entitled to both state and federal tax credits. CUCS’ Single Stops can help you with your tax returns including securing any tax credits you may be entitled to.
CUCS’ Washington Heights and Central Harlem Single Stop programs were both established in 2005, followed by East Harlem earlier this year. Single Stop’s goal is to maximize the use of benefits and entitlements in order to ensure housing stability of low-income individuals and families and to provide counseling, information and referrals to remove barriers to successful living in the community. CUCS’ Single Stop Programs are open to all members of the community and together serve more than 1,200 low income households each year. Based on the success of CUCS and other Single Stop providers in New York City, the program is now going=2 0national through the work of Single Stop USA, a newly created non-profit partially funded by the Robin Hood Foundation.
About Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS)
Headquartered In East Harlem in New York City, CUCS is the nation’s largest provider of social services in supportive housing as well as a comprehensive human services agency that implements new practices, actively shares its knowledge and assists in shaping local, state and national strategies so that persons who are homeless, low-income, living with mental illness or have other special needs can live successfully in the community.
For further information about Center for Urban Community Services’ Single Stop program or to speak with a CUCS representative please call (212) 843-8073 or email: email@example.com.