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Erie County Social Services Department offering supports to furloughed federal employees

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Fri, Jan 25th 2019 06:00 pm

Emergency temporary assistance, emergency food pantry referrals, heating assistance available

Federal workers affected by the month-long governmental shutdown are facing unnecessary uncertainty in providing for themselves and their families while the shutdown continues. The Erie County Department of Social Services is offering supports to these furloughed workers with two programs for emergency assistance that furloughed federal workers may qualify for and utilize immediately: emergency temporary assistance and emergency food pantry referral. Help with home energy heating needs is also available.

Emergency temporary assistance is available for residents with an urgent need or situation that has to be taken care of right away, such as eviction or no heat. Applications for emergency temporary assistance should be filed at the ECDSS Emergency Services/ HEAP office located on the second floor of 460 Main St., Buffalo. Offices are open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To contact the emergency services unit by phone, call 716-858-6265.

In order to receive emergency temporary assistance, residents must have the following documentation:

•Photo ID or birth certificate and Social Security card for all household members 18 and older. (All adults 18 and older must be present, unless under the age of 19 and regularly attending a secondary school or the equivalent level of vocational or technical training);

•Income (ex. paystubs for the past four weeks)/resources verification (ex. copy of bank statement) for all household members;

•Household composition/tenant of record-copy of lease or landlord statement completed by the owner/manager of property; and

•If the applicant is a homeowner, a copy of deed.

The emergency food pantry referral program provides a referral to the Food Bank of Western New York. The program provides households experiencing an emergency food need with a referral for groceries from one of the 27 pantries in the DSS referral network. Pantry referrals can be obtained in our Erie County Works Center located on the first floor of 158 Pearl St. The Erie County Works Center is open between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. The phone number is 716-858-8000.

If furloughed federal workers are unsure if they qualify for a program, they are encouraged to visit the Erie County Works Center for an assessment. Trained Social Services staff will determine what programs the furloughed worker is qualified for.

Additionally, the Home Energy Assistance Program is still accepting applications for basic HEAP payments. Furloughed workers seeking assistance with a heating bill can file a HEAP application online at www.myBenefits.ny.gov.

For more information on the Erie County Department of Social Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/socialservices/.

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