As Winter Approaches, Don’t Hesitate to Seek Help for Loved Ones, Yourself through PA Human Services Department

As the days are growing colder and we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that each of us looks out for the well-being of our families, as well as ourselves. Every Pennsylvanian deserves a warm, safe home with food on the table.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is here to help.

The Wolf Administration offers assistance to every eligible Pennsylvanian if they are having trouble meeting essential needs. Below is a list of some of the available resources offered by the Department of Human Services

Housing and Utilities

  • Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
    • Pennsylvania ERAP County Application Finder
      ERAP remains a lifeline for renters of residential properties who are at risk of eviction or utility shutoffs due to hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Landlords can apply for assistance on behalf of tenants and receive rental assistance directly if the tenant is eligible. Pennsylvanians experiencing housing instability or at risk of eviction are strongly urged to begin their ERAP application as soon as possible.
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) 
    • LIHEAP helps families living on low incomes pay their heating bills in the form of a cash grant. Households in immediate danger of being without heat can also qualify for crisis grants. The cash grant is a one-time payment sent directly to the utility company/fuel provider to be credited on your bill. These grants range from $500 to $1,500 based on household size, income, and fuel type. Remember: This is a grant and does not have to be repaid.

Food Assistance

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    •  Apply for benefits: SNAP helps Pennsylvanians buy food. People in eligible low-income households can obtain more nutritious diets through SNAP, increasing their food-purchasing power at grocery stores and supermarkets. Those who are eligible receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) ACCESS Card to make food purchases.
  • Find a Meal —Find food pantries near you
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
    WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding instructions, and counseling at designated clinics. To support healthy eating, participants are given vouchers that they can redeem at grocery stores for specific food items.
  • Senior Food Box Program The Senior Food Box Program works to improve the health of low-income seniors by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA Foods. In Pennsylvania, eligible participants include low-income individuals who are at least 60 years old and whose household income is at or below 130 percent of the U.S. poverty level.

Mental Health

  • PA Support & Referral Hotline
    • Call: 1-855-284-2494 (TTY: 724-631-5600)
      DHS’ mental health support and referral helpline is available 24/7 and is a free resource staffed by skilled and compassionate caseworkers available to counsel Pennsylvanians struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    • Call: 800-273-8255 (Español: 888-628-9454)
    • A chat function is also available
      If you or someone you care about is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please call the Lifeline.
  • Crisis Text Line
    • Text “PA” to 741741 to start the conversation 24/7.
  • PA Crisis Hotlines

Family Assistance

  • KinConnector 
    • Connect with free resources: 1-800-490-8505
    • Find available family services by county
      PA KinConnector provides resources, information, support and education (RISE) for kinship caregivers — including grandparents, aunts or uncles, siblings, cousins, or non-blood “relatives” — who take on the traditional parenting responsibilities when biological parents cannot.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Also referred to as cash assistance, TANF provides cash assistance to pregnant women and dependent children and their parents or relatives who live with and care for them.

Substance Use

  • Get Help Now Helpline
    • Call: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
      A toll-free helpline maintained through the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) that connects callers looking for treatment options for themselves or a loved one to resources in their community. Calls are anonymous and available 24/7.
  • Find Treatment Near You
  • Naloxone Standing Order   Naloxone is still available to all Pennsylvanians through a standing order signed by Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson. Carrying naloxone on-hand at all times can be a life-saving action.

Victim’s Assistance