The Cape Cod Times Needy Fund has provided some useful material on how to help families and individuals pay for food, rent, mortgage payments, utility and heating bills, medical costs and other basic expenses.
Needy Fund Criteria
The Needy Fund conducts intakes and makes decisions on a case by case basis. Information on all household members is required. We review both gross and net income and all household expenses. Financial need in real time is emphasized as we do not apply federal poverty guidelines to our financial assistance decisions. It is important to note that the Needy Fund assistance is not meant to replace income where there is none; our mission is to assist with temporary financial emergencies.
Often, assistance from more than one agency may be required to solve the financial crisis. Other agencies that may be contacted for this purpose are:
- Saint Vincent de Paul Society through your local Catholic Church
- Hands of Hope
- Catholic Charities
- Housing Assistance Corp.
- Council on Aging
- Shaw Fund for Mariner’s Children
- Massachusetts 2-1-1 – Mass 211 has information on many charitable agencies across Cape Cod.
Potential housing assistance resources:
- Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod
- Harwich Ecumenical Council for Housing
- Welcome to Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands, Inc.
- Hope Now
The Needy Fund also partners with the Lower Cape Outreach Council and the Falmouth Service Center to provide financial assistance Cape-wide.
Budgeting & Debt Management
Poor budget management is considered during intakes. An inability to make sound household budgeting decisions does not fit our criteria for assistance. It is important to recognize that housing, utilities and food should be paid prior to cable and other expenses. If budgeting is an issue, our intake counselors can assist you with resources for this purpose.
Do you know where your money is being spent? There are often several areas of spending in any household budget that can be trimmed. Spending more than your net income is a recipe for financial disaster and household stress. Limited income? Maximizing community resources can help stretch your budget.
- Household Budget Worksheet
- Monthly Menu Plan
- The Peaceful Mom
- The Seven Baby Steps
- The Cape Cod Hunger Network
– Food pantries help you save money that can be used to pay other bills. Cape Cod has a large network of pantries.
Don’t wait until you have a shut off notice to call for help. Massachusetts law prevents utility companies from shutting off service in certain situations and during certain times of the year, but if you allow your balance to build up without paying anything from month to month, you will be in threat of shut off once the warmer months begin. Pay something every month, even if it is not your total monthly bill, and you will have an easier time avoiding shut off and negotiating payment plans. You can also easily spread your yearly utility costs out evenly by enrolling in a balanced budget billing plan with your utility company. When you do this, your monthly payment will always be the same, making budgeting easier.
Both NSTAR and National Grid have arrearage management programs. These plans offer forgiveness credits on overdue bills as long as you agree to make a monthly payment. Call them to enroll.