Purpose: STEP Outreach works with individuals and families toward solutions for improving their quality of life, alleviating their crisis situation, and assisting them with making informed decisions about their futures.
Vision: Individuals and families will learn to manage their own resources, and plan for their futures.
Program Overview: STEP Outreach provides customers with initial resource and referral information. Partnerships with PPL Electric Utilities, and UGI Corporation’s (formerly United Gas Improvement Company) subsidiaries: Penn Natural Gas, and Central Penn Gas. Qualified customers are offered affordable utility payments through their Customer Assistance Programs (CAPS). These programs offer a reduced monthly payment as coverage for utility service, cancel a portion of any debt owed to the company, and provide energy education and weatherization services.
STEP Outreach also assists households with their utility bills in partnership with other utility company programs. Operation Help is a PPL-sponsored fuel fund that helps pay the energy bills of low-income customers. The fund is supported by donations from PPL customers, employees, and the company. It can assist households experiencing extenuating circumstances and hardships. UGI’s fuel fund, Operation Share, also provides assistance to residential customers faced with hardship due to unforeseen situations.Households who are unemployed or disabled, and have fixed- or low-incomes, or those facing some catastrophic event, and who have been striving to maintain a good payment record may qualify for a grant.
The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) is a short-term HUD program created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program is designed to help persons affected by the current economic crisis. Temporary financial assistance, housing relocation and stabilization services, and case management are all components of the program designed to alleviate the housing crisis for qualified participants.
STEP Outreach also administers funding from The Emergency Food and Shelter Program. This program’s funding can provide one month’s rental assistance for individuals transitioning from homelessness or for homeless prevention.
Households in crisis that meet Community Services Block Grant guidelines may receive case management services, connecting them to other mainstream community resources as part of their stabilization plan. A needs assessment pinpoints problem areas and allows the customer and case manager to formulate a plan to address those areas.
Benchmarks of Success:
- Households reduce their debt by enrolling in and complying with affordable utility bill payment plans.
- Households avoid termination of utility service, or a fuel crisis through agency payments.
- Housing is stabilized through short and medium-term rental assistance.
- Households avoid homelessness by receiving emergency rental assistance.