Venango County Updates         All Senior Centers closed until further notice         Human Services Complex closed to the public but still operating         The Human Services Annual Resource Fair and Community Awards have been cancelled         All AARP tax sites have been closed         Dial 2-1-1 if food for children's lunches is needed         The Pointe in Oil City is closed         County Assistance Office is closed to the public but still conducting business        
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Announcements

For up-to-date information on the Coronavirus, please click below:

 PA Department of Health - Coronavirus


Virtual Recovery Meetings for Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous

                                                                                                   Alcoholics Anonymous                                                                                                                                                                                       AA meetings online and by phone can be found here                                                                               AA Intergoup  

Narcotics Anonymous
Meetings broken down daily here:
Virtual NA Meetings

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance releases a list of free and low-cost internet resources:

Free/Low-Cost Internet List

3/24/2020 

Wolf Administration Provides Information about Food Assistance Programs 

Teresa Miller, secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), and Russell Redding, secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), met this morning to provide information about food assistance programs and resources.

Sec. Miller stated the Wolf administration is trying to ensure access to food during the emergency. She noted DHS has seen a 23 percent increase in online applications for services through DHS. She stated, “We anticipate an overall increase in applications due to the widespread closure of businesses.” While county assistance offices (CAOs) are closed to the public, she noted resources are still available with the continuation of benefit processing and issuance. Sec. Miller explained DHS benefits include applications for the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Medical Assistance (MA), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). She noted emergency food assistance is available through COMPASS, and the mobile app and that people can receive approval for emergency SNAP within five days.

Sec. Miller said paper applications can be mailed to the local CAOs or left in a secure drop box. She noted if someone misses a deadline required for the continuance of SNAP during this emergency, DHS will ensure the benefit continues. She asserted DHS is expecting to issue an additional SNAP payment to assist households so people can comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to have two weeks of food available. Sec. Miller referenced the department’s application for federal waivers and federal legislation to assist with these efforts.

Sec. Miller noted the spread of COVID-19 has created a strain on charitable organizations. She urged people who need volunteers or resources to visit the United Way of Pennsylvania’s website. She said, “DHS is doing everything it can to ensure that everyone’s food security needs are met.”

Sec. Redding spoke about emergency food assistance programs available in Pennsylvania and emphasized the issues surrounding food access and food production systems. He assured Pennsylvanians will continue to have access to a safe, accessible, and reliable food system. He remarked that panic buying is resulting in “serious” supply chain challenges for stores, food banks, and food pantries. He said, “There is no food shortage, and grocers are considered life-sustaining businesses that will remain open throughout the duration of this crisis.” He remarked on the increasing number of people in need of food assistance who are dependent on the charitable food assistance network across Pennsylvania. Sec. Redding asserted there is not enough food “at the ready” at regional food banks to serve the rapidly increasing need. He asserted if everyone returns to normal buying habits, this will allow the stores and food banks to catch up.

PA Department of Banking and Securities Announcement

securities

For Immediate Release

March 20, 2020

Department of Banking and Securities Provides Recommendations for Pennsylvanians Financially Impacted by the Coronavirus

Harrisburg, PA - The Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) collaborates with state agencies to develop resources available for Pennsylvanians financially impacted by COVID-19.

“As Pennsylvanians continue to heed the advice of public health experts to stay calm; stay home and stay safe, it is important to know your financial options,” said Acting Secretary Richard Vague. “Pennsylvanians should take action now to understand their financial situations and stay informed of what resources are available.”

Access Your Financial Institution

When possible, complete transactions using online or mobile banking, phone banking, drive thru, or ATMs.

Make use of services available 24/7 on your financial institution’s website or mobile app including: balance inquiries, transfers, loan payments, mobile check deposits, and transaction inquiries.

Consumers should contact their financial institution for any concerns with credit, automatic bill payments, or debt obligations like credit card and mortgage payments.

Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation

If you are unable to work because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation benefits. Learn more about eligibility requirements, latest developments, and how to get started here.

Trouble Paying Credit Cards

If you have seen a reduction in pay due to COVID-19 and are struggling to make your credit card or loan payments, contact your lender right away. Regulatory agencies have encouraged financial institutions to work with customers impacted by the coronavirus. For guidance visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or contact a credit counselor near you.

Trouble Paying Your Mortgage or Rent

If you do not have enough money in your savings to cover your mortgage payment or rent contact your lender or landlord immediately. Do not wait until you’re behind on payments. Some lenders may work out an agreement with you to waive late fees, set up a repayment plan or offer loan forbearance.

For mortgage information visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or find a housing counselor near you. For rental assistance visit the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Short Term and Emergency Loans

Consider your options before taking out a high cost short term loan. Talk with your creditors to negotiate more time to pay bills or borrow from friends or family before exploring loans offered by banks, credit unions, or licensed small loan companies that you may not be able to repay. Confirm the lender is licensed with DoBS and borrow only what you can afford to pay back.

Paying Utilities

On March 6, 2020, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chairman signed an emergency order prohibiting electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, telecommunication and steam utility terminations by utilities that are under the PUC’s jurisdiction. The moratorium will remain in place for as long as the Proclamation of Disaster, issued by Governor Tom Wolf related to the Coronavirus, is in effect. If you are struggling to pay your utility bills, contact your service provider for possible emergency assistance programs.

Insurance Issues

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department has resources and information available for consumers who have insurance related questions and developed an FAQ that provides information and answers to common questions related to insurance coverage and COVID-19.

Financial Scams

Consumers should be on the lookout for financial scams during major events such as the outbreak of COVID-19. If you have received an unsolicited phone call, when in doubt, hang up. Never provide credit card or other financial or personal information as part of an unsolicited phone call and think twice if you’re being pressured to act now.

Learn more about COVID-19 information and guidance for financial Institutions and consumers from DoBS.

Anyone can contact DoBS at 1-800-PA-BANKS or 1-800-722-2657 to ask questions or file complaints about financial transactions, companies, or products.

County Closings

  • The Venango County Assistance Office is closed to the public. They are still conducting business via phone, e-mail, COMPASS...
  • Venango County Senior Centers will be closed from 3/18/2020-3/27/2020 and will reevaluate at that time to see if they will be re-opened or remain closed due to the corona virus outbreak.
  • All AARP tax sites in Venango County are closed until further notice.
  • The Venango County Human Services Resource Fair scheduled for April 15, 2020, has been cancelled. 
  • The Pointe in Oil City will close at 8 p.m. tonight (3/16/20) and will remain closed until the K-12 students return to school.