Monday, September 26, 2011

Ohio HEAP and PIPP PLUS Utility Assistance Programs

Looking for some help with paying for your heating bills this winter?  Here are a few good programs to explore for the 2011 - 2012 winter heating season and beyond. 

The HEAP Program, which provides a one-time credit on heating bills to eligible individuals, is taking applications between August 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012. In order for a household to be eligible for HEAP, the total household income has to be under 200% of the federal poverty level, based on the number of people living in the household.  Click here for a current table of income limits.   There are several options for completing your HEAP application.  You may download or print a HEAP application by clicking here.  Applications are also available at most libraries and other government buildings or by calling your local community action agency;  click here to find the closest office.  In addition, you can visit any Ohio Benefit Bank office to receive free help in completing your application.  Click here to find the closest Ohio Benefit Bank office, or call 800-648-1176.  Or, you can fill out your HEAP application online by clicking here.  To check the status of your HEAP application after you have submitted it, click here, or call the HEAP Hotline at 1-800-282-0880.

The Winter Crisis (E-HEAP) program "provides assistance once per heating season to eligible households that are disconnected, threatened with disconnection, or have less than a 10-day supply of bulk fuel." Applications for the Winter Crisis Program will be accepted November 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012.  For information on the Winter Crisis Program in Ohio, including eligibility requirements, click here or call HEAP toll-free at (800) 282-0880 (7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday).  To locate your local Emergency HEAP/Winter Crisis Program agency in Ohio, click here.  Residents of Summit County should contact Akron Summit Community Action, Inc. at 330-376-7730.

The PIPP Plus Program replaced the old Percentage of Income Payment Plan program (PIPP) as of last year.  PIPP Plus seeks to provide an affordable payment option for gas and electric service to low-income households. The new program offers some significant improvements over the old one. For instance, under the traditional PIPP program, if a consumer owed $100 on their gas or electric bill for the month, they might have to pay only $10 to retain service and avoid a shutoff, but the unpaid $90 balance would accrue as debt with the utility company. Under the new PIPP Plus program, if the consumer pays their PIPP Plus amount on time, the remainder of the bill is forgiven permanently. There are also opportunities for households with existing overdue balances to gradually have those balances forgiven if they make their PIPP Plus payments on time each month for a period of months.  For more information on PIPP Plus programs, click here, or call HEAP toll-free at (800) 282-0880 (7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday).  Returning PIPP Plus applicants must re-verify their income annually.

The Winter Reconnect Order helps those who are threatened with a gas or electric shutoff by allowing them to maintain service by making a $175 payment, regardless of the balance they owe.  For more information, click here.

The Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP), helps with making your home as energy efficient as possible by providing things like insulation or furnace repair and replacement.  To learn more and see if you qualify for HWAP, click here

The Dominion East Ohio Energyshare Program serves senior citizens age 60 and over as well as younger customers who have received a termination or shutoff notice.  For more information, click here, or call  (800) 362-7557.

There are several Extended Payment Plans available to all residential electricity customers regardless of income.  Click here for more information, or call (800) 686-PUCO (7826).

Utility assistance for military personnel and their families through the Patriot Plan can be accessed by clicking here or calling  (800) 686-PUCO (7826).

Source: Ohio Department of Development and PUCO/

Friday, September 16, 2011

Medicare Checkup Days Summit County 2011

OSHIIP Medicare Checkup Days 2011 Summit Co

Monday, August 1, 2011

Free School Supplies Giveaways - Akron Area Fall 2011

Cornerstone Church Gigantic Back to School Giveaway
Saturday, August 13th
9:00 AM until 3:00 PM or until supplies run out
More than 20 social services agencies will be here with free information and help.
Haircuts, health checks, lunch, inflatable attractions, and a huge supply of used clothing - all free!
Children must be present to receive school supplies.
Cornerstone Church
578 Killian Road
Akron, Ohio 44319-2552

Wedgewood United Methodist Church
Back to School Supply Give-Away and Akron Public School Uniform Swap  
Saturday, August 13th, 2011
10:00 to 11:30am Rainor Shine
Free event for the community -- get basic school supplies and swap Akron Public School uniform clothes or pay $.75 a piece.   Enter to win a backpack and $10 Staples gift card!
Wedgewood United Methodist Church
2350 Wedgewood Drive
Akron, OH 44312-2284

Summit for Kids Family Expo
Saturday, August 20th, 2011
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
By bringing your child, you'll be giving him or her an entertaining and educational experience and helping to promote healthy development.  Plans for the day include fun activities, free back-to-school items and other giveaways, special guests and much more. Admission is free.
John S. Knight Center
77 East Mill Street
Akron, Ohio  44308 (Bus:  Mill and Broadway)

3rd Annual "I Know I Can" Back to School Drive
Saturday August 27th, 2011
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Freebackpacks and school supplies while they last, and free haircuts
Deon's Grooming Lounge
255 E. Tallamadge Ave
Akron Ohio 

Copley Outreach Center
School Supplies Giveaway
Tuesday August 16th, 2011
10:00am to 2:00pm
Free school supplies for qualifying students in Copley-Fairlawn District.
Copley Outreach Center
1502 South Cleveland Massillon Road
Copley, OH 44321-1908

Emergency Assistance Center (Northern Summit County)Provides free school supplies for qualifying students in Aurora, Boston Heights, Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Macedonia, Northfield, Northfield Center, Peninsula, Reminderville, Sagamore Hills, Stow and Twinsburg.
Call for appointment/application.
The Emergency Assistance Center
10333 Northfield Road, Unit 74D
Northfield, OH 44067

St. Mary Church
Provides school supplies to qualifying families in the Hudson City School District.
340 North Main St.
Hudson Ohio 44236

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summit For Kids

Attention families!  Mark your calendars and plan to attend the Summit for Kids family expo at the John S. Knight Center in Akron on Saturday, August 20, 2011, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

You and your children will enjoy fun activities, free back-to-school items and other giveaways, special programs, and much more. 

Admission is free.

For more information on Summit for Kids, please visit

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Home Affordable Modification Program

Concerned about foreclosure?  The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) is designed to help as many as 3 to 4 million financially struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure by modifying loans to a level that is affordable for borrowers now and sustainable over the long term.  Borrower eligibility is based on meeting specific criteria including:

1) borrower is delinquent on their mortgage or faces imminent risk of default
2) property is occupied as borrower's primary residence
3) mortgage was originated on or before Jan. 1, 2009 and unpaid principal balance must be no greater than $729,750 for one-unit properties.

After determining a borrower's eligibility, a servicer will take a series of steps to adjust the monthly mortgage payment to 31% of a borrower's total pretax monthly income:
•First, reduce the interest rate to as low as 2%,
•Next, if necessary, extend the loan term to 40 years,
•Finally, if necessary, forbear (defer) a portion of the principal until the loan is paid off and waive interest on the deferred amount.

Servicers may elect to forgive principal under HAMP on a stand-alone basis or before any modification step in order to achieve the target monthly mortgage payment.

For more information, contact:
Home Affordable Modification Program Solution Center
Phone (866) 939-4469

Source:  Fannie Mae

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Resources for Senior Citizens

Did you know that your local office of the Area Agency on Aging can be a wealth of information and help? The AAOA offers a number of helpful programs, including in-home care, home delivered meals, medical transportation and equipment and other services for qualified individuals, help with Medicare applications, caregiver support services, and a nursing home ombudsman who helps to protect resident rights and resolve issues with long term care facilities. They also offer information by telephone. In Summit County, call 1-800-421-7277.

Elder law attorneys are legal professionals who specialize in services for seniors. They can provide valuable advice and direction with regard to estate planning, advance directives, wills, trusts, and more. We have several excellent elder law attorneys practicing locally.  If your income is limited and consulting a lawyer is not in your budget, try the ProSeniors Legal Hotline at 800-488-6070. The Legal Hotline provides free legal information, advice, and referral for residents of Ohio age 60 and over regardless of income, resources, or location.

Don’t forget to ask your utility companies if you qualify for any senior utility discounts. For instance, Summit County Department of Environmental Services (D.O.E.S.) offers discounted sewer service to customers age 65 and over who meet certain income criteria.

Have a question about your Medicare coverage or other senior health insurance? The Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) offers a free hotline staffed by people with extensive knowledge about Medicare (all types) and many other programs. This summer, I will be attending a 20-hour training in order to become a certified OSHIIP volunteer counselor. Until then, call their hotline at 1-800-686-1578.

Questions about long term care? Try the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information at

Infoline of Summit County has a special Senior Infoline for residents 60 and over. Call 330-374-0333. You can also search the database of local resources online at .

For wonderful publications to print, view online, or order at no cost, visit the National Institutes of Aging and Health on the web at: and .

As always, individuals who live, work, or worship in Hudson are also welcome to make an appointment with me for a free consultation regarding services for seniors, help with assessing eligibility and applying for benefits, and more.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Electric Partnership Program

Are you a resident of Summit or Stark County who could use some help with your electric expenses, or even a free, new, energy-efficient refrigerator?  East Akron Neighborhood Development Center’s Electric Partnership Program (EPP) improves efficiency in households by:

• Performing FREE in-home energy audits
• Installing FREE compact fluorescent light bulbs
• Installing FREE new, energy star refrigerators and freezers
• Providing FREE consumer education, and more!

To be eligible, applicants must meet the following requirements:
• Be a First Energy/Ohio Edison or American Electric Power customer with 12 months of usage
• Electric bill and application in the name of someone living IN the home
• Electric usage of at least 5000 Killowatt hours of electricity during the last 12 months minus heat and A/C
• Either be on PIPP or meet the Electric Partnership Program income guidelines

Number of Persons     Annual Income Guidelines

              1                               $16,335

              2                               $22,065

              3                               $33,525

              4                               $39,255

              5                               $44,985

Each additional person add:     $5,730

For an application, click here.
For landlord authorization form, click here.

For more information about the program, click here, or call (330) 773-2095 or 1-866-604-6844 (toll free).

Source:  East Akron Neighborhood Development Corp.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ohio Means Jobs at Hudson Library

Counselors from Summit County's One -Stop office will be on hand to discuss their services and tools available to job seekers on June 28 at 7 p.m. at the Hudson Library & Historical Society.

They will also discuss how the Ohio Means Jobs (OMJ) program links job seekers to employers and how to use the OMJ web site to conduct a job search, register for job opportunity alerts and other job search tips for conducting an effective search.

Some job seekers find online employment applications tricky. OMJ counselors can help choose effective keywords, upload your resume and assist with filling out online applications and online pre-employment tests.

There is no registration required for this free event. For more information, call 330.653.6658 x1010 or email

Source:  Hudson Library and Historical Society

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Twinsburg Job Club

One out of three job searches succeed because of networking. Join the Twinsburg Job Club, and learn this valuable tool.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 10:00am - 11:30am
Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 10:00am - 11:30am
Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - 10:00am - 11:30am
To preregister, click here.  (Space is limited)

10050 Ravenna Rd.
Twinsburg , Ohio 44087

For more information, please contact:
Tim Burns

Source:  Twinsburg Public Library 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summit County Fuel Fund Assistance Program June 2011

Summit County Executive Russell M. Pry and the County of Summit Department of Community and Economic Development will sponsor a Fuel Fund Assistance Day for all qualified FirstEnergy customers from 8 am through 2 pm on Thursday, June  23, 2011.

Eligibility is based on a household income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (see table below).

2010 Countable Income Limits - 200% FPL
(Gross Income = income before taxes and deductions) 

Size              Gross Annual Income                Gross Monthly Income

1                          21,780                                        1,815

2                          29,420                                        2,452

3                          37,060                                        3,088

4                          44,700                                        3,725

5                          52,340                                        4,362

6                          59,980                                        4,998

7                          67,620                                        5,635

8                          75,260                                        6,272

FirstEnergy customers applying for Fuel Fund Assistance must report to the Job Center at 1040 E. Tallmadge Avenue, Akron, Ohio, and provide the following on the day of service:  proof of identification (i.e. driver’s license); proof of household income (i.e. pay stubs, social security award letter, 2010 W-2 forms, 2010 tax filing); proof of delinquent electric balance (i.e. most recent invoice, termination notice); proof of a good faith payment within the past 90 days (i.e. canceled check, receipt, confirmation number); therefore, if you are receiving assistance on June 23, 2011, you will have needed to have made a payment on or after March 23, 2011.

Any applicant who has received Fuel Fund Assistance within the last 12 months will not be eligible to receive assistance on these dates. For example, if you received assistance on or after June 23, 2010, you are not eligible for assistance on or before June 23, 2011.

Source: Summit County Executive Russell M. Pry's Office

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reentry Employment Workshop

Rss Flyer May 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Summit County Arthritis Expo 2011

If you are interested in learning more about living well with arthritis, don't miss this free program taking place on May 19th from 9:30 am - 2:00 pm at the Akron General Health & Wellness Center West

Lunch is served ($5 suggested donation). 

Attendees must pre-register by May 13th by calling 1-800-245-2275 ext. 154 or online by clicking here.

Akron General Health & Wellness Center - West
4125 Medina Road
Akron, OH 44333


GPS Coordinates:
41.136058, -81.645330 or N41°8.16348, W081°38.7198

Arthritis Expo 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Children's Clothing Swap

Here's an opportunity to swap out some of your kids' smaller summer clothes from last year for bigger sizes. For each gently used article of clothing you bring in, you will get to take that many pieces of clothing from the swap. A ticket will be provided with the amount of clothing you donate. Boys' and girls' clothing in good condition, sizes infant and up accepted. Please, no stained clothing.

Akron Summit County Public Library - Green Branch
4046 Massillon Road, Uniontown, Ohio
Saturday, May 14th, 2011
11:00 AM until 1:00 PM

Please have all clothing brought in by Friday, May 13th.

For more information, contact Sherry Swisher, (330) 896-9074.

Source: Akron-Summit County Public Library calendar.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Free Cancer Screenings in May

Uninsured or underinsured women may sign up for a free cervical cancer screening to take place on Saturday, May 14th from 8:30am until noon at Akron General Women's Health Clinic located at 676 Broadway Street, Akron. 

Cervical cancer screenings will include a pap test and pelvic exam.  Call ahead to receive an appointment time (330) 344-2462.
For more information about cervical cancer, click here.

Free screenings for uninsured and underinsured men to help detect prostate and colorectal cancer will take place on May 25th from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 the Salvation Army, 190 S. Maple Street, Akron.

Prostate screening will include a PSA (blood test) and a digital rectal exam by a physician. Participants will receive a free health folder for tracking important health information. Refreshments provided by the Salvation Army.

Appointments encouraged but not required.

For additional information about prostate cancer, click here.

Source:  Akron General Medical Center

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Summit County Fuel Fund Assistance Program April 2011

Summit County Executive Russell M. Pry and the County of Summit Department of Community and Economic Development will sponsor a Fuel Fund Assistance Day for all qualified FirstEnergy customers from 8 am through 2 pm on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.  Eligibility is based on a household income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (see table below).

2010 Countable Income Limits  -  200% FPL

Size         Gross Annual Income             Gross Monthly Income

1                     21,780                                    1,815

2                     29,420                                    2,452

3                     37,060                                    3,088

4                     44,700                                    3,725

5                     52,340                                    4,362

6                     59,980                                    4,998

7                     67,620                                    5,635

8                     75,260                                    6,272

FirstEnergy customers applying for Fuel Fund Assistance must report to the Job Center at 1040 E. Tallmadge Avenue, Akron, Ohio and provide the following on the day of service: proof of identification (i.e. driver’s license, social security card, birth certificate); proof of household income (i.e. pay stubs, social security award letter, 2010 W-2 forms, 2010 tax filing); proof of delinquent electric balance (i.e. most recent invoice, termination notice); proof of payment (i.e. canceled check, receipt, confirmation number).
Source:  Summit County Executive Russell M. Pry's Office

Access Passes to US National Parks for Disabled and Senior Citizens

Looking to enjoy the beauty of our nation's parks this summer?  If you are age 62+ or have a disability, you may be eligible for free or reduced admission rates. 

America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass –Access Pass - Free.

This is a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities. Documentation from a physician or other agency (i.e., Social Security, Veteran's Admnistration, Bureau of Vocational Rehab) is required to obtain the pass. 

America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – Senior Pass. - Cost $10.

This is a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over.

These passes provide free admission for the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas, and for the pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas (children under 16 are admitted free).  They also provide a 50 percent discount on some other fees, such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and specialized interpretive services.
The passes can only be obtained in person at the park.  For more information, click here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Divorce Support Group

Divorce and Beyond is a seminar for people who are separated, have filed for divorce, or are already divorced. This seminar helps to examine what happens to most people going through the total break-up of their marriage. These group sessions will begin on Tuesday, April 19, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in Room 106 at St. Mary Catholic Church, 340 North Main St., Hudson, Ohio.

Please register by calling Rose Gordyan, Pastoral Associate at 330.653.8118 ext. 227 or Co-Facilitator, Brenna Czarnecki at 330.528.0300.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is Your Money Managing You?

Many of us are looking for ways to get the most out of our money. Others are struggling with debt, bad credit, or high interest payments on credit cards and loans. Here are a few opportunities to get free help and learn more about financial fitness.

The Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs is offering two upcoming Surviving the Economy Clinics (April 12th and May 12th) where you can meet with representatives from local agencies and lenders regarding help with mortgage payments, loan modifications, legal assistance, unemployment, food and medical benefits, and more. Call Christine Gilley at (330) 643-2879 for details.

Community Legal Aid is presenting free Financial Information & Legal Education workshops this Spring, where participants receive information on credit repair, identity theft, taxes, bankruptcy, and other matters. Call Maggie at (330) 983-2609 for dates, times, and locations.

The Akron area’s Consumer Credit Counseling Service (aka Apprisen Financial Advocates) offers a free comprehensive money management consultation, as well as a debt management program, housing counseling and foreclosure intervention, and bankruptcy counseling and education. They can help you assess your current situation and develop an action plan to get you back on your feet financially.

Greenleaf Family Center’s Financial Services for Families program offers free classes on budgeting, banking, and credit, as well as pre-bankruptcy counseling and some financial assistance programs for buying and repairing automobiles. For more information on these and other services, call Bob Sukel at (330) 376-9494.

The FDIC has a helpful website with information on topics such as loans, mortgages, banking, identity theft, and fraud. They also have a free financial education program called Money Smart -- consumers can order a free self study CD, access the study modules online, or download podcasts. In addition to the curriculum for adults, Money Smart offers a program for young adults who are just learning how to manage their finances. Early education programs such as this can help young adults avoid costly mistakes and get them off to a good start in making the best use of their resources.

Are you a single mother struggling to make ends meet? Another great internet resource is This site provides information and resources especially for single moms on housing, food, educational grants for college, and tips for making the most of every dollar.

Don’t forget to order your free annual credit report and make sure it doesn’t contain errors that could cost you money in higher interest rates when you apply for home, car, or other loans. You can order your report online at, by calling 1-877-322-8228.

Finally, the State Library of Ohio’s Find Help in Tough Times website offers good information on a variety of money-related topics.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

SSI/SSDI Application Assistance

Need help applying for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance?

The SSI Ohio Project, administered by the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO), helps individuals 18 and older who are dealing with homelessness and/or mental health issues apply for SSI and SSDI and other benefits.

For assistance in the Akron area, contact:

Community Support Services Inc.
Specialist: Twanette Pinkerton
150 Cross Street
Akron, Ohio 44311
By appointment only

To find other specialists in Ohio, click here and check the SSI/SSDI box on the upper right.

Another good resource in our area for help with disability information and assistance is the Tri-County Independent Living Center in Akron.  Tri-County provides information on disability benefits, housing modifications, durable medical equipment, and many other pertinent programs and services.  Call 330-762-0007.

It is common to be denied the first time you apply for SSI/SSDI.  You must file a written appeal within the time limit specified (typically 60 days from the date you receive their letter) in order to receive further consideration.  If you need assistance filing an appeal and cannot afford an attorney, contact Community Legal Aid.  The attorneys at Legal Aid are very knowlegeable about SSI/SSDI appeals, and can help you navigate the sometimes complex appeals process. 

To read more about the appeals process, click here.

Military service members can sometimes receive additional assistance through the Wounded Warriors Program, including expedited processing of claims.  These benefits are different from those offered by the Department of Veterans Affiars.  A separate application should be filed with Social Security.  For help with these and other claims, contact the Summit County Veterans Service Commission.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Summit County Surviving the Economy Clinic

Are you struggling to make ends meet?
Worried about making mortgage payments or losing your home?

Here's a great opportunity to meet with lenders and visit booths to get free advice, resources, and help on foreclosures, debts, unemployment, and much more from the following agencies:

Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
Community Legal Aid
Consumer Credit Counseling Service
Mustard Seed
Summit County Executive Job & Family Services
Dept of Community & Economic Development
Summit County Council
Federal Trade Commission
Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs
... and many others

Also attending will be mortgage lenders/servicers from CHASE and GMAC Mortgage.

Thursday, March 10, 2011
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Walk in; no appointment necessary.

The Job Center Building
1040 E Tallmadge Ave

For more information, contact:
Christine Gilley, Consumer Affairs Outreach Specialist

County of Summit Office of Consumer Affairs
175 South Main St, Suite 209, Akron, OH 44308
(330) 643-2879

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Summit County Consumer Protection Program

Learn about identity theft, get information on a wide variety of utilities topics, how to protect your investments, avoid scams and much more from the experts of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, Ohio Department of Commerce Securities Division, and the Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs.

John Torok Community & Senior Center
4224 Massillon Road, Green

Monday, March 7th, 2011
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Refreshments will be served

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Looking for a Job?

I am very happy to see the unemployment rate for the Akron area gradually decreasing. However, with approximately 9% of the Summit County workforce experiencing joblessness, competition for open positions is still keen. There are several excellent resources available to job seekers in this area.

Hudson Job Search is “a volunteer organization offering free outplacement training to those of the community of Hudson, Ohio.” This group offers a wealth of information, including individual coaching for eligible individuals and free meetings which are open to the public on the first and third Mondays of the month from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. at Christ Church Episcopal (21Aurora Street, Hudson).  Each meeting focuses on a different aspect of the job search process and features a guest speaker. Visit Hudson Job Search on the web or call 330-653-5322.

The Job Center of Summit County is a facility where more than 20 workforce service providers are housed under the same roof. The Center offers free tools and services to assist job seekers, including: job postings and referrals, career counseling, resume help, workshops and classes, skill and aptitude testing, a self help area with computers and internet access, printers, copiers, and fax machines, books, videos and other resources, a youth resource room, GED classes, and more. In addition, child care services are available free of charge to all Summit County residents while they are visiting The Job Center. The Center is open Monday through Friday 8:30 – 4:30 with extended evening hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Are you a job seeker aged 14-21? The Job Center also offers the NEXT STEP program for young adults. Here you can find information about current job openings, college, and educational programs. You can also meet with a Next Step Career Specialist, who can help you with creating an Individualized Employment Plan.

For more information, contact The Job Center, 1040 East Tallmadge Avenue, Akron, OH 44310, 330-633-1050.

Need help with dressing for success? The Akron Urban League’s Career Clothing Bank provides office appropriate clothing and accessories for job interviews and new or current careers free of charge. Career Clothing Bank hours are Tuesdays 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. and Thursdays 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. For more information, call 330-434-3101. The Center also gratefully accepts donations of gently used business attire.  In addition, the League offers other classes and services for job seekers.  For more information, consider attending an open house/informational session held the first and third Fridays of each month at 1:30 at the Akron Urban League, 440 Vernon Odom Blvd., Akron OH 44307.

The Hudson Library and Historical Society is currently hosting a series of programs for job seekers, and a new networking program meets every Saturday from 10 am – noon in the Brewster CafĂ©. Call 330-653-6658 ext. 1010 for details. The library also offers computers with internet access to patrons which can be helpful for research, and a website with numerous links which are helpful to those seeking employment.

If you are doing internet research, don’t miss Ohio Means Jobs,  Ohio Here To Help, and Akron Summit County Public Library’s “Joblog”, which includes information on current job fairs, avoiding employment scams, and filing for unemployment benefits.  Summit County's Resource Guide for Job Seekers provides a map and listing of local agencies and the types of job seekers they serve.   And, Ohio's Back on Track Checklist provides a step-by-step list of things to do and places to contact in order to stabilize your situation and jump start your job search.

Need information on filing for unemployment benefits in Ohio?  Click here.  For more information from the U.S. Department of Labor on work changes, health care, and insurance, including information on HIPPA and COBRA, click here

Finally, don't fall prey to job opportunity scams during your employment search.  Click here for information from the Ohio Attorney General on avoiding employment scams.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Survivor Support Group Offered

The Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties is offering a new session of their 10 week support group for adult, female survivors of sexual assault and/or sexual abuse.

“From Darkness to Light” is an educational group designed to help survivors connect with other survivors and take the next step in their healing journey.

Contact Denice at 330-374-0740 x. 124 for more information.

321 West Exchange Street
Akron, OH 44302
Phone: 330-374-0740
24 Hour Hotline: 330-434-7273

Source:  Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Free Employment Workshops Offered for Mature Job Seekers

Are you an Summit County resident age 55+ who is looking for a job? 

The Senior Employment Center of Summit County is offering a series of four workshops for mature job seekers.  Topics include interviewing, networking, resume writing, and references.  There is no charge for these informative sessions.  Workshops will take place in February and March at The Senior Employment Center, 415 South Portage Path, Akron, Ohio 44320.

To register:  Click Here

A mini job fair will be held on February 10th at First Congregational Church of Akron, 292 East Market Street, Akron, OH 44308.  A small group of employers will each give a brief presentation on what they are looking for, and attendees have an opportunity to ask questions and network with active employers.

Watch for upcoming announcements regarding the Akron Mature Workers' Job and Career Fair 2011 to be held on June 7th, 2011 at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn.

The Senior Employment Center also offers other services for mature job seekers on an ongoing basis, including a Job Club, computer learning lab, part time paid on-the-job training for eligible individuals, and more.  Learn how to highlight and upgrade your valuable skills and experience.

For more information, contact: 
Donald R. Zirkle
330-762-8666 x174

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Earned Income Tax Credit and Free Tax Filing Assistance in Ohio

Tax time is coming up quickly; be prepared.  If you earned less than $48,362 from wages or self-employment last year, you may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. EITC is a financial boost for working people hit by difficult economic times. You may qualify for the first time if your income, marital, or parental status changed during the 2010 tax year.

The IRS estimates that 20 to 25 percent of qualifying taxpayers miss out on thousands of dollars every year because they fail to claim their EITC. If you do qualify, you will likely get more money back from the IRS – as much as $5,666. Eligibility is based on several factors, including the source and amount of your income, or combined income if married, whether you have qualifying children and how many. Workers without children also may qualify. You may qualify for EITC even if you had no federal tax withheld or are not otherwise required to file. Use IRS’s online EITC Assistant to see if you qualify. If so, you must file in order to get it.

Need help filing your taxes? It’s best to avoid companies that promise you instant money, goods or services. Instead of getting your tax refund, you will be getting a very expensive Refund Anticipation Loan which could have a 200% annual interest rate. Even worse, you might end up owing more than your tax refund is worth and, if your return is filed incorrectly, you may wind up owing the IRS as well.

Free, reputable help is available at volunteer income tax assistance sites such as The Ohio Benefit Bank and at IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers. Call the appropriate number below or call the IRS at 1-800-906-9887 to learn more.  You can also file your taxes free online with easy, step by step instructions through the Ohio Benefit Bank by clicking here and through the IRS FreeFile Program by clicking here.   Refunds are issued within 7-10 days.  U.S. citizens aged 60 and above as well as others with disabilities or low income can also contact their local AARP Tax Aide program for free tax preparation assistance.

Taxpayer Assistance Centers:
Summit County residents (330) 861-6401
Columbiana County residents (330) 332-1163
Mahoning County residents (330) 941-2507
Portage County residents (330) 297-4636
Stark County residents (330) 994-0850
Wayne County residents (800) 961-0191

Finally, the IRS offers a wealth of information on their website, including a manual on how to file your federal tax return.  Taxpayers experiencing job loss or financial distress should click here for more information regarding installment payments and other options.  Individuals with low vision may find "talking tax forms", large print tax publications, and accessible tax forms helpful.

Source:  Community Legal Aid, Ohio Benefit Bank, U.S. Internal Revenue Service