VEP has compiled a list of resources that may be helpful to students.
Infectious Diseases Information
The Chester County Health Department has activated its Monkeypox Health Operations Center (HOC). On July 23, 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern” and on August 4, 2022, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, with support from the White House, declared monkeypox a “public health emergency” in an effort to contain the continued spread of monkeypox. This declaration allows federal health officials the ability to expedite vaccines and treatment options for monkeypox. Public health officials are concerned because monkeypox is spreading and cases are presenting in ways not typically seen in past monkeypox outbreaks. Although the current strain of monkeypox that is circulating in the United States is rarely fatal, symptoms can be extremely painful, may lead to hospitalization, and may result in permanent scarring from the rash. A key focus is containing the continued spread of monkeypox.
At this time, the threat of monkeypox remains low in Chester County and that while this is a rare viral disease, it is not a new disease (unlike the Coronavirus). Testing for monkeypox, a vaccine to prevent or lessen disease severity, and antiviral treatment to help manage the systems are already available. More information about monkeypox can be found here.
The single most effective protection against flu is getting a flu vaccine. It is recommended that all people aged 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine every year. Health experts have stressed that flu vaccines are crucial this year due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. It’s likely that flu viruses and the Coronavirus will both spread this fall and winter. Both viruses have similar symptoms (cough, chills, fever, body aches). This means getting a flu vaccine this year is more important than ever to protect you and your family.
The Chester County Health Department will begin offering flu clinics for 2022 starting in September. Registration is required. Click here for more information and/or to schedule an appointment.
Coronavirus can affect anyone, and the disease can cause symptoms ranging from mild to very severe. We know that certain things can make people more likely to get very sick. We also know that certain settings and activities can make you more likely to get infected with the virus that causes coronavirus.
You can now search for all Coronavirus vaccines recommended for adults, children and teens on www.vaccine.gov. Learn more about vaccine options, including booster shots, for all age groups. Everyone ages five years and up, regardless of which Coronavirus vaccine they first received, should get recommended boosters to help protect against severe disease caused by infection with the Coronavirus.
EatFresh Free Cooking Classes
Eat Fresh is a free community cooking class from the Chester County Food Bank designed to help you eat more fruits and vegetables while building your confidence in cooking! Classes are free, hosted in English and Spanish, and include a weekly produce box during the six-week session. You agree to attend classes and pick up the weekly produce box by registering for Eat Fresh. For more information, click here.
Pay It Forward Cafe
Ann’s Heart Pay It Forward Cafe aims to provide free community meals, while offering the opportunity to give back if you are able. PIFC meals are available to anyone and everyone. If you can make a donation – great! If not, no worries. Meals are lovingly prepared and distributed from our licensed HEART Kitchen, located at 35 Hall Street in downtown Phoenixville. Most meals will be created in partnership with a fellow non-profit or service organization to help support other programs that service our great community. We hope you will help us Pay It Forward and join us at our community table! For more information click here.
Phoenixville Food Insecurity Team (PFIT)
PFIT members work together to bring awareness of the many pantries, meals and food delivery services available to those in need in the Phoenixville community. Calendars are available monthly.
Phoenixville Food Calendar
Pottstown/Royersford/Spring City Food Calendar
For general PFIT information, click here.
Chester County Food Bank
To receive food assistance through the Chester County Food Bank, click on this map above to contact your local agency during its listed business hours. All listed agencies are open to the public. If you are unsure of the cupboard closest to you, call the Food Bank at 610-873-6000 to find a hunger relief agency that serves your part of the County.
PA CareerLink (United Way Financial Stability Services)
Serving as the Commonwealth’s Labor Exchange System, PA CareerLink is a system where anyone can access employment, education and training resources. PA CareerLink® is part of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s initiative to transform the landscape of how job-seekers find family sustaining jobs and how employers find the skilled candidates that they need. Through this initiative, a user-friendly, premiere job-matching system has been created to help bridge the gap that currently exists between job-seekers and employers.
In PA CareerLink®, job-seekers have access to more than 200,000 job openings. You can create and upload a resume and make yourself available to thousands of employers. PA CareerLink® will also recommend jobs for you based on your preferences. One exciting feature is an automatic capture of all of your job-search activities within PA CareerLink®. You have the ability to record any outside job-search activities, too. All in one place. All for free. For more information and to access this database, click here.
Bridges Out of Poverty Virtual Workshop
Bridges Out of Poverty is a framework that equips communities, organizations, and individuals with strategies and tools for addressing poverty in a comprehensive way. It brings together people from all sectors and economic classes to reduce barriers and build access to resources for those in poverty in order to build a sustainable community where everyone can live well. For more information, click here.
United Way Mobile Home Property Tax Reassessment Help
If you live in and own a mobile home in Chester County, please call United Way of Chester County at 610-429-9400 to find out about its Mobile Home Property Reassessment program to help reduce property taxes. Mobile homes depreciate like cars but are taxed like homes. They are 70% over-assessed.
United Way of Chester County has partnered with Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, LCH Health and Community Services and local food pantries to continue this important work and scale it to assist all mobile home owners in Chester County who may be in a similar situation.
Applications are closed for 2022. To be considered for the 2023 reassessments, please fill out this form. We will contact you to schedule your intake appointment in Spring 2023. Below is how the process is handled:
• Once the form is complete, we will contact the client to schedule a 30 minute intake interview between March and mid-July with a representative from Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania
• The paralegal will complete the forms and will contact the client for their signature
• A UWCC volunteer will take photos of the home for documentation
• All forms will be submitted between May 1- August 1 to the County Reassessment Office
• Clients will be notified the results of their reassessment appeals in October 2023
We will do all the work and pay the fees on behalf of the homeowners in the program. For details, click here.
Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance
Chester County received $34.5 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury and the PA Department of Human Services to help cover emergency rental and utility bills for individuals and families who have been severely impacted by COVID-19. These rent and utility grants are available to individuals and families in Chester County who are obligated to pay rent and who:
•Qualify for unemployment or have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;
•Demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability;
•Have a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI)
Those who are eligible can use the emergency rent and utility funding to pay for outstanding rent, electricity, gas, water and sewer; and energy costs such as fuel oil or propane, over a 15-month period. To apply for funding, residents need to call 211 and request rent and utility assistance. For more information, click here.
VEP partners with Open Hearth. Their staff provide community support in areas of Housing, transportation and financial planning. For more information, click here.
Tenants who suspect they have been illegally removed or evicted for nonpayment of rent or other reasons may reach out to Legal Aid of Southeastern PA to file an emergency petition with the courts.
What to do if you’re illegally locked out:
(1) Call the police. Show them proof that you are a tenant.
(2) Call Legal Aid of Southeastern PA (LASP) at 877-429-5994 or click here.
Chester County Department of Human Resources Resource Guide
Comprehensive guide to regional services, covering mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, food assistance, housing, utilities, employment and financial resources can be found here.
American Red Cross
Information from the Red Cross on fire safety, winter storm preparedness and information for families separated due to migration.
Immigrant Rights, Voting
Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC)
Additional information on immigrant rights and services can be found at PICC’s website.
Voting by Absentee or Mail-In Ballot
Pennsylvania’s 2022 election date is November 8. Voting by mail is a convenient, secure and safe option as we work toward overcoming a global pandemic. Requesting a mail-in ballot (a new option available to Pennsylvania voters for the first time this year) takes just a few minutes. Those interested can learn more and apply here. All of this information and more can be found on the Chester County Election Portal.
Maternal and Child Health Consortium
Family Benefits Specialists continue providing assistance to individuals with Health Insurance and SNAP Benefits Enrollments over the phone. For assistance, please watch this informational video.
Mental Health Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration are keenly aware that the effects of social and physical distancing during the pandemic is still causing great distress. Our mental health is just as critical during this time. 24/7 Availability. Call 1-800-985-5990. Text “TALKWITHUS” to 66746. For Spanish speakers, Text “HABLANOS” to 66746.
Drug and Substance Abuse Support
If you need assistance, call 1-800-GET-HELP (1-800-662-4357) or click here
Email, chat, audio & forums meetings in a variety of languages, click here