City Of Philadelphia Opens BenePhilly Centers

Provides benefits access assistance to low-income Philadelphians.

Philadelphia, July 8, 2014 –  Eva Gladstein participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the public opening for the BenePhilly Center located at Philadelphia FIGHT.  This ceremony marked the official opening of six benefits access locations across the City, which works with low-income Philadelphians to access all federal, state and local benefits for which they are eligible.  These Centers were created by the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO), in partnership with Benefits Data Trust and Solutions for Progress, and are an extension of the City’s 2008 partnered effort to assist low-income senior citizens access benefits and services over the phone.

“Our BenePhilly initiative is a nationally recognized success at connecting low-income, eligible seniors to benefits, totaling nearly $120 million in assistance since its inception.  Expanding that model to help all low-income Philadelphians access benefits and to add in-person assistance locations is a critically important part of Shared Prosperity Philadelphia, my Administration’s comprehensive plan to fight poverty,” said Mayor Nutter.  “BenePhilly Centers will help our vulnerable residents in many ways, from heating their homes to buying groceries to feed their families.  I want to thank the CEO for its leadership and Benefits Data Trust and Solutions for Progress for partnering with the City on this important initiative.”

Eva Gladstein, Executive Director of CEO, said, “Every year, eligible Philadelphia residents leave millions of dollars on the table by not enrolling in critical benefits programs.  We are proud to partner with the best in this field to help Philadelphians cut through red tape and put money back in the pockets of individuals and families who need it.”

The BenePhilly Centers connect low-income individuals to counselors, who help individuals learn about the benefits available to them, provide support to individuals in applying for or enrolling in programs/services available to them and connect individuals to other critical supports available to them through community-based organizations.  Counseling services are also be available through the BenePhilly hotline.

“Benefits Data Trust is thrilled to partner with CEO to create a comprehensive benefits access system. Expanding BenePhilly allows us to help eligible individuals, of all ages, throughout the City of Philadelphia access the services they need either in their neighborhood or over the phone,” Ginger Zielinskie, Executive Director of Benefits Data Trust, said, “Providing multiple service delivery options is an effective strategy to reach the greatest number of people in need.”

Chris Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer of Solutions for Progress (SfP), added, “Solutions for Progress (SfP) is pleased to partner with CEO and Benefits Data Trust in the opening of the BenePhilly Centers. As the developer of The Benefit Bank®, the on-line benefit and tax application and filing service being used at BenePhilly locations, we believe opening these centers provides an opportunity to fundamentally change how vulnerable Philadelphians access federal, state, and city supports that they need to move sustainably out of poverty.”

The Centers provide support for enrollment in the following benefits:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);
  • Health insurance like CHIP, Medicaid and Medicare;
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC);
  • Child Care Tax Credit; and
  • State and City property tax credits, including the Homestead Exemption.

Additionally, BenePhilly Centers provide benefits screenings and referrals for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Unemployment Insurance (UI).

The full list of BenePhilly Center locations are as follows:

  • Catholic Social Services, Casa Del Carmen, 4400 North Reese Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140;
  • People’s Emergency Center, in the Families First building, 3939 Warren Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104;
  • Philadelphia FIGHT, 1233 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102;
  • Project HOME, 1515 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19130;
  • Utilities Emergency Services Fund, 1617 JFK Blvd, Suite 840, Philadelphia, PA 19103; and
  • United Communities Southeast Philadelphia, in the Houston Center, 2029 S. 8th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148.

For hours of operation, to schedule an appointment or to receive assistance over the phone, please call 844-848-4376.

To learn more about Shared Prosperity Philadelphia, log on to http://sharedprosperityphila.org/.

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release
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