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Evanston Community Foundation

June 22, 2017

North Shore Senior Center would like to extend a special "Thank You" to the Evanston Community Foundation for awarding a $10,000 grant to our Senior and Family Services/ Older Adults Benefits Program (OABP).

LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is one of the Center's many public benefits that are available to seniors who live on low or fixed incomes. The more than 20 benefits provide a safety net for medical, nutrition, transportation, home energy, and other household needs when income just won’t stretch far enough.

The OABP allows older adults to:

  • Have a healthier and higher quality of life in their homes.
  • Achieve a level of financial stability and independence.
  • Avoid catastrophic events such as evictions, foreclosures and utility shut-offs.

As valuable as these state- and federally-funded benefits are, it is a confusing and sometimes circuitous route between the funders and recipients. Through the OABP, the Center offers assistance and advocacy to help seniors overcome barriers to participation in public benefits programs. 

OABP is a labor intensive service that requires team members—staff and volunteers—to interview, assess, and advise clients of the benefits that meet their needs. Based on a client’s personal and financial situation, a team member determines eligibility, explains the process, collects required documents, fills out the online application, and monitors the approval process. The team member also troubleshoots problems, such as when an application is denied or when an issue with a particular benefit arises.

It is clear that OABP advances the Center’s mission of helping seniors stay in their own homes and live their lives the way they choose. Finding new, sustainable sources of private financial support for the program will be crucial because government support is increasingly unreliable or unavailable. Funders such as the Evanston Community Foundation are important partners in the Center’s commitment to helping seniors sustain a reasonable quality of life in their own communities.

Our benefits volunteers are an integral part of OABP. You may be a retired social worker, educator, bank trust officer or nursing home administrator and want to use some of your newfound hours in service to others. Or, despite a busy career, you would like to donate time to help low-income individuals apply for public benefits. If you think your background, skills, talents and interests might match the computer-oriented, detail work required of a benefits volunteer, contact the Volunteer Department at 847.784.6052 or volunteer@nssc.org.

To learn more about our Senior and Family Services or our LIHEAP Program, please contact 847.784.6040.