Administered since 1979 by Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA), and guided by a coalition of 22 member organizations from across the City, the Emergency Fund provides emergency assistance to low-income older Philadelphians. Emergency grants are awarded to Philadelphia's most vulnerable, frail and impoverished older adults for basic human needs such as fuel in winter, food, shelter, and medical supplies and prescriptions.
PCA has the ability to get resources directly to people in need almost immediately. For example, PCA can arrange for next day fuel delivery because we contract directly with the oil company.
With the winter season upon us, PCA is looking to raise more money for the fund to help seniors facing severe hardship with sometimes catastrophic consequences. This year, the demand will be greater than ever to assist our seniors in paying their home heating bills.
How many older Philadelphians are considered low income?
Nearly 120,000 seniors in Philadelphia are defined as “poor,” meaning they live at or below twice the poverty level. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 16.9% of Philadelphians 65 and older fell below the official poverty level. Roughly 1 in 3 are barely above it.
What are Emergency Fund dollars used for?
The Emergency Fund helped more than 1,800 seniors and people with disabilities, in fiscal year 2011 by providing assistance in crisis situations.
- Of the assistance provided, 65% went directly toward home heating fuel last winter.
- Medical expenses, food and general needs accounted for the remaining 35% of assistance provided..
Who receives assistance?
The Emergency Fund helps adults 60 years and older, whose incomes are within 175% of poverty, and who have exhausted all other means of purchasing fuel or energy, food, medical equipment or supplies, clothing or essential items.
Of those who received assistance last year, 74% were women and 84% were minorities.
Who Supports the Emergency Fund?
Corporate and individual donations are the foundation of the Emergency Fund, which also receives support from area funders. Some current supporters include Citizens Bank Foundation, The Philadelphia Foundation, Phillies Charities, S.L. Gimbel Foundation, Catalyst 360, Western Association of Ladies, and Willis.
Formed in 1989, the Emergency Fund Coalition for Older Philadelphians (EFC) is an alliance of organizations that coordinates fund-raising efforts and collectively provides emergency assistance to low-income older adults. Membership is open to organizations that serve older adults and their families.
To learn more about becoming an EFC member, contact:
Rick Spector, Director of Community Relations
215-765-9000, ext. 4247
People who need help must be referred to the Emergency Fund by a recognized social services agency or the clergy. In 2011, more than one hundred organizations made referrals. With your help, we can do even more.