Basic Needs

Housing Counseling Program

Making Homes Affordable – Helping People Stay in their Homes

The Housing Counseling Program is Intercultural’s longest existing community service. Established in 1983, the program provides services which include assistance with pre- and post-renting, rental delinquency/default, postpurchase counseling, first-time mortgage counseling, anti-predatory lending, and mortgage default and delinquency counseling. The housing program is funded through the Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) and the Philadelphia Housing Finance Agency (PHFA).

The goal of Intercultural’s Housing Counseling Program is to encourage and assist participants to become homeowners, to enhance their home management skills, to sustain their family in a stable housing environment and to help them become successful homeowners through wise money management and budgeting. More recently the housing counseling staff has increased its provision of foreclosure prevention counseling in response to the difficult economy and growing housing burden on Philadelphia’s low-income families.

Intercultural has also expanded its partnership with local lenders for the monthly First-Time Homebuyer workshops, working with three additional institutions. Currently, the agency partners with TD Bank and Citizens Bank, M&T Bank, Beneficial Bank, and Sovereign Bank.

Funding for the Housing Counseling Program is provided by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), The City of Philadelphia Office of Supportive Housing (OSH), The City of Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD), The United Way of Southeastern PA, Bank of America, M&T Bank, and the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation.

Utility Grants

Intercultural is an intake site for the Utility Emergency Services Fund (UESF). UESF assists individuals with electric (PECO), water (PWD) and gas (PGW) shut off notices, or those who have already been terminated. For gas and electric the maximum amount of assistance is $1,500 and for water it is $500. UESF assistance must zero out the bill, so the individual receives a fresh start. Each UESF grant is matched dollar for dollar by the utility company.

Eligibility / Population Served:
  1. Applicant must meet income guidelines;
  2. Applicant must have a notice of termination or have been terminated by PWD or PGW;
  3. Applicant must be a Philadelphia resident;
  4. Applicant must not have received a UESF grant in the past 24 months; and
  5. Applicant must first apply for LIHEAP Cash and Crisis programs when available, and show proof of these applications.

Language Interpretation and Pronunciation Services (LIPS®)

Intercultural provides Language Interpretation and Pronunciation Services or “LIPS” to interested community members, clients receiving services from Intercultural, other city/county agencies and community-based organizations on a fee for service basis.

Trained interpreters from the agency’s multi-ethnic staff translate over 18 different languages and dialects including the three major Asian languages (Chinese, Cambodian, and Vietnamese). Most important, LIPS stresses cultural competence in all of its communication, marketing, and public relations services.

Program services include verbal and written translations, and assistance in working with linguistically diverse groups. LIPS is also able to assist clients to produce tailored translated text material and corresponding photo-ready graphics for printing.

Let Intercultural LIPS help you bridge linguistic and cultural gaps.

Emergency Food Bank

Intercultural’s Emergency Food Bank provides food baskets and food supplies to over 1100 individuals each year. Each food basket contains a 3-day supply of food for families. The average family size for a food basket is five persons, including children.

Support for this program is provided by Philabundance and SHARE Food Program of PA.

Clothing Boutique

The agency's Clothing Boutique provides clothing to nearly 200 individuals each year with the help of donations from private individuals and organizations. These donations help clients improve their presentation in job interviews, at work, and improve their self-esteem. Children and infant clothing is made available to clients in our Healthy Start and Parenting programs as well.