As the only program of its kind, the Benefits Plus Learning Center was created to address the myriad of difficulties NYC residents face when trying to navigate the city’s complicated public benefits system. Staffed by experienced benefit/housing specialists, the Learning Center provides intensive education services about NYC’s public benefits/housing system through its online resource manual, Benefits Plus Online, trainings, and consultation services equipping them to help vulnerable New Yorkers apply for and access benefits and housing programs.
Benefits Plus Online
Benefits Plus Online is a searchable online resource manual for social workers and social service professionals. Updated periodically throughout the year, it offers timely information on different federal, state and city public benefit and housing programs. It is the “go to” resource manual for professionals serving the low income, immigrants, elderly, disconnected youth and individuals with disabilities in New York City.
For nearly 25 years the Benefits Plus Learning Center has offered high quality training opportunities to 1,000 professionals from over 250 community based organizations annually across NYC. Experienced trainers equip social service professionals to effectively navigate public benefit and housing programs. By providing practical knowledge, advocacy skills, and government contacts, the Learning Center trains the professional to address the challenges clients face in accessing benefits.
The Community Service Society (CSS) is a 176 year old institution whose mission is to promote policies and create programs that advance the economic security of low and moderate income New Yorkers. Once such effort was the launch of the Benefits Plus Learning Center in September 1994. CSS’s goal was to increase access to public benefits for low-income New Yorkers thus helping them forge a pathway out of poverty. Studies show there is a critical need for knowledgeable professionals who can address the barriers low-income families face when accessing public benefits. So CSS undertook the challenge of creating a learning center that would provide intensive education about the government public benefits system. The Learning Center partners with social service organizations to ensure that professionals on the front lines have the resources they need to serve their clients more effectively.