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Partners at PATH

State Rep. Jared Solomon last Friday joined People Acting to Help at a news conference to inform community members of an array of partners that offer services at PATH.

Solomon was joined by Betty Andl-Petkov, longtime president and CEO of PATH, 1919 Cottman Ave. (at Castor Avenue).

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Among others on hand were Nikia Owens, president and CEO, and Thais Caine, director of tax operations, for Campaign for Working Families; Jessica Nocho-Wright, Financial Stability Counselor at Clarifi; Larry Felzer, Senior Director of Finance and Operations for SeniorLaw Center; Jessica Levy, Director of English for Speakers of Other Languages, and Manuel Portillo, Director of Community Engagement, at The Welcoming Center; and Keysha Abad, Director of Community Engagement at Utility Emergency Services Fund.

PATH was founded in 1973 by parents hoping to help their children with intellectual disabilities and behavioral health issues become more independent.

When PATH moved to its current location in 2021, Andl-Petkov said she was pleased to add complementary services.

“It truly is a community hub,” she said.

Solomon said the services offered by PATH and partners are continuing what he calls the “Castor Avenue Renaissance.” That renaissance also includes street cleaning, banners, Bigbelly trash cans and the Northeast Services Hub at Castor Avenue and Hellerman Street. Coming, Solomon said, are safety measures, greening, lighting and sidewalk improvements on Castor Avenue and Cottman Avenue.

As for the services offered by PATH and partners, he said they can’t come at a better place than the “iconic intersection” of Castor and Cottman.

“We’re right here supporting Northeast Philadelphia residents,” he said.

Solomon said services can sometimes be difficult to access due to location.

“We’re doing the opposite,” he said. “We’re meeting people where they are. We’re doing that right here.”

Many Northeast people have long been hesitant to travel to Center City for services. Solomon recalls his grandfather yearning for more accessible services.

“Al Freedman, you would love this PATH center,” he said.

UESF offers grants to pay gas, electric and water bills in an effort to prevent homelessness. For information on its workshops at PATH, call 215-972-5170.

The SeniorLaw Center handles issues such as landlord/tenant, mortgage, living wills and power of attorney. It will be coming soon to PATH. Call 215-988-1244.

The Welcoming Center teaches immigrants to use computers and search for jobs and provides language assistance and help for budding entrepreneurs. For the schedule of programs at PATH, call 215-557-2626.

Clarifi, which offers free financial and housing services, is on the third floor and is open Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Services are open to “returning citizens” and people with low and moderate incomes. The city pays “returning citizens” $1,000 for taking Clarifi counseling sessions.

Campaign for Working Families is open Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The door’s open to come right in,” said Caine, calling the PATH office a “super site.”

Campaign for Working Families provides free income tax preparation. People are welcome to bring their tax documents to have them prepared on the spot or drop off the documents for later pickup. There are also digital and virtual options.

“We save people money,” Owens said. ••

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