Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Client & Housing Services: Client Services

What areas of Massachusetts do you serve?

We serve residents of Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport. (Our Fuel Assistance program also serves Hamilton and Wenham.)

Where are your offices?

Our Client Services staff meet with clients at the Action Inc. main office in Gloucester and at our satellite offices in Rockport and Ipswich. Please call 978-282-1000 for information about hours.

I need help applying for food stamps, MassHealth, disability, or some other benefit. How do I get help?

Call the Action Inc. main office at 978-282-1000 to speak with our intake specialist.

Client & Housing Services: Emergency Shelter

I'm homeless. How can I get a bed at the shelter?

Space at the shelter is limited and beds may not be available. Available beds will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis. From November to April, doors open at 4:30 pm. From May to October, doors open at 5 pm. The shelter is located at 370 Main Street in Gloucester.

Does the shelter serve meals?

The shelter serves hot meals every night for shelter guests and members of the community. Shelter guests also receive breakfast and a bag lunch that was donated by a local church.

Are there other services available at the shelter?

Yes. We offer on-site mental health and substance abuse counseling, case management, housing search assistance, and medical services.

Can I bring my children?

Unfortunately, our shelter is for homeless adults ages 18 and older. If you are seeking shelter for yourself and your children, contact the Department of Transitional Assistance’s North Shore Office at 978-825-7300 or visit the DTA office at 45 Congress Street, Suite 4120 in Salem.

Can I donate clothes, toiletries, or household goods to the shelter?

Yes. Donations are greatly appreciated. Please consult our Shelter Donation Policy regarding how and when you can make a donation.

Client & Housing Services: Housing

How do I get more information about eligibility for your housing programs?

Call the Action Inc. Main Office at 978-282-1000 to learn more about eligibility for our housing programs.

What areas of Massachusetts do you serve?

We serve residents of Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport. (Our Fuel Assistance program also serves Hamilton and Wenham.)

Energy: Fuel Assistance

How do I qualify for fuel assistance?

To qualify for Energy Services programs, your annual household income may not exceed 60% of the mean income of same-size households in MA, and you must reside in one of the following cities/towns: Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich, Hamilton, Manchester, Rockport, or Wenham, MA. Please call 978-283- 2131 to learn if you are eligible.

Can I qualify for discounted electric and/or gas rates if I don't receive fuel assistance?

Yes. It is possible to qualify for discounted electric and/or gas rates with National Grid if your bills are in your name and you are currently receiving any of these benefits: SSI, SNAP, WIC, TAFDC, EAEDC, Head Start, MassHealth (Medicaid), Public Housing, National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Veterans' Service Benefits (Chapter 115), Veterans DIC Surviving Parent or Spouse, Veterans Non-Service Disability Pension. Please call Action Inc. Energy Services at 978-283-2131 or the Fuel Assistance direct line at 978-281-3900 to learn more.

Do I have to pay for fuel assistance?

No. This program is free for eligible residents.

What areas of Massachusetts can receive fuel assistance?

Action Inc.'s Fuel Assistance program is available to residents throughout the entire state of Massachusetts.

Is there a deadline for assistance?

Fuel assistance enrollment is available November 1 – April 30.

Energy: Energy Efficiency

How do I qualify for weatherization services?

If your home has not been weatherized by Action Inc. since September 30th, 1994, you may qualify. Please call 978-283-2131 to learn more.

How do I qualify for energy efficiency upgrades to lightbulbs, refrigerators, and other appliances in my home?

If you have lived in your place of residence for at least nine months and have an active National Grid electric account in your name, you may qualify for this program. Please call 978-283-2131 to learn more.

How do I qualify for an upgrade to my heating system?

This program is typically for homeowners only. However, National Grid customers who are tenants and have approval from their landlords may also qualify. Please call 978-283-2131 to learn more.

Can I qualify for weatherization and other energy efficiency services if I don't receive fuel assistance?

Yes. It is possible to qualify for discounted electric and/or gas rates with National Grid if your bills are in your name and you are currently receiving any of these benefits: SSI, SNAP, WIC, TAFDC, EAEDC, Head Start, MassHealth (Medicaid), Public Housing, National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Veterans’ Service Benefits (Chapter 115), Veterans DIC Surviving Parent or Spouse, Veterans Non-Service Disability Pension. Please call Action Inc. Energy Services at 978-283-2131 or the Fuel Assistance direct line at 978-281-3900 to learn more.

Energy: Advocacy

Can I qualify for discounted electric and/or gas rates if I don't receive fuel assistance?

Yes. It is possible to qualify for discounted electric and/or gas rates with National Grid if your bills are in your name and you are currently receiving any of these benefits: SSI, SNAP, WIC, TAFDC, EAEDC, Head Start, MassHealth (Medicaid), Public Housing, National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Veterans’ Service Benefits (Chapter 115), Veterans DIC Surviving Parent or Spouse, Veterans Non-Service Disability Pension. Please call Action Inc. Energy Services at 978-283-2131 or the Fuel Assistance direct line at 978-281-3900 to learn more.

Can I qualify for weatherization and other energy efficiency services if I don't receive fuel assistance?

Yes. It is possible to qualify for discounted electric and/or gas rates with National Grid if your bills are in your name and you are currently receiving any of these benefits: SSI, SNAP, WIC, TAFDC, EAEDC, Head Start, MassHealth (Medicaid), Public Housing, National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Veterans’ Service Benefits (Chapter 115), Veterans DIC Surviving Parent or Spouse, Veterans Non-Service Disability Pension. Please call Action Inc. Energy Services at 978-283-2131 or the Fuel Assistance direct line at 978-281-3900 to learn more.

I need help with my energy bills. How do I know if I am eligible for supportive services?

Please call 978-283-2131 to learn more.

Education & Training: Adult Basic Education

English isn't my first language. Do you have classes that I can take to improve my English skills?

We offer three levels of Adult Basic Education courses: Level 1: For participants with a learning level at or below 4th grade. Level 2: For participants with a learning level between 4th and 8th grade. Level 3: For participants working toward taking the HiSET (grade level 9-12). Call 978-282-1000 for more information about this program.

When are classes offered?

Classes are offered in the evenings.

Education & Training: COMPASS Youth Program

How do you define "youth" for this program?

If you are between the ages of 16 and 24, you may be eligible for the COMPASS Youth Program. Contact us at 978-282-1000 for more information and to sign up.

When are classes offered?

We offer afternoon classes five days a week. Academic instruction is offered from 9 am to 1 pm every day of the week except Thursday. One-on-one tutoring is available upon request and based on need.

Do I have to pay anything to attend the HiSET preparation classes?

No. This program is free for eligible Cape Ann residents.

What areas of Massachusetts do you serve?

We serve residents of Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport. (Our Fuel Assistance Program also serves Hamilton and Wenham.)

Education & Training: Job Training

When will the next healthcare training program be offered?

Please call 978-282-1000 or click here to request more information online.

Do I have to pay anything to attend?

No. This program is offered free to individuals who qualify.