Both short term emergency aid and long term self-sufficiency services from CAP Services can help working poor and low income families. The community action agency uses government funds and private donations to help clients with their basic needs, including rent, utility bills, and food.
Assistance is available across several counties, including Waupaca, Marquette, Portage, Outagamie, and Waushara. While funding is limited, case managers do their best to help those that are less fortunate. If the agency can’t help, then referrals may be provided.
CAP Services Crisis Assistance is comprised of several different financial assistance programs. The funding often comes from the Community Service Block Grant, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP/Formerly FEMA), ESG - Emergency Shelter Grant, and even in some cases partners such as the United Way. As funding allows, the non-profit community action agency furnishes one-time crisis assistance to financially disadvantaged households, typically in the form of a rent or mortgage payment. Any emergency services are dependent on the availability of funding, income eligibility, ability to positively resolve the situation, and other criteria.
The federal funded Emergency Food and Shelter Program was formerly the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). EFSP is governed by a National Board that selects jurisdictions for funding, with dollar amounts issued to the state of Wisconsin based on the latest census and unemployment figures. Local Boards in counties such as Portage then determine the best use of government grants and which agencies will be designated as Local Recipient Organizations (LRO's).
The LRO’s in the region, such as Portage and Marquette, then provide emergency services to low income families and struggling people in their service areas, with assessment of community needs occurring on an annual basis. Grant funds provided by EFSP are restricted to the provision of paying rent, meals, shelter (motel or hotel vouchers); housing or mortgage assistance; and/or heating bill assistance.
CAP Services criteria for EFSP assistance with rent include the ability to show a five-day eviction notice and verification of employment. In some cases loans are issued to families in Wisconsin counties of Waupaca or Outagamie. For emergency motel or hotel stays, applicants must show that they are indeed homeless.
The community action agency utilizes funding from regional United Ways and other non-profits to assist families and individuals in nearby Counties with locating emergency shelter. Or the money raised can help address rent or mortgage crises.
To receive assistance with paying for a motel stay, you must be able to verify that you are homeless. To receive assistance with housing costs (such as rent or mortgage payments) families must be able to verify that they are currently employed. CWCAC receives funds from the United Way and federal government, among other places.
Loans for buying a car are part of Work and Wheels. This is only for Portage or Waupaca, and the funds are used to help a family buy a car for work related reasons. The money may even be provided at a zero percent interest rate.
The non-profit also has information on local public housing authorities and the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). This can provide subsidized rent assistance to income-eligible households at or below 50 percent of County Median Income (CMI) in all nearby regions.
A Section 8 voucher enables a family to live in housing or an apartment of their own choosing, provided that the dwelling meets payment and safety standards set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The units must also pass an annual standard housing quality inspection.
Short term shelter is part of the assistance from CAP Services. This is arranged by the staff at the Family Crisis Center, and the focus is on single parents as well as victims of domestic violence. The people who use the shelter will get a free meal, applications for low income apartments, affordable child care, and other aid from the agency.
Transitional Housing is a case management-based supportive housing program for low-income individuals or families in Marquette, Portage, Waupaca, Waushara, and Outagamie. The program is funded through a HUD Continuum of Care Grant, which must be matched by local agencies, and is usually targeted at individuals leaving the shelter.
Case managers from CAP Services or a charity such as the Salvation Army work with participants for up to 24 months, toward the goals of obtaining and keeping permanent housing. Applicants also get advice on gaining job skills, increasing income, and achieving a greater level of self-determination.
Case management is done by providing links to programs and services that can assist with the following. Learn about applying for Supplemental Security Income (Social Security) or Food Stamps, Transportation, Childcare, Employment, Health Care (medical, dental, prescriptions), and Household Needs.
Find help with buying a home, including assistance with financing. Residents looking to buy a home in the region, including counties of Portage or Outagamie, can receive help with the process. There is not only advice and counseling arranged by CAP Services, but they also help with paying some costs to those that qualify.
A combination of very low interest loans or even grants can be issued to pay for closing costs. In most cases, the funds from any loan issued will have extended payment terms, and may not even be due until the family moves.
CAP has been approved by the IRS and federal government to offer VITA, or the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. This service provides low-income households as well as income qualified seniors with assistance in filing their state of Wisconsin and federal government income taxes, and applying for any eligible tax credits they may be due. The assistance and advice is offered at no cost.
The CAP Services community action agency administers a number of programs that provide low-income households with help in managing the high costs of paying utility bills. The focus is on heating bills, cooling expenses, and maintaining their homes. Benefits are provided in the form of financial assistance. Grants are used for paying utility bills, home improvements, or household repairs. Some of these programs include the following:
The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program provides residents of Portage County and other towns with incomes at or below 60 percent of the State of Wisconsin Median Income with a once-per-year payment toward a utility bill. Contingent on funding availability from the federal government, WHEAP may also provide assistance for households in crisis. This will be used for additional fuel, furnace repair, or maybe even a furnace replacement.
Energy conservation - Weatherization is available to residents whose household incomes are at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. With funding from the State Department of Administration’s Division of Energy, CAP Services provides a home energy audit, which is used as a basis for determining which energy-efficient measures would best benefit. It will take into account a given household in regard to cost-effectiveness, home safety, and health. Specific measures provided may include insulating attic and sidewalls; sealing against air leakage; installing smoke detectors; and repairing or replacing the furnace, water heater, and/or refrigerator.
Low-income households, including senior citizens, can receive assistance from the Home Rehab (Repair) Program. This is available from CAP Services in the form of funds for rehabilitating their homes by making repairs and accessibility modifications. Assistance is based on each household’s specific needs, as well as HUD’s Housing Quality Standards. Another option for some places in Waupaca or Waushara County is the Community Development Block Grant, which can also help with safety issues.
Head Start is another option. This is for children from low income families, and the agency will offer this service for their long term educational and development needs. It provides food, medical and dental care, and otherwise prepares the student for school and long term success.
There are a few main offices, including the following.
1616 West River Drive, Stevens Point, Wisconsin 54481, call 715-343-7125 or a center is at 1725 West River Drive, Stevens Point, WI 54481, and this number is 715-343-7135.
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