Operating across the counties of Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, and Shiawassee in Michigan, the Capital Area Community Services is a leading non-profit for the less fortunate and low income. The agency administers emergency financial assistance and social services for thousands of Michigan families each and every year.
What the community action agency offers includes, but is not limited to, Homeless Prevention, Commodity Supplemental and Emergency Food. There is also rent and security deposit help, weatherization, and more. They may even have some direct funding for needs such as medications, utility bills, and other housing expenses.
Rent and Homeless Services, including stabilization and prevention, is a key focus of Capital Area Community Services. They offer a so called strength based approach in the delivery of services which builds upon the strengths of the clients and resident. The goal of the case manager is to lead families up and out of poverty and their hardship.
In addition to shelter, some financial aid is offered as well. This may include emergency heating bill assistance or rental help. Depending on the applicant’s financial situation, the funds may sometimes be issued in the form of a short term repayable loan.
To get financial support from CACS, applicants will normally need to enroll into Energy Smart Workshop, budgeting classes in Ingham or Eaton County, and financial literacy as well. There will be numerous Money Management workshops which include Financial Well Being, Basic Budgeting, Credit Repair, and Common Cents. After all, the goal is to resolve the crisis and also prevent it from reoccurring in the future.
For those seeking help with utility bills in Michigan, a educational and weatherization component needs to be explored and probably enrolled into. This will identify energy saving alternatives to reduce total energy consumption of the household.
Limited rent or mortgage assistance is offered. Case managers from Capital Area Community Services will need to take an assessment of household spending habits. They will work with clients on the development of skills, such as budgeting, in an effort to prioritize spending to meet basic needs and stabilize the family. This will lead to self-sufficiency as well.
Another program known as EHSP and HPRP can help prevent evictions in counties such as Clinton and Ingham. Or this can also assist currently homeless individuals/families and help them be quickly re-housed and stabilized.
Case managers work with clients to ensure housing is obtained or retained. It needs to be safe and affordable. The program may offer help for paying a security deposit or first months rent cost. There is also financial assistance and long term case management services to help homeless individuals and families in the region.
Staff will work with clients on increasing their income and/or access to mainstream benefits and resources, identify and overcome underlying cause(s) of homelessness, help them access programs such as section 8, and maintain safe and affordable permanent housing.
Free home weatherization is available. This is offered by CACS. It can help households save money on their utility and heating bills, and it has benefited residents of Shiawassee, Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties. While the results will vary, recent studies (from both private groups and the government) show that the average savings resulting from weatherizing a gas heated home is hundreds of dollars per year, or 25-30% of total costs.
Capital Area Community Services and its staff may do the following improvements. It can include furnace/water heater testing, smoke detectors, clothes dryer vents, repair or replacement of a furnace, low flow showerheads, duct insulation, attic insulation, exterior wall insulation, infiltration/exfiltration measures, floor or perimeter insulation, refrigerator replacement, and the installation of compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Direct financial aid may be limited. This is for those who meet income and other eligibility requirements. There may be home weatherization, supplemental food, utility bill assistance, shelter tax assistance and other emergency aid.
Free food is from the CSFP (Commodity Supplemental Food Program) as well as TEFAP (Emergency Food Assistance Program). As part of these various government provided programs, food or grocery packages are distributed either monthly or quarterly to low income and other qualified individuals.
The grocery and food items will be used to supplement the nutritional needs of low-income residents of Michigan. Aid is for seniors, pregnant and breast feeding women, the unemployed, infants, children up to their sixth birthday, new mothers up to one year postpartum. Although the contents of the food packages from Capital Area Community Services will vary, each package includes fruit, protein and vegetables. There will also be education, food preparation demonstration classes, and other nutritional support offered.
CACS community action has several offices in the region. Information, Referrals and Assistance is available from Capital Area Community Services. Assistance is for the elderly, poor, and others that live in Eaton, Ingham or Clinton County. There are also Senior Centers in the region that are designated contact points to provide assistance and guidance to people on Medicare and their caregivers.
Call the community action agency for information on programs including the following. Social Security, Meals on Wheels, SSDI applications, Legal Assistance, Rent and Housing Programs, Medicaid, and foreclosure prevention. Other support is offered too.
The main centers include the following.
Clinton County Service Center is at 1001 South Oakland Street, St. Johns, Michigan 48879. Call (989) 224-6702 for information.
Rural Ingham - 218 E. Maple Street, Mason, Michigan 48854, (517) 676-1065
Eaton County CACS Service Center, 1370 N. Clinton Trail, Charlotte, MI 48813. Call (517) 543-5465
Shiawassee County is at 1845 Corunna Avenue, Owosso, MI 48867, dial (989) 723-3115
Lansing Service Center is based at 1301 Rensen Street, Lansing, MI 48910. Call the location at (517) 393-7077.
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