Community action agencies and the services and programs they offer.
The Community Action program and the associated agencies were created back in 1964 as a result of the federal government Economic Opportunity Act (EOA). The organizations will offer support to families to help them gain self-sufficiency, but in a crisis short term financial help for everything from energy bills to housing, transportation and employment expenses may be offered. The network is paid for by government grants, but the funds are distributed on a local level to qualified low income families.
Over 1,100 community action agencies are now located across the country. Select your state and/or county below for information on local centers. The network is made up of public, private, and non-profit organizations and agencies that offer numerous services to people who need help. The case managers from the organizations work closely with families and individuals and provide them with a number of financial assistance programs.
The resources available include counseling, funds for paying bills (including utility and heating), weatherization programs, as well as rent assistance. Some of the organizations will also offer free foreclosure prevention services, job training, child care, emergency crisis grants, applications to LIHEAP, and more.
The Community Action Agency (CAA) network is funded by a number of federal government organizations who allocate resources on an annual basis. While the funding that is issued each year goes directly to the state governments, those organizations are then required to forward 90 percent of the money they receive to the local agencies. The end result is that most of the funds flow down to cities and towns across the nation.
All of this is done in an effort to ensure that the assistance goes to the least fortunate. All together, CAAs serve almost 15 million low and moderate income people yearly in 96 percent of the nation's counties. They provide them with financial help for bills, applications to public benefits, and other expenses.
Throughout this site you will find many references and information on your local community action agency, as well as how to contact them. In general, these organizations are one of the leading places for struggling families to turn to for help. They also offer financial support to senior citizens, the unemployed, disabled, and households living in poverty. However, below we have provided information on the community action agencies and non-profit agencies that cover some of the nation’s largest counties.
If you are struggling and dealing with a short term financial hardship, be sure to stop by or call your local community action agency for assistance. They may offer direct financial aid for paying your rent, bills, or other basic needs. Or if they do not have any funds left in their budget, referrals may be given.
A focus tends to be on preventing evictions or homelessness, providing food, and helping those that are most at risk, such as children and senior citizens. Some locations may offer funding from government grants for those expenses and other non-profit community action agencies may be able to offer qualified applicants access to other forms of cash assistance.
At the same time that any type of short term financial support is offered, many clients will be able to receive self-sufficiency type resources. This can help improve a clients income and budgeting situation. Services range from job training to credit counseling, and even budgeting workshops. A major focus is on helping working poor families to break the cycle of poverty. In fact, most of the community action agencies will require applicants to be on the path to self-sufficiency. Ask them about the services and resources that they can offer you.
Financial help from non-profit community action organizations
When direct support is offered, it will come with an extensive application process. All resources are limited and funds are usually issued on a first come and served basis to qualified residents. Many of the applicants tend to be the unemployed, low income families, elderly and others. Anyone that is struggling will have access to community action agencies.
In addition, the organizations will also often partner with other groups in your county. There is often coordination done with local charities, government assistance programs, and other non-profit organizations. Another key partner of a community action organization are local workforce centers, which will help with employment as well as job training needs. This is done in an effort to offer even more services to clients.
Local centers will often have information on many federal government benefits as well, such as LIHEAP, emergency shelter grants for rental costs, or Head Start child care. Together they coordinate programs to provide as many resources as possible to the less fortunate.
The programs also focus on meeting a number of basic needs, including food, utilities, rent, housing, and medical care. Whether is is ending homeless or hunger in a local community, low income families to even more moderate income households are the primary beneficiaries. There are no guarantees to receiving help, if the staff at an office can’t assist you then many community action agencies can offer referrals. Case managers will help people apply for public assistance programs and refer families to other local or national resources.
While our country is in the midst of a still challenging economy, there are many places people can turn to in order to get help. Your local community action agency has many services they can offer you.
Agencies by state