The staff at Community Action Committee are focused on helping individuals get back on their feet. So to meet this goal, they offer emergency assistance for a large variety of needs. Many of their programs are met by applications to federal benefits, such as Weatherization or USDA foods, but other aid is provided directly by the organization. CAC supports vulnerable families in Chambers, Tallapoosa, and Coosa Counties.
Emergency Services help income qualified families in crisis get the help them need for stability. It can offer assistance for their immediate, pressing needs. This may include a one-time disbursement for an overdue utility payment; shelter; emergency assistance with rent or mortgage payments to avoid eviction or foreclosure and more. Another focus is on stopping hunger, and Community Action Committee staff can help families obtaining sufficient and nutritious food.
Clients can learn about the USDA Commodity Food Program. The federal benefit furnishes canned and packaged items to supplement the diets of families, seniors, children, and new mothers in counties such as Chambers. CAC also offers the Summer Food Service to ensure that children and youth from low-income families are provided with well-balanced, nutritious food during summer break. This is the period when the state of Alabama free lunch programs are not in operation.
Senior Nutrition provides free meals for struggling elderly residents. There is food and meals either in a congregate (group) setting or delivered directly to the homes of those who cannot leave due to disability or illness. Drivers can offer this in Tallapoosa or Chambers county, as well as other towns.
The goal is to eliminate the negative effects of poor nutrition on the health of senior citizens. It does this by providing them with nutritious, tasty meals that also provide one-third of the recommended USDA daily nutrition allowance for older adults.
Congregate meals are served at Community Action Committee Senior Centers, and transportation is sometimes arranged to residents from the immediate area who lack other options. Besides the nutritional advantages, the congregate service provide seniors with an opportunity to get out of the house, have a good healthy meal, and socialize with others.
Similarly, the home-delivered meals service ensures that those who are not able to leave their primary resident receive at least one hot, nutritious meal per day. This can be for the disabled or elderly in the region. Another benefit of this community action program is that by having someone who visits on a daily basis, it offers the client social interaction and the security of knowing that someone will check on their well-being each day.
When determining whether an applicant is eligible for any of these Nutrition Programs, Community Action Committee staff members look at the extent of the applicant’s need. They will review their income as well as whether they receive help from family or friends. While there are no income requirements to participate, a focus is on helping people in poverty.
Housing assistance as well as case management will support those who are homeless or at risk of it. There is help for tenants and homeowners in Tallapoosa as well as other counties as they work to establish stable, long-term housing. Clients must meet program eligibility requirements and agree to participate in case management, which includes developing and following a plan of action.
All of the housing solutions from CAC are tailored to meet the clients’ needs, and may require participation in certain individualized activities. Most people will need to look for gainful employment and also save money in order to apply for any grants from the community action agency.
LIHEAP from Caldwell Community Center assists low-income families with vulnerable members. Cash grants may be offered for households with elderly, disabled, or young children. The money is used to help them with paying for the cost of home energy bills, which includes both heating and cooling.
Families whose energy usage is disproportionately high when compared to their income are also a priority for any government aid. In general, benefits are in the form of a one-time payment made directly to the client’s gas or electric provider, and are intended to serve as an initial step toward energy self-sufficiency and reduced vulnerability.
Weatherization provides free energy-efficient enhancements to the homes of working poor individuals and families. The purpose is for reducing their energy expenditures and improving the health and safety of their homes. Similar to the funding from LIHEAP above, priority is given to the elderly, people with disabilities, single moms or families with children, and those living in poverty.
Community Action Committee weatherization measures typically include insulating the attic, walls, and floors, eliminating outside air infiltration into the home; sealing duct work; tuning and repairing HVAC systems; and replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFL lighting. Other work can be done as well.
CAC’s Community Resource Specialists address the underlying cause of the crisis. Sessions are held across Tallapoosa, Chambers and Coosa County, and the staff provide one-on-one Budget Counseling to eliminate financial stressors. The support will help people become more self-sufficient, and gain the skills and tools necessary to manage their finances. They can learn how to control cash flow and understand credit scores.
A full review of their financial situation needs to occur as well. Based on a budget review, areas for change are identified. The next step is that the client is provided with the appropriate resources, training, and education. Action steps are then put into place for clients to follow as they move toward greater stability and growth are incorporated into all program activities and training sessions.
There are three main offices of Community Action Committee. They are as follows.
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