The main programs from the Honolulu Community Action Program are focused on housing, employment, education and energy bill assistance. The non-profit community action organization is also a great place for information on government benefits, referrals, and other support services.
Located in Kapolei Hawaii, Kumuhonua provides transitional housing for single adults as well as couples who are facing evictions, at-risk of becoming homeless or that currently lack housing. Clients can remain at the Kumuhonua center for up to two years, benefitting from case management services, classes, and workshops. To qualify, applicants to the agency must have a stable source of income and they also need to capable of living independently.
The federal government grant program known as Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program's (LIHEAP) is a key utility assistance program. There are different components to it, such as the Energy Credit and Emergency Crisis Intervention (ECI). These services from HCAP help families avoid termination of electric service due to nonpayment.
Emphasis is placed on helping those who are most vulnerable, such as families with young children, the elderly, and the disabled in the county. To be eligible for financial aid from either program, applicants must meet certain federal government poverty guidelines and have an active utility account.
As part of the application process for LIHEAP, all household members must be listed on the application as part of the household. The agency will also require Social Security cards for adults and children, picture IDs for adults, proof of income, and a current, original electric bill.
The LIHEAP Emergency Crisis Intervention Program also requires that a disconnection notice be shown when applying for any type of utility assistance. Applications are processed for an Energy Credit only during the month of June, and the amount granted to each household in Honolulu County Hawaii can vary from year to year. Applications for one time utility bill help from ECI are accepted year-round.
With the goal of helping low income families save money by reducing the high cost of home energy, HCAP works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Hawaii State Office of Community Services to offer the Weatherization Assistance Program. The priority of the organization is to assist the elderly, families with young children, people with disabilities, and working poor families experiencing high energy burdens. This is done by making their homes more energy efficient, safe, and healthy to live in.
The conservation process offered begins with a professional home-energy audit, followed up with education and household-specific advice on using energy more efficiently. The next step is to implement cost-effective repairs or improvements to each home. Examples of what may be done includes the installation of compact fluorescent lighting (CFL), high-efficiency faucet aerators and showerheads, insulation, and energy-efficient water heaters. For those who qualify for weatherization grants, all services are provided at no charge to them.
The For the Working Hand Employment Core Services Program can help unemployed and underemployed individuals gain knowledge and skills needed to obtain stable employment. This is also known as Na Lima Hana. By providing personalized case management services as a foundation for stable long term employment, the program offers training and job placement. This is available at all Honolulu Community Action Agency District Service Center locations throughout the island of Oahu. Specific topics from the program include Understanding Job Applications, Setting Career Goals, Resume Building, Budgeting Class, Career Planning.
Those looking for a job, or new skills, may also benefit from other workshops help by the agency. These will cover topics such as How to Dress for an Interview, Training, Basic Computer Skills (Microsoft Word, Excel, PC Operation), and Interview Preparation training.
Low-income elderly as well as senior citizens have been receiving employment support services through HCAP community action agency Senior Employment Program, or SCSEP. This program is paid for by a grant from the State Department of Labor Workforce Development Division. It provides clients with subsidized annual physicals, hands-on job training, and social networking skills, among other services.
Participants of the program are able to gain Social Security credits, and all earnings are exempt from SNAP income calculations, public aid benefits and federal housing. To apply for SCSEP from the community action agency of Honolulu, visit HCAP's main office or a regional center.
HCAP's Earned Income Tax Credit resource helps working poor families and individuals in obtaining their earned federal government tax credits. Together with Hawaii Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Financial Empowerment Coalition, the agency will provide trained and certified volunteers to prepare and electronically file tax returns. All of these services are offered free of charge to the less fortunate.
The VITA and Earned Income Tax Credit program's focus is on federal government credits. Upon request, Hawaii state tax returns can be e-filed along with the federal government returns. The EITC program runs February through April.
The goal of Head Start is to prepare children for school. It will both create and sustain positive partnerships with parents, young children, and other family members, by providing meaningful experiences that promote and support all aspects of emotional, social, and educational development. This is accomplished through the teaching of school readiness skills, early intervention, health-related services, and guidance for successful transitions for children.
The federal funded Head Start emphasizes the importance of providing a safe, nurturing, and inclusive environment, with respect for all cultures and communities. Parental involvement is strongly encouraged. Opportunities are also available for income qualified parents to participate in center policy development, in addition to the pursuit of individual family goals. Depending on each family's needs and goals, Head Start programming is available in home or school based.
There are several district center for Honolulu Community Action Program around the state. Case managers can provide assistance, support, and referrals as needed.
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