With a strong focus on basic needs, the Muskegon-Oceana Community Action Partnership helps low income families. The agency supports families with children, the disabled, and senior citizens. Everything from free food to rent assistance and heating bill help is provided. However, the focus is on self-sufficiency.
Case managers can help clients explore both public aid and private funds that may be available. The agency also partners with local churches, charities, and other non-profits to help the less fortunate with the services below.
MOCAP distributes free food and government commodities on a quarterly basis through the Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP. This resource is also known as the Commodities Program in some local towns. TEFAP is funded in part by the Michigan Department of Education as well as the USDA - U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Muskegon-Oceana Affordable Housing Initiatives provides free foreclosure prevention counseling and advice on dealing with mortgage hardships. This is provided by Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and NeighborWorks America-certified counselors.
Regardless of someone’s income, residents of Muskegon and Oceana counties are encouraged to ask for help, whether they are already behind or concerned that they miss one of their home loan payments. Free support is available, and some of these services include, but are not limited to, Budgeting Advice, Advocacy and Intervention with Mortgage Provider or Lender, Mediation at Pre-Foreclosure Meeting, and Explanation of Available Options in lieu of foreclosure.
Find help in stopping evictions. Staff from MOCAP offers assistance in preventing homelessness and mortgage foreclosure, as noted above. Case managers also work with individuals on the facilitation of a smooth transition from homelessness into stable housing, both emergency and permanent.
The goal is to go beyond providing the tenant with immediate, one-time financial assistance for paying rent. In addition to that, the agency will strongly encourage clients to take advantage of long-term case management services and financial management courses. These were set up in an effort to provide knowledge and skills that enable them to work toward the ultimate end of achieving self-sufficiency through maintaining adequate, affordable, and consistent housing.
Funding, including short term loans, for MOCAP as part of rental and mortgage assistance is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Association and the Michigan Department of Human Services, or DHS. These funds are distributed to qualified renters or homeowners.
The community action agency also helps elderly, handicapped, and economically advantaged residents of Muskegon and Oceana Counties manage utility costs and pay energy bills. This is done in an effort to help them avoid cancellation of water, natural gas and electric services.
Once the immediate threat of shut-off is eliminated through a one-time payment made directly to the water or utility company, Muskegon-Oceana Community Action Partnership will encourage clients to participate in the federal government funded Weatherization Program and Energy Education Courses. These were offered in effort to help homeowners with the goal of reducing overall heating costs and maintaining the comfort of their homes throughout the year. Funding for these services is provided by government grants, the Michigan Community Action Agency Association, various entities, and the state, including the Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW).
Muskegon-Oceana Community Action Agency also receives funding from the LIHEAP - Low Income Energy Assistance Program Crisis Assistance. Grants are used to assist clients who are struggling with the costs of paying for home-delivered fuels, such as fuel, heating oil, firewood, coal, kerosene, propane, heating pellets, kerosene, and so on. In addition to providing a one-time payment for emergency fuel delivery, the agency will also provide more long-term assistance.
The goal of Weatherization is to promote awareness as well as implementation of the importance of energy conservation. It is paid for by US Department of Energy. The state as well as agency also help economically disadvantaged, disabled, or senior citizen residents reduce their home-energy expenditures. It works by providing them with free energy-efficient home repairs and alterations.
Additionally, Weatherization Program clients have access to a wide variety of MOCAP sponsored Client Education courses, which provide information about energy use and conservation practices. The focus again is on the least fortunate, and it will enable people to extend the life, comfort, and efficiency of their homes.
The state of Michigan DHS-funded Migrant Services Program (MSP) provides programming and support to meet the medical, nutritional, social and educational needs of the Muskegon County migrant population. The program’s goal is to encourage migrant farm workers that are facing poverty with the ability to maintain healthy lifestyles for themselves and their families.
This goal is accomplished by the community partnership working in partnership with other agencies, programs, and services. It will address crisis situations before they become unmanageable. MHS services include repairs to damaged eye glasses, vehicle repair and inspection; assistance with paying rent and utility bill payments; free eye exams as well as prescription glasses.
Muskegon-Oceana Community Action VITA, or the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, offers free tax preparation services to residents. The agency fully understands that the fees for professional income tax preparation and filing services can be out of reach for many struggling clients who have limited resources.
Volunteer tax preparers, that are highly trained, take care to ensure that each client receives any refunds and state or federal government tax benefits to which he or she is entitled, thus providing them with dollars to pay their bills with or maybe put back into their homes. Or people can save the money to use towards financial stability for their families.
Senior Chore Services provides assistance with various daily household tasks for the elderly and senior citizens who are no longer able to do the work on their own. This may include installing security and safety enhancements, making minor home repairs, and performing various cleaning and housekeeping tasks.
Specifically, SCSP volunteers who were screened by Muskegon-Oceana Community Action Partnership repair or replace window screens, remove fire and health hazard, caulk windows and doors, clean gutters, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, mow lawns, install window and door locks, and keep yards well-maintained.
Free clothes and school supplies may be offered. As donations from the community allow, toys for the holidays, clothing, household goods and other necessary items are available at MOCAP’s free Clothing Closets or regional thrift stores. They will be used to assist those in need due to lack of employment or an emergency.
The main offices of the Muskegon-Oceana Community Action Partnership are as follow. They provide coverage across the region.
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