Cattaraugus County Community Action Agency.

Resources from Cattaraugus Community Action can help low income families and those facing poverty. The agency administers government aid such as Fuel Assistance (HEAP), homeless prevention (rent help) and they also offer more local resources, such as free food from a pantry. A number of needs may be addressed by the not for profit community action agency.

There are a few different energy bill assistance programs offered. Most of them will prioritize the elderly, families with very young children, and also the disabled in the region. Some of the main resources administered are below.

  • The main federal program known as HEAP - Fuel Assistance can be applied to at Cattaraugus Community Action. This will help year round with paying utility bills, with a focus on winter heating and natural gas costs. HEAP in New York is a grant based, energy and heating assistance program.
  • Weatherization Assistance Program - This program will help people conserve energy and save money. As with most aid, it is focused on elderly, low-income and disabled. WAP will address and pay for energy audits, emergency furnace repairs and replacements, needed health and safety measures, energy conservation, as well as other minor home repairs. Note this is for both Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties in New York.
  • Empower New York is for appliance replacement as well as efficiency testing. It is for low income homeowners and is partially funded by utility companies as well.
  • Salamanca Attic Insulation Program is for qualified customers of the Salamanca Board of Public Utilities. It will help them save energy by reducing their yearly kilowatt and power usage. This is paid for by the Independent Energy Efficiency Program.




Rental assistance, legal aid, and resources to stop an eviction is part of the Homeless Prevention and Intervention program. Cattaraugus Community Action agency will work with families that are struggling as well as the currently homeless. Some of the assistance and services offered may include, but are not limited to, funds to pay rent, case management, emergency loans, service linkages, and direct financial aid.

Staff from the non-profit work with clients to both create and implement long term plans for housing stability and increased self-efficacy. These free case management services are located in Salamanca, New York. It can include workshops on skill-building sessions, credit repairs, and job training.





Staff at Cattaraugus Community Action agency can refer the client to other local resources as well. Whether they are credit unions that offer loans, local charities such as the Salvation army, or DSS offices for housing and benefits, there are services available. As an example, locate lenders and programs that offer emergency loans for bills.

The case management services from the agency also help tenants access social services and supports needed to transition into low income, permanent housing. When they are ready for relocation, social workers may be able to provide information on programs to pay a deposit or application to federal government housing vouchers.

Home repairs and Housing Rehabilitation can address safety and health issues. Contractors and staff from Cattaraugus Community Action work with clients to bring the homes or apartments up to Housing Quality Standards. They will address lead hazard reduction, thermal upgrading, structural corrections, mechanical systems, and other safety and health issues. Similar to this is the Rural Preservation Program. This will create opportunities for special needs population, the disabled, and low-income families.

Transitional housing is part of Jefferson House Apartments. There are several apartments set up for currently homeless persons or those at risk of eviction, foreclosure or homelessness. While there is normally a waiting list, the centers will allow qualified families to transition into long term, affordable permanent housing with the assistance of the Transitional Services Department's case management.

There are several food assistance programs that the Cattaraugus Community Action agency is involved in. They range from resources offered in partnership with local charities and non-profits as well as public benefits. Both federal and state of New York resources may be available.

The Emergency Food Pantry Network is a key partner of CCA. They work with the Western New York Food Bank and dozens of local pantries in Cattaraugus County as well as nearby towns. Cattaraugus Community Action also operates their own food bank in Salamanca, and it is the largest location in the region.





SNAP applications and referrals to government assistance is part of the NOEP - Nutrition Outreach and Education Program. The main focus of this service is on increasing participation in the food stamp program, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP). Case managers from the non-profit community action offer outreach and applications. Nutrition Outreach and Education also helps low income families apply for School Breakfast Program and Summer Food Service Program, WIC, and more. This is available in Cattaraugus County as well as nearby areas, including Allegany and Chautauqua.

Free meals are offered from the Lighthouse Community Kitchen. Volunteers and donations from the community keep this operating.

The nationwide Summer Food Service Program is for children and students. It addresses the nutritional needs of children during the summer months or holidays, when they don't have access to free school breakfasts or lunches. It fills the gap when they can't be receiving free and reduced meals from their school.

Cattaraugus Community Action agency Community Garden/Greenhouse will pass out vegetable seeds and seedlings. These will be distributed to the people in the county so they can grown their own food, fruits, and vegetables at home. Then the items will be provided back to the pantry, Lighthouse Community Kitchen, or the Food for Thought Program.

Other Seedling and Gleaning Projects will be available for those facing poverty as well as the underprivileged in the region. Help is provided through the regional food pantry network and community kitchen. They will be able to grow their own food for meals.

Employment opportunities are part of the Youth Home Maintenance. This is for teenagers and young adults ages 16-21. It will provide them with work experience, transferable employment skills, and maybe a small income. They can also get help and guidance in securing gainful, long term permanent employment. This Cattaraugus Community Action (CCA) program teaches employment skills while providing landscaping and home maintenance services to persons who have a disability, are elderly, veterans, or those that have served in the Armed Forces.

A culinary arts training program is known as Food for Thought. This is also for low-income youth, the unemployed and displaced adults. The program offers classroom based learning and on-the-job training experiences. The goal is to help them obtain and maintain employment in the Culinary Arts. Graduates of Food for Thought may receive their Culinary Arts Certificate, ServSafe Certification, or a Work Readiness Credential from Cattaraugus Community Action agency.





Those are just some examples of the resources offered by Cattaraugus Community Action. For more details, call the non-profit at (716) 945-1041. Or the main center is at 25 Jefferson Street, Salamanca, New York 14779.


By Jon McNamara

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