Community Action Agency - JLH assistance programs.

Several programs are offered by Community Action Agency - JLH. The center offers financial aid for rent and paying energy bills in order to prevent homelessness. Free foreclosure counseling may also be arranged by the HUD counseling agency.

Some educational and child development programs are administered too. This can include Head Start or GED training. The bottom line is that the Community Action Agency offers numerous services in the counties of Jackson, Hillsdale, and Lenawee Michigan.

Home repairs and energy conservation

Weatherization provides low income home owners and renters in the area, including Jackson County Michigan, with free home energy conservation services. Savings can amount to hundreds of dollars per year on heating bills. The types of these Energy Conservation services may include.
-Wall, extra attic and even foundation insulation.
-Weather stripping, caulking, and sealing of leaky doors and other measures for air reduction.
-Repairing or replacement of windows and other minor repairs.
-Furnace and Hot Water Heater Repair or Replacement.
-Installation of after measures such as smoke detectors, Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs.

Home Rehabilitation Program from the JLH Community Action Agency assists homeowners in Jackson, Lenawee and Hillsdale counties with the necessary safety repairs and improvements to their homes. This includes things such as furnace, roof, plumbing and electrical repairs, as well as upgrading bathrooms, etc. This program requires a lien, home loan and/or mortgage to be placed on the property.

Over time, the funds used to repair the home may need to be repaid by the owner. This will be done in the form of a deferred loan, zero interest loan payments or some combination of both.




Another housing option is the Property Improvement Loan, or PIP. The non-profit Community Action Agency assists homeowners with obtaining a low cost loan for home improvement purposes. This is offered in partnership with the non-profit Michigan State Housing Development Authority. The interest rate for this type of financing will be determined by factors like the annual household income.

JLH housing and rental assistance

Rent assistance and housing programs for the homeless and people facing eviction help participants become self-sufficient. It offers financial assistance for paying for stable housing as well as opportunities to improve their skill levels. Although these programs are open for anyone who qualifies they specifically target domestic violence victims, the elderly, women with children and disabled.

In addition to intensive case management services from Community Action Agency - JLH, when necessary the program also provides direct financial assistance to help pay the first month's rent and/or additional housing assistance. This can ease the family’s transition from homelessness to permanent housing.

Also, the program helps recipients improve their skills, so that they are able to develop the resources to maintain and pay their housing on their own. Some of the resources provided from case managers include credit repair, consumer and budgeting skills, literacy training, and conflict management training. Participants are required to identify and work on goals to remain in the program.

JLH Community Action Agency is a certified Local Housing Counseling Agency. The CAA and its staff provide the following housing services:

  • Homebuyer Education is conducted one-on-one or in a classroom setting. Housing Counselors provide potential homebuyers with essential home buying information and advice on loan options, selection of the home and home inspections as well as useful information on how to avoid predatory lenders.
  • Homeowner Counseling – CAA provides counseling for homeowners to assist with budgeting, home repair options, and referrals to other organizations that can assist them.
  • Foreclosure Prevention from HUD approved agencies.

Homeless Prevention/Emergency Shelter program provides timely assistance for Jackson and Hillsdale County Michigan residents at risk of housing eviction. The early intervention provided by the program helps decrease the crisis situations before it escalates into the last stages of the eviction process.

When funding or grants are offered, participants may receive financial assistance with utility arrearage, rent/mortgage arrearage, security deposits, payment of first month's rent and other unmet needs. The program from JLH CAA also provides landlord tenant mediation services to certain Jackson County renters at risk of eviction. Advice and information is also for landlords seeking to resolve a short-term crisis with their tenant. Mediation will help find a solution for all parties. The Housing Advocacy/Homeless Prevention Programs also help individuals and families become self-sufficient by offering financial assistance and counseling for stable housing.

Mortgage help and foreclosure assistance is available from JLH Community Action Agency. They are a HUD approved housing counseling agency that provides free foreclosure intervention counseling to the residents of the service territory.

Counselors help homeowners understand available options based on their individual situation or needs. Participants can learn about their options and develop a plan of action to resolve their housing crisis and get back on track with paying their mortgage. This can include federal government mortgage programs and counselors can also connect them with helpful non-profit community resources.

SSVF, or the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program from JLH provides housing assistance to homeless or near homeless Veterans. Tithe program aims to promote housing stability among very low-income Veterans and their families. It may include funds for paying rent or security deposits. It is for those who reside in or are transitioning to permanent apartments or residences.

Emergency financial aid provides assistance for certain expenses. This will include funds to pay for relocation, rent, heating bill and utilities. Or JLH case managers may offer referrals for household contents or needs. Any financial assistance paid out varies according to need and income levels. The Community Action Agency - JLH also offers assistance with paying water bills, electric and fuel delivery as well as homeless prevention services.

Education and assistance for children

The Head Start program provides social services and educational assistance to 3 to 5 year olds in Jackson and Hillsdale counties Michigan. The program helps children be better prepared for kindergarten. It addresses children’s needs such as self-esteem, health and nutrition, literacy, self-confidence. A number of other crucial child development issues are tackled as well.

Federal funds are used as part of Head Start, and it also provides free meals to all program participants. Children who attend the morning session have a hot breakfast and lunch served. Those who attend the afternoon sessions with JLH can have lunch and a snack. Those from the counties in question who attend the full day Head Start sessions have breakfast, lunch and a free afternoon snack given to them. Parents of the children are encouraged to participate in their early education.

Early Head Start, which is the second option, also conducts weekly home visits. Staff and teachers work with parents to foster the physical and cognitive development of their infants. During home visits that occur workers provide parents with useful developmental assessment, social services and anticipatory guidance. Early Head Start is offered to Michigan families who are income eligible and are pregnant or have a child less than three years of age.

Yet another JLH program for children is School Readiness. This is a preschool resource that was designed to meet the needs of young children and their families. GSRP helps foster a child’s social and academic Development. It is focused on them before they enter kindergarten by boosting self-esteem, helping increase confidence, developing academic and social skills.

For any of these mentioned above, free or low cost transportation can be arranged by Community Action Agency - JLH to children, within cooperating school districts, to provide service to rural out-county areas in Michigan.





Parents and others can benefit from Adult Literacy. It offers confidential, customized education to adults in Jackson, Lenawee and nearby Michigan counties. Participants pay a nominal registration fee for the ABE and GED classes. Some of the main components of it include the following.

  • ABE is a year-round service. It is where the learner is either placed in a classroom with an experienced teacher or matched with an adult volunteer. They will then tutor the client according to the individual needs and goals of the learner. Participants can enroll any time during the year.
  • General Equivalency Diploma (GED) is a year-round, classroom-based program, that is conducted by certified teachers.
  • ESL program is classroom-based and will help in particular newcomers and immigrants.

Credit repair and budgeting

Individual Development Accounts, or IDA, are matched savings accounts that are federally funded. They can help participants return to school. Or money can be used to pay for a degree/technical certificate, start a business, or to buy a home. The money you save will be matched.

Also, at the Community Action Agency - JLH financial classes help consumers. Participants learn budgeting skills and money management. The classes and workshops are customized to their needs. All residents of Jackson, Lenawee and Hillsdale counties can avail themselves of financial management assistance from CAA. There are no income eligibility restrictions.

Low income families can get help through the IRS sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance - VITA program. Highly trained IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers offer free Federal, state of Michigan and city income tax preparation services.

Tax preparers from the non-profit work with each client to ensure the client receives all the money due to them. The funds will come from the Child Tax Credit, low income Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Homestead Michigan Property Tax Credit, Home Heating Credit or others.

Public housing authorities, working with JLH, offer the Family Self-Sufficiency program. It encourages PHAs to develop local strategies to help Housing Choice Voucher (Section-8) families obtain employment. This should ideally allow them to become economic independent, get an income and gain self-sufficient. CAA is working together with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to develop a comprehensive program that arms participating FSS family members with the skills and experience needed to obtain and maintain suitable employment.

WIC - Women Infants and Children meets nutritional needs of infants and working poor mothers. Clients will get free nutritional foods. WIC also helps prevent malnutrition by supplementing the diets of children, low income pregnant and postpartum women with essential nutrients. the JLH CAA also provides free baby formula, fruits, vegetables as well as Project Fresh coupons for the first year for infants who are not breast-fed or partially breastfed.

Migrant assistance from Community Action is for Lenawee County. The so called Migrant Outreach Services provides information regarding free health care, job training, medications, immunizations, and translation services to empower migrant workers.

Get information about Medicaid health plans as part of Michigan Enrolls. Learn about individual doctors and specialists who are part of each state or federal health plan. Counselors from Michigan Enrolls Counselor helps residents make informed choices. Receive support and advice searching for a primary provider, learn how to apply for Medicaid services, get information on free prescriptions and other support.

The main offices are as follows.

CAA Administrative Office of Jackson,  1214 Greenwood Ave.,  Jackson, Michigan 49203, call (517) 784-4800
Lenawee County is at 400 W. South St., Adrian, MI 49221, phone number is (800) 438-1845
Administrative Office of Hillsdale, 55 Barnard Street, Hillsdale Michigan, 49242. For information, dial (517) 437-3346


By Jon McNamara

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