Northwest Alabama Community Action Agency programs.
Community Action Agency of Northwest Alabama provides assistance in the counties of Lauderdale, Colbert, and Franklin. A wide range of services are administered for seniors, low income families with children, the unemployed and struggling. The objective of the agency is to offer very short term assistance while helping clients gain self-sufficiency. So to this end, food, foreclosure counseling, funds for utilities and other aid is available.
Weatherization is available to help homeowners conserve energy and therefore save money on their bills. This is the goal of the non-profits free weatherization program. Eligible low-income, disabled, and seniors homeowners are qualified to receive a one time assessment on their home. This will be used in order to determine measures that can lower energy bills and also reduce energy consumption.
In addition to home improvements, free energy education counseling is available for those wishing to learn how to save additional money by using low or no cost measures. Or another way to benefit is by investing in Energy Star rated, efficient appliances.
Food assistance is available from Meals on Wheels, Gardening, and government benefits such as SNAP food stamps. The Community Action Agency of Northwest Alabama is involved in many of thes and can help people from Lauderdale County and other towns apply.
The Meals on Wheels program from CAANW relies on volunteers and donations. It may be the most visible and well-known service the non-profit agency provides. Volunteers that are screened by the organization deliver hot meals to the homebound, elderly and disabled in counties such as Franklin and Colbert. This can also include frozen meals for weekend consumption or holiday program. There is even a "PET" - Pets Eat Too component, which provides low cost or maybe free pet food for Meals on Wheels clients animals. This is distributed by the agencies volunteers as well.
Another food program is known as Gardening. During the spring, the agency will distribute free seeds, plants and fertilizer to thousands of families. They can use the items to grow their own food, including vegetables. The families who take part in this program take pride in their gardens. This empowers people to feed themselves and their families.
The agency has information on all the government benefits as well, such as SNAP food stamps and WIC applications. Note these are usually for very low income families that tend to be at or near poverty guidelines.
Community Action Agency of Northwest Alabama is a HUD certified organization. They provide counseling and a so called Back to Work Initiative. The agency and their HUD certified housing counselors will work with loan applicants and homeowners across the region to provide housing counseling as well as homeownership education that is required to close on a mortgage loan. This may even include referrals to rental assistance programs, eviction prevention services, and funds for deposits. The number to call is 256-383-3832 for more details on their housing services.
The housing counselors also partner with struggling families and individuals facing economic hardships or that are behind on their mortgage. The assistance offered is intended to help prevent homelessness in Colbert and Lauderdale, among other counties. Community Action will also offer emergency rental and default-mortgage counseling in counties such as Franklin.
For families interested in owning their own home, the Alabama agency will also hold an informational and educational homebuyer class. This, and more is offered. Income qualified clients wishing to establish budgets and goals for financial self-sufficiency may be interested in the free or low cost financial literacy classes.
Utility and emergency assistance is used by thousands of homeowners and tenants in the region. There are different resources available, and the local utility bill assistance may be provided through Emergency Food/Shelter Program, Project Share, Centsable Energy, Project Help, the Emergency Solutions Grant or federal funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Family Development and Case Management is for families who are ready to move beyond the need for government aid and public assistance. The agency will provide support such as case management to help families learn to obtain job skills, budget income, further education or gain long term employment. The goal of the social workers from community action in Northwest Alabama is to help the person acquire the tools for life that will move the, beyond the need for public benefits.
Other assistance can be offered by Community Action Agency of Northwest Alabama (CAANW) as well, including referrals. Their offices are in the area.
Lauderdale County, 745 Thompson Street, Florence, Alabama 35630, dial 256-766-4330
Colbert County, 505 N. Columbia Ave., Sheffield, Alabama 35660, telephone 256-383-3832
Franklin County, 1001 S. Washington Ave., Russellville, Alabama 35653, call 256-332-7534