Community Action Agency of South Central Michigan assistance programs.

Low income programs are run by the Community Action Agency of South Central Michigan. It supports residents over several counties, including the regions of Branch, Barry, Calhoun, and St. Joseph County. A wide range of services and resources are administered, many of them are funded by the government.

A focus is on addressing energy bills, both paying them and helping households save money. Additional support can be arranged for seniors, including food. Many other services are available too, including referrals. If you are faced with an emergency, call or stop by the non-profit for information.

Emergency services from the Community Action Agency of South Central Michigan provides low-income families and individuals assistance. A number of tools are used to do this. they offer housing and utility bill assistance such as natural gas, electric, water bills, and deliverable fuels.

Community Action’s Home Weatherization program provides low-income families and individuals with free weatherization services that help them lower their energy usage and their utility bills. Examples of the conservation and methods used may range from attic/wall insulation, extra caulking, venting and weather-stripping to refrigerator, door repair/replacement, glass replacement, and minor roof and foundation repair. More on LIHEAP and weatherization in Michigan from Home Heating Credit.

The state of Michigan HOME Rehabilitation Program provides eligible homes with financial assistance of up to $45,000 to be used for home improvement/safety purposes. This includes improving the quality of the housing and abiding by HUD regulations and code compliance. in some cases, applicants are provided a forgivable loan to pay for these services. The final inspections of the homes will be done by Community Development department, the City of Battle Creek Code Compliance officers, and lead examiner for lead clearance.

This CAASCM program is funded by the government, including the counties of Calhoun. Money is given to the City of Battle Creek HOME Grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Eligibility Requirements may include the following.





Low-income homeowners and the working poor in the City of Battle Creek are eligible for this program provided that all their property taxes and homeowner's insurance are current. They also need to show documents show as income proof for all household members. This needs to be provided. Housing affordability will be reviewed before the funds are released.

The Community Action Agency of South Central Michigan (CAASCM) minor home repair program provides a very limited amount of home repair services for low-income homeowners 60 years of age and older in Calhoun County. The repairs that are done are usually aimed at improving handicap accessibility and minimizing issues that compromise the health and safety of the residents.

Head Start - This is a quality social and educational experience for children of low- to moderate- income families ages birth to 5 years, and expectant mothers.

Head Start provides a children with a quality classroom environment. Children who are three to four years of age may qualify for this government program. The resource also helps families, particularly expectant mothers, to help them raise successful children by providing appropriate educational and social experiences as well.

Children from low income and working poor families are provided various age-appropriate cognitive, affective, and motor skill development experiences in large and small group settings. Among other things, this will encourage proper social, intellectual, physical, and emotional development. Part of the daily activities also include lessons in general health care and nutrition, along with family involvement.

Early Head Start from the CAASCM community action agency helps employed low-income families by providing full day childcare throughout the year for children from birth to three years of age. The program also provides assistance to expectant mothers.

The Early Head Start program works to promote the physical and mental health of expectant mothers, toddlers and infants, as well as the stability of the entire family. This is done through monthly home visits and training for enrolled families on best practice with their infant and toddlers.

The low cost Home Delivered Meals program helps homebound seniors meet part of their recommended daily allowance (RDA) nutritional requirements by providing hot, nutritious meals 5 days a week across counties such as Branch. For those who need it, the program also provides modified meals including chopped, pureed and liquid nutrition. The meals will usually be delivered between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm Monday through Friday by professional and courteous Community Action staff and volunteers.

Seniors who avail themselves of this Meals on Wheels program must be able to feed themselves and be home during the airframe meals are delivered.




Additional food assistance is from the Congregate Meal Program. Community Action Agency of South Central Michigan provides seniors 60 years and older with hot, nutritious meals during the week. This is also offered for their spouses. There are plenty of opportunities to socialize at Dining Centers located throughout Branch county Michigan. Some congregate dining centers have extended hours and additional activities.

A donation of a few dollars is suggested for participating in Congregate Meals in Branch County but it is not mandatory. Reservations are necessary one day in advance. Find other senior citizens assistance programs in Michigan.

In order to get help from this resource, the applicants need to be any individual 60 years of age or older; a disabled individual who resides with and the accompanies an eligible participant; or it can also help the spouse of an eligible participant. Also, using the program can be a disabled individual who may be under 60 years of age but resides in a senior living complex that houses a Congregate Dining Center.

The federal government and state of Michigan Commodity Supplemental Food Program provides free nutritious food to pregnant women, children under six years of age who are not receiving WIC assistance, and seniors 60 years of age and older. Food or groceries is distributed once a month from Community Action Agency of South Central Michigan and will provide up to 2 weeks of complete, balanced meals. The State of Michigan decides on the exact food items to be distributed to clients through the CSFP program.

The Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP, provides residents of the region, including St. Joseph County County, with food up to four times a year. This is for the poor and other low-income individuals and families. The grocery and meal items are distributed from several different sites throughout a seven-county service area and include items such as rice, beans, milk, spaghetti, fruit, flour, meat and peanut butter.

Transportation assistance is provided in some cases. It is arranged by professional and courteous Community Action staff. What will happen is that vans with and without lifts are available to transport disabled persons 18 years of age as well as seniors over age 60 and over to grocery shopping, medical appointments, employment sites, congregate meal centers, and any other necessary trips.





These services can be arranged by families in Battle Creek and other areas of western Calhoun County Michigan by calling (269) 565-4144 or call 1-800-994-9876. Or, in other areas, transportation services can be arranged in Albion, Tekonsha, Homer Michigan, and other areas in eastern Calhoun County by calling (269) 565-4144.

The main locations of the Community Action Agency of South Central Michigan, Inc. are as follows. Dial 877.422.2726.
Calhoun County - Albion Office, 101 North Albion Street, Albion, MI 49224
Battle Creek Office, 175 Main Street, Battle Creek, Michigan 49017
Barry County Office is located at 231 South Broadway, Hastings, MI 49058
Branch County Office - 285 North Michigan Ave.,Coldwater, MI 49036
St. Joseph County Office, 1000 East Broadway, Three Rivers, Michigan 49093


By Jon McNamara

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