Community Action Agency of South Alabama emergency assistance programs.

Community Action Agency of South Alabama may be able to help those in need. Whether it is an application for financial aid for paying rent or energy bills, or more self-sufficiency services such as VITA, the non-profit CAA may be able to direct an applicant to a program for their needs.

The organization operates across several towns and counties, including Baldwin, Escambia, Clarke, Monroe, Wilcox, and Conecuh Counties. Most of the support from the organization is in the form of referrals, as their resources are very limited.

Resources for emergency food in South Alabama

The CAA Food service furnishes qualifying households with several days’ worth of nutritious groceries. The food is available in an emergency, and in some cases families may receive up to six bags of groceries. The packages consist of paper goods, personal care items, donated food and cleaning supplies.

When sufficient funding is available, Community Action Agency of South Alabama purchases fresh food items such as meat, eggs and produce to add to the packages. The amounts are based on family size, and each household in Monroe or Baldwin County can access food up to 12 times per year, dependent upon income eligibility.

Special assistance programs and holiday meals are available too. There will be a Thanksgiving as well as Christmas service, or children can receive a summer snack as well.

Many families in counties including Baldwin, Clarke, and others may benefit from SNAP food stamps. The income guidelines make it achievable, and tens of dollars may be issued each month on an EBT card to help pay for groceries. There is even food stamps for emergencies, which is a shorter application process. The Community Action Agency of South Alabama helps families navigate the process.





Financial assistance for rent and energy bills

Homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing for those who are currently struggling with their rent or mortgage. Any aid is available through the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG). This federally funded program targets individuals and families who would be homeless if not for this assistance. Funds are available for a variety of purposes, including short or medium-term Rental Assistance, mortgage payments, Housing Search and Placement, and Stability Case Management.

Community Action Agency of South Alabama can also direct clients to other options as well. Using funds allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), there are additional opportunities for grants as a form of Rental/Mortgage Assistance. Any aid is a crisis intervention program only. The funds issued need to be able to forestall eviction, foreclosure, and homelessness by providing financial assistance with past-due rent or mortgage payments.

The Energy Assistance Program is offered in southern Alabama and nationwide. This provides one-time-only, non-crisis financial assistance with utility bills each year from November to March. Those who are households with young children, elderly or disabled may apply for EA during the month of October. Benefit amounts paid out by Community Action Agency of South Alabama are determined according to age, household size, income level,, and disability.





The LIHEAP - Energy Crisis Intervention Program requires that a utility disconnection notice has been received or that power has been disconnected. Assistance is available in counties such as Baldwin as well as Escambia for both a winter and a summer season. CAA will process applications for this.

Note that the winter season runs from November through May, with a special application period for the elderly and the disabled in October. Clients may apply for ECIP from LIHEAP as many times as needed, provided that they have a shut off notice. There is also a maximum allotment paid each year. Learn more on applying for LIHEAP in Alabama.

Often combined with LIHEAP is the Home Weatherization Assistance Program from CAA. This preserves and improves the homes of low income residents through the addition of energy-efficient measures. The goal is to reduce utility bills for the family. Community Action Agency of South Alabama will give  priority to low-income elderly, the disabled, and families with young children.

Once enrolled into this program, the service process begins with safety inspections of the home’s heating system. This will also include the gas, oil, and wood-run appliances; electrical system, and plumbing. After that, staff members trained by community action agency install insulation, seal general air leaks, and make minor repairs. Everything done will need to make the home more energy-efficient.

Education and counseling from Community Action Agency of South Alabama

CAA now offers free income tax return preparation and e-filing in centers in Escambia County and throughout the southern part of the state. This is a service that is help by IRS-trained Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) volunteers. It is available to residents of the  multiple county service area.

As with most of the programs run, there is priority given to the disabled, elderly and those with limited English-speaking ability who cannot prepare their own returns. Those who take advantage of the e-filing option from Community Action Agency of South Alabama will receive refunds in about half the time it would take for those who file paper returns. Using direct deposit, which is another solution from CAA, speeds the process even further.




People wishing to learn English or to improve their command of the language are encouraged to enroll in CAA’s English as a Second Language Program (ESL). There are up to four language levels available from teachers that hold the sessions. Each participant is assessed to determine which is most appropriate for him or her. Once a student graduates from the ESL program, the next step is to enroll in the CAA GED program. As the community action agency is a great place to learn about job opportunities. Even locate legit and leading work from home jobs.

Community Action Agency of South Alabama Project Head Start is a federally funded, comprehensive developmental education program for preschool-aged children from low to moderate income families. The objectives focus on providing strong support for children. But there is also additional assistance for families, communities, and staff, with emphasis on supporting the whole child and the whole family.

All of the educational programming from Head Start meets the emotional, intellectual, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs of families and children from diverse backgrounds and varying developmental skill levels. Advocacy in regard to issues such as family enrichment and other needed services continues to be a Head Start priority.

The full-day Head Start Program is available five days per week from September through May at all centers. The only exception is the classes in Coffeeville, which runs from September through July.





Applying for help from CAA Community Action

All counties are supported. However the main center for Community Action Agency of South Alabama is at 26440 N. Pollard Rd., Daphne, AL 36526. Call them at 251-626-2646 for information.


By Jon McNamara

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