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Emergency aid from Community Action House assistance programs.

Clients of Community Action House can be provided both case management as well as information on financial aid. There may also be some emergency needs that can be met by the non-profit organization, including for food, housing, and referrals to LIHEAP for paying heating bills. The main programs from the Ottawa County based organization are below.

The agencies Basic Services Program assists residents who are unable to provide for their families’ immediate needs due to an unforeseen crisis situation. After an application is done and when assessing the circumstances and the family’s immediate needs, the Stabilization Specialist then furnishes those essentials that are required for daily living.

While resources vary, the agency may have free clothing, diapers, baby food, groceries, formula, various other baby items, hygiene products, holiday help, and cleaning products. Additionally, the Stabilization Specialist identifies appropriate resources and services to help stabilize the crisis, at that can include grants for pay any back rent due to prevent an eviction or applications for resources such as LIHEAP. Services are provided free of charge to those that qualify, based on current need, and are available at both the south and north side locations of CAH.

Case management from Community Action House is available on both a long and short-term basis. The goal is to help families better understand and respond to their own emotional, financial, or physical needs, working toward the goal of fulfilling personal potential and becoming more successful as members of our community.

As part of this process, the agency will also provide support services to assist with immediate needs, such as shelter in Ottawa County, food, and clothing. Case management can give clients the opportunity to learn skills that are necessary for achieving the goal of a more stable and productive life.

Food needs are provided too. Over the years CAH has been offering monthly food distribution packages to all low-income and working poor households in the Ottawa service area. Eligibility is income-based, and clients must provide picture ID and proof of residency as well as income to benefit from this service. Qualifying households can take advantage of each monthly distribution, as well as Basic Services items (meals, free diapers, baby food, formula, personal hygiene items, and cleaning products). The program can only be used a few times per year per qualified household.




The Western Theological Seminary and CAH work together to present the Community Kitchen in Ottawa Michigan. It is a place where our most vulnerable and homeless residents can enjoy a free meal and referrals to government aid. At the same time, case managers work with them to learn the nature of their daily needs and struggles.

The Community Garden from CAH is another food assistance program for Ottawa County Michigan residents who live on low or fixed incomes, such as a pension or disability. It is where individuals and families who are in need have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Located at, behind the Macatawa Resource Center, the Community Garden is open for people from the community to use.

A clothing bank from Community Action House will distribute gently used clothing at no charge to area children as well as low-income individuals and families. This service is available at the CAH 14th Street Location only.

The Community Housing Partnership Program is focused on addressing and eliminating homelessness. It strives towards this goal by providing homeless families and individuals in Ottawa County with affordable, low income housing for a period of over one year.

During that time of residency, CAH staff members and case managers work closely with the client, providing comprehensive support services, including problem solving, financial counseling, service referral and follow-up, goal setting, and weekly home visits. The goal is to enable clients of the low income apartments to secure and maintain stable, permanent housing, and ultimately become financially self-sufficient.





The Foreclosure Prevention service from Community Action House assists households facing a home foreclosure crisis or that are behind on their home loans. It works by advocating on their behalf with mortgage companies and lenders. It will also offer them financial counseling and education, and assisting in obtaining suitable alternative housing if a foreclosure of their home cannot be prevented.

The agency provides free classes in the subjects of home buyer education, financial capability and home maintenance for low-income members of the community. Class curricula meet the requirements of the MSHDA - Michigan State Housing Development Authority. The classes will be organized by certified housing counselors. Available courses include the following:

  • Budgeting and overall financial capability covers a wide range of financially related subject matter, such as long-term financial planning, spending plan development, credit, debt reduction, savings, consumer protection, and home insurance.
  • Home Buyer Education will offer clients information in regard to the home purchase process, including credit, affordability, taxes, real estate, home inspections, insurance, and mortgages.
  • Home Repair and Maintenance Education is for people from Ottawa. They can become a “do it yourself” specialist, by acquiring electrical, landscaping, and heating, plumbing, and wall repair skills.




Employment services from CAH are part of the MI Works employment service. They operate as a SHARE Network Access site, where clients of the non-profit have access to designated work stations and computers. The aim is to provide them with a place where they can take GED exams or maybe update and post resumes on the Talent Bank Portal. Computers can also be used for online searches for employment opportunities, and connect with potential employers.

For more information on these or other resources, the Community Action House is located at 345 W. 14th St., Holland, MI 49423. Call 616-392-2368.


By Jon McNamara

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