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Community Action Program Committee assistance programs.

The non-profit Community Action Program Committee of Florida works with low income families to help them overcome a hardship. Qualified clients will be partnered with a case manager. Together you will explore resources such as job training, government utility bill assistance, food, and credit counseling. Other services are available as well, many by referrals.

This is a leading non-profit agency for low income families, including seniors and the unemployed, in Escambia, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa Counties Florida. Thousands of families use one or more of their services every year. Many others get referrals. When possible, the non-profit Community Action Program Committee will try to help people receive financial help for their emergency expenses, and this includes rent, utility bills, food, and other basic needs.

Most of the funding is part of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). The non-profit has a Community Services Department that has made all possible efforts to reach its goals of serving the less fortunate in the community, who are the agency's main customers. The focus has been on education services, employment, training and other self-sufficiency programs that help customers become productive citizens.

However, the Community Services Department offers short-term, need-based financial assistance as well as long-term assistance to those that qualify. The community action agencies two main goals include both of the following.

  • The agency will help low-income individuals and clients from Okaloosa. Get assistance in achieving self-sufficiency through job training, employment, employment support or economic asset enhancement.
  • Assist working poor individuals and work with them while they achieve their full potential by strengthening their support systems, encouraging independent living, providing emergency assistance and fostering child/family development.

Long-term case management from Family Self-Sufficiency Program will help people work towards self-sufficiency. Services under the FSSP include Credit Counseling, Education, Employment, Small Business Development, Commercial Driver License Applications, Savings from Individual Development Account Program (IDA) and even, in rare cases, Expunge/Sealing of Criminal Record.




Clients of FSS will receive an Individual Self-Sufficiency Plan, or ISSP. Customers of Community Action Program Committee will be evaluated using several criteria including housing needs, health care, their education level, employment, childcare, nutrition and transportation. The result of this will be a plan to help families move from in crisis mode to be able to thrive.

While limited, Community Action Program Committee provides the financial assistance and grants necessary so that clients can improve and/or acquire new vocational skills. Funds can also be used for educational needs. The program helps remove barriers that have prevented low-income people from entering the current, competitive work force. Further needs are addressed by referring consumers to other community resources in Santa Rosa and Escambia Florida.

Educational services are for clients too. They can receive help with GED testing, higher education or trade/vocational education programs. These will increase employability in higher paying jobs and they also help residents get access to employability skills. Clients have the opportunity to participate in the CAPC's Job Readiness Program, which includes job placement efforts in the area, including Santa Rosa County.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program is a Federally funded, income based utility bill program. This is a statewide service, and the phone number to call for applications is 850-983-7200. It may be able to help low-income households meet the costs of home heating bills. It some cases, grants may be offered to pay cooling bills. LIHEAP offer clients much-needed financial assistance.

The standard Home Energy Assistance Program is one component. It helps qualifying households and seniors meet the cost of home energy bills throughout the year. Crisis Assistance in Florida helps eligible households in immediate danger of losing access to crucial home energy. Each household can avail themselves of up to 2 benefit payments during the program year. Community Action Program Committee distributes those benefits.

Lastly is the Weather-Related Conditions Assistance. This can be paid out during a weather-related crisis or emergency as declared by the Department of Economic Opportunity, the current U. S. President or the Governor of Florida.

LIHEAP also offers households valuable information on how they can conserve energy and reduce their overall utility costs. This is offered as part of an energy-conservation educational video and workshops developed by the CAPC.




Head Start and its sister companion, Early Head Start, provide comprehensive, developmental services for low-income pre-school children from birth up to and including age 5. The program also provides support services for their parents.

Community Action Program Committee and the Head Start programs provide snacks, medical assistance, nutritional, educational, social and other development services with the aim of promoting school readiness by improving the social and also the cognitive development of children.

Children will be able to participate in a wide range of educational activities that help them grow. This will cover mental, social, their emotional and physical aspects. In addition to receiving free health and dental care from the state of Florida, they also enjoy healthy meals along with the opportunity to play indoors and outdoors in a safe setting. Parent involvement is key. Social services are provided to them as well.

A Family Advocate helps families enrolled in Head Start to complete a self assessment and establish a written goal plan that is monitored throughout the program year by case managers from the non-profit. The Head Start Center and its headquarters are located in Gibson Florida. Other local Head Start locations in Escambia, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa County include the following. Lincoln Park, Sherwood, Oakcrest, Myrtle Grove, Pine Meadow, Bratt, West Pensacola, Moreno Court, Century, O. J. Semmes, Ferry Pass, Pleasant Grove, Langley, Sid Nelson and others.

Many clients also benefit from Weatherization (WX) Assistance Program. This will reduce the monthly energy burden on low-income and poor households in Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa Florida. It makes their homes more energy efficient. Weatherization provides eligible customers who meet program requirements and are located within CHELCO service areas with free conservation services as well as energy efficient heat pumps. It is for those that meet income limits of 200 % above the national poverty level.




Weatherization can provide for and address air infiltration with weather stripping, free minor repairs to walls, ceiling and floors, caulking of your home, thresholds and window or door replacement. Other benefits include installation of attic ventilation and solar screens, application of solar reflective coating to manufactured homes, and even the repair or replacement of water heaters or furnaces.

These, and other programs, are offered by the Community Action Program Committee. Call or stop by 1380 North Palafox Street, Pensacola, Florida 32501, (phone (850) 438-4021) or the office at 292 Muscogee Road, Cantonment, Florida. Dial (850) 679-4817.


By Jon McNamara

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