Find help from Cortland County Community Action.

When facing some type of difficulty, the Cortland County Community Action Program may offer resources for qualified low income families. The non-profit administers government resources, such as Head Start and LIHEAP. They can also provide residents with basic needs such as clothing and food. More details on their programs are below.

Free energy saving measures through WAP, or Weatherization Assistance Program, includes maintenance of hot water tank systems, tune up or repair of heating systems and extra insulation. It also includes activities such as air sealing, inspection of combustion appliances, testing the efficiency of refrigerators, installing smoke detectors and conducting free health and safety checks. There are different income guidelines and eligibility requirements.

For those that qualify, the WAP Program takes care of the insulation of floors, extra covering in the attics and walls. It helps in the repair or replacement of heating systems and hot water tanks. Contractors from the agency help in the reduction of drafts by checking air sealing through caulking and weather stripping.

Hot Water Tank Replacement from CAPCO helps in the replacement of hot water tank systems and repairs of them when necessary. The eligibility criteria include the families who are Red Cross or Project Share recipients, they need to live in Cortland, all HEAP eligible households and NYSEG customers, besides being the WAP clients.

A third energy resource in the county is EmPower New York. This program educates people and families of all incomes on the electrical reduction measures for refrigerators. It takes care of the replacement of inefficient refrigerators and/or freezers as well. It also involves maintaining compact fluorescent light bulbs, insulation of pipes and hot water tank wraps as needed and shower aerators.

Basic needs from the Family Essentials Program from the Cortland County Community Action Program provides toiletries, free clothing and other household items. These goods are passed out free of cost if families are going through some form of crisis or financial hardship.




Head Start from Cortland County Community Action is a pre-school program for children under the age of 6 and it is provided free of cost to eligible families. There are special services for children and infants who suffer with disabilities. Access is provided to free dental and medical care also. The program works to foster economic and social growth among small children.

The Early Head Start chapter of the Program is for low-income families who have infants, toddlers and it can also assist pregnant women in Cortland County. The CAPCO and government funded program caters to prenatal outcome and improves the development of children from the infancy stage for health family functions. The program is divided into Home Based activities and Center, or school, based activities.

The Home Based activities will support pregnant women and infants. Low income qualified pregnant women who live in Cortland will be visited in their homes from a Home Visitor once a week. The Community Action Agency coordinates this. Services will provide them access to prenatal health care, education and education on breastfeeding.

The staff members or teachers working for this Early Head Start program can customize the program to serve expectant parents and meet their individual family needs during the prenatal period. The parents will also have to attend a support group once every fortnight with other expectant parents. This can cover job training, educational activities, and other social services.

The Center Based activities serve toddlers and infants up until three years of age. This is done in classrooms which are situated throughout the Cortland County New York community. The classroom is staffed with teachers, social workers and a Family Advocate.

The children are served free nutritious meals at this Center. There is a curriculum known as High Scope Infant Toddler which customizes to meet the physical, intellectual and overall emotional needs of every child. The Family Advocate will also visit each family once a month to build a plan supported by the identification by the parents of family goals, short term needs and resources.

WIC is a free food and nutrition education program for women, infants and children to the age of five and CAPCO has information on it. The resource, known as Women, Infants and Children, provides vouchers for nutritious foods, formula, and referrals to local health care facilities.

This is a federally government funded supplemental food and nutrition program. It includes women from Cortland who are pregnant or have been. Clinics have been set up where the participants received both training and education on nutrition. At these sites they will be issued a set of checks covering certain foods for that particular month. These checks can be redeemed at the local grocery stores, even Wegmans, which are exclusively contracted to accept the WIC checks.





A huge benefit of WIC is that it helps the families stretch their food budget. Cortland Community Action works to provide some of the groceries and meals that are required every day to maintain good health. A nutritionist at the clinics helps plan out healthy meals for the eligible family and advises them on infant feeding, the special diet needs of children and other food needs for women.

Babies and infants who have special medical diagnosis get a special formula as part of WIC. Some of the foods that are provided for eligible children and women include eggs, milk, cheese, juice, canned fish, fruits and vegetables, brown rice, diary items, whole grain breads, tortillas, canned or dried beans or peanut butter.

Credit counseling from Cortland Community Action

The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, CDPAP, gives the residents of the non-profit an opportunity to live independently in the community. It helps the consumers in taking an active part in planning their home care activities. Cortland County Community Action Program offers this as a long term home care program that allows the recipients to receive personal assistance services free of cost unlike the formal health care environments. The consumers who are able to enroll can expect a wide range of services and support from their Personal Assistant. Examples of these activities can include personal care services, basic housekeeping and high level nursing care.

Case management - Family Development Program works with people in the community to provide resources in maintaining healthy families. A focus is provided on the development of assets that include debt reduction, budgeting, and fiscal literacy. It also provides clients with education and support to eligible parents by means of the Parents with Hope groups where life skills and family essentials are discussed.




Fiscal literacy workshops cover all those resources that lead to employment, motivate economic growth and lays solid foundation for families. The resources involve information on budgeting, being aware of credit cards and how it can be used and the development of other resources.

An important resource that is part of this is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. This is collaboration between the non-profit Cortland County Community Action Program, staff at the Cornell Cooperative Extension and other partners in Cortland. It provides free income tax preparation services and e-filing for families who cannot afford paid tax preparers on their own. You will also be entitled to EITC or valuable tax credits.

The Community Center is located at 32 North Main Street, Cortland, New York 1304-2698. The telephone contact details are 607-753-6781.

By Jon McNamara

“Related Links” are listed below.




Contact Us

About Us


Privacy policy