Manatee Community Action Agency assistance programs.

Social services are administered by the Community Action Agency across Manatee, Hardee, and Desoto counties in Florida. The non-profit organization can help those facing poverty and other struggling families with their housing needs, Head Start, low income energy assistance and more.

Case managers from the community action agency will work with qualified, low income clients to address their needs. The goal is to help the individual get on the path to self-sufficiency. So while short term support for needs such as food, housing, or rental assistance may be offered (mostly by referrals) the main objective is on fighting poverty in the region.

Federal government grants from LIHEAP - Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program are used for paying utility and/or air conditioning bills. Services from LIHEAP are provided by Manatee Community Action Agency to assist families, particularly those with the lowest incomes. There is also a focus on senior citizens and families with young children.

The regular part of LIHEAP is a once per year cash benefit. Many utility companies in Florida will give the customer a credit on their account. MCAA can help residents apply for this.

Another option is the crisis component. This is available to prevent a disconnection or pay for the deposits/re-connection of power. Funds are issued to qualified low income families twice per year, during both the summer and winter months. In most cases, the applicant's electric bill must either show a past-due amount or be a final notice of disconnection.

Any grant paid out by Manatee Community Action Agency must resolve the crisis.  Otherwise the applicant will need to pay the difference before any funds are issued to the utility company. The applications for the Crisis component are processed in less time.

Case management and Family Self Sufficiency from Manatee Community Action Agency was designed to support, empower, and guide struggling families towards financial and economic independence. Through a continual relationship with the not for profit Community Action Agency, clients will receive guidance, help, and support. They can set goals, learn about job placement services, receive mentoring, and possible financial support for bills or rent. Referrals to financial assistance is a key component of this, and clients can learn about loan programs or maybe where to turn to for rental or deposit assistance.




The program normally takes multiple years. Another major focus is placed on educational attainment and job skills development while requiring part time employment. The Family Self Sufficiency Program is targeted to those individuals and families in Desoto, Manatee and Hardee that are goal oriented. There is also help provided so families can obtain a better economic existence.

Housing and tenant counseling from Manatee Community Action Agency helps families and individuals maintain stability in their living arrangements. It can deal with both renters and homeowners. It will offer clients a variety of financial services.

Everything offered in intended to help keep families in their homes or apartments. Families can receive information from a certified HUD counselor on eviction prevention, Budget Counseling, Renting, Foreclosure, Homeless Counseling, and get help on Credit issues.

Weatherization delivers energy conservation and efficiency services to low income and working poor households. The program is funded by the United States Department of Energy with the goal of lowering monthly utility bills. Homeowners may qualify for updates to their home including additional attic Insulation, Air Infiltration, free Compact Fluorescent Bulbs, Water Heaters, Heating and Cooling Systems, or even refrigerators.

Head Start from MCAA is available. The agency operates as a state of Florida approved Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten provider. So both Head Start and VPK are free preschool programs designed to prepare children from the region for Kindergarten. It addresses nutrition, health care, educational needs, and will otherwise build the foundation for the child's educational success.

The program operates as a comprehensive childhood development service for children from low income families in Florida that range in age from birth to five. The Manatee Community Action Agency center based programs are designed to foster the development of children as well as their parents, including children with disabilities.





Teachers and case managers focus on the needs of the entire family as part of Head Start. The staff partners with families to achieve self-sufficiency. This will also include involvement from other local charities in the Desoto County or surrounding regions.

Similar to above is Early Head Start. However this component assists children birth to three years old as well as currently pregnant women. MCAA will use the same comprehensive approach, such as health care and nutrition, as Head Start referenced above.

CATCH is for children. It is a speech, language and overall development service for preschool aged children from the region. For qualified students, it will offer them with a free evaluation and therapy session for child care providers and parents. There are sessions held in school as well as at local child care centers. There can also be some home services for people in the region, such as Manatee or Desoto County.

The main locations of Manatee Community Action Agency are below. The case managers of site can also help clients in other ways, such as refer them to government programs or public benefits, such as SNAP food stamps, section 8 housing, and many others. The locations are Hardee County Court House Annex, 412 West Orange Street, Wauchula, Florida 33873, call (941) 827-2887. Or the main office is at 302 Manatee Avenue East, Bradenton, FL 34208. The telephone number is (941) 827-2887.



By Jon McNamara

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