Mountain Community Action Agency Assistance Programs.

Applications for public aid, such as food stamps, and direct financial support is provided by Mountain Community Action Program. The non-profit organization is one of the leading poverty fighting groups in the counties of Smyth, Bland and Wythe in Virginia. Case managers partner with low income families to help them overcome any hardship they are facing.

Staff from the agency, known as Mt. CAP, can assist with the application process for the Women, Infants and Children Program, or WIC. This is a federally-funded health and nutrition education service for low income females. It will support those that are pregnant or postpartum women; infants; and children up to age five.

Free WIC vouchers are redeemable at most grocery stores, such as Kroger and even Wal-Mart, to pay for supplemental foods. It covers fruits, fresh vegetables, milk, infant food, baby formula, iron fortified cereals, 100 percent juice, and more. Other services from WIC and Mountain Community Action include one-on-one nutrition assessment, counseling, information and support. They also offer referrals to health care in Smyth or Bland as well as other needed community services, all at no charge.

Homeless Service and rental assistance programs help homeless individuals and families keep their current housing. Or the community action agency can help people find a new, more stable home to live in.

Services include assistance in meeting basic needs, outreach, access to emergency homeless shelters, financial aid, cash grants, counseling, and referrals to appropriate resources, as needed. There is also the following.

  • Eviction Prevention from Mountain Community Action is for qualifying tenants. They can receive financial assistance with paying for back rent. Or loans can be used to help with security deposits, utility deposits, and overdue energy bills.
  • Housing Crisis is a resource for for at-risk, low income residents. The non-profit will help them remain in their current housing or find a new home in Wythe or Bland County. It works by providing counseling and financial assistance.
  • Mt. CAP Shelter is for homeless families with one-night emergency stays at local motels, or three nights over a weekend. At the end of that, there will be a meeting the following business day with a caseworker at the Center.




  • Transitional Housing is for scattered-site supportive housing for homeless individuals and families. There is also support for veterans, single moms, and children. It is used for the purpose of moving them toward self sufficiency by identifying and removing barriers and developing plans for financial stability.

The state of Virginia Energy Assistance Program provides several types of assistance to low-income households. Mountain Community Action will support those who are having difficulty with managing the costs of heating fuels such as coal, gas, oil, or electricity, wood on a seasonal basis. Individual programs include Fuel Assistance for help with heating costs. Cooling bill or air conditioning assistance is for times of extreme heat. Or families can apply for Crisis Assistance or the free Weatherization program, which is for the installation of energy-efficient measures and elimination of air leaks for low-income households.

The Food Stamp program, as well as the other service offered known as Employment and Training, provides vouchers to use to pay for groceries. The training portion offers job search and employment services and support for low-income individuals who are working toward the goal of gaining self-sufficiency and eliminating dependency on public assistance. FSET participants are typically without dependents and ineligible for cash assistance.

Mountain Community Action Program Self-Sufficiency Classes are available to those who are homeless and those who are at risk of becoming so. This is accomplished through the provision of practical, educational, and inspirational guidance and support to the family. Clients can also apply for the eviction help indicated above, or other support such as section 8 housing vouchers. All of this is combined with developing a life plan.




Head Start and Early Head Start from the non-profit provide educational and developmental programming in Smyth, Bland and Wythe. The teachers from Mt. Cap will also support and get young children for success, both in a Virginia school and in their lives outside of school.

Using a curriculum that is tailored to each child’s individual needs and stage of development, including those of children with special needs, Head Start instructors encourage and nurture each child’s long term development. Both center-based and home-based programs are available from Mountain Community Action partners. Note that Early Head Start serves pregnant women and children from birth to age three, while Head start is for children under the age of 6.

For more details, call 276-783-7337. Mountain Community Action Program is based in Marion, Virginia 24354.


By Jon McNamara

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