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Programs from Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency.

Operating across multiple counties, the Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency is one of the leading hunger fighting organizations in the region. The non-profit will offer solutions such as Emergency Food Assistance Program or housing assistance as part of Rent Smart. The organization is also focused on combating poverty in Wisconsin.

The center serves as an Emergency Food Organization for residents in both Racine and Kenosha Counties. As part of this commitment, RKCAA provides income qualified residents with surplus state of Wisconsin commodity foods. This is available through the federally funded TEFAP - Emergency Food Assistance Program and also the USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

These services supplement the diets of low-income individuals, families, and the elderly. They also are part of the pantry system in Racine. This works by providing them with emergency food, plus nutrition-related information and assistance. As surplus commodities become available, they are distributed to meal sites, local shelters, food pantries, or other agencies that then distribute them to eligible households in the form of food packages or prepared meals.

Those in need of this type of service may contact their local pantries directly. Also, Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency staff can offer guidance, or call the Salvation Army at 262-632-3147. Numerous resources can be reviewed.

Women and children that are struggling have options as well. RKCAA can provide information on Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC. This is a free food and nutrition program for pregnant women, infants, single moms, and children under five years of age. The goal is to keep low-income women and children healthy and strong.

It works by providing them with free nutritious food or formula.  There is also information that enables clients to make healthy choices in relation to food for themselves and for their children. This can even help clients budget to stretch their food bills each month. Participants are given checks from Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency that can be used solely for the purchase of approved vegetables or fruits. They are used at local grocery stores.




In addition, to all of that, the federal funded WIC program supplies Milk, 100-Percent Juice, Cereal, Medical Foods fr children and women with special needs, Infant Formula, Cereal, Peanut Butter, and related items. A wide variety of items are distributed.

RKCAA helps the homeless, or people simply sleeping on the street. The non-profit will consider someone to be homeless if they are in a shelter or are in a different place every night. Or people in transitional housing or long term in motels may be qualified as well.

Social workers from Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency explore all solutions. For example, they know that many people who lack housing also lack transportation, so staff throughout the region to find them where they may be living. Staff will offer support. This is done by them making connections with appropriate services provided by members of the network of agencies. Assistance can range from funds for security deposits to health care, mental health services, drug and alcohol abuse treatment, or transitional housing.

The Rent Smart tenant education program provides information to both current tenants and people seeking to rent a home or apartment. Those who enroll will be able to benefit from a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on obstacles that are often faced in finding stable housing.

Some examples of circumstances that RKCAA deals with may stem from landlords’ perception of past tenancy in public housing as a stigma; poor rental or credit history; or other issues that cause potential landlords to view the tenant as high-risk. Rent Smart emphasizes the importance of increasing financial knowledge as a foundation for stability. This can lead to financial success and self-sufficiency.

Weatherization Services, combined with grants for heating bills from WHEAP, can assist eligible households with heating bills. It will increase the energy efficiency of their homes and lower their energy bills by adding measures that make the homes more comfortable as well as safer to live in. The end result may even be that the client has more money to put toward other expenses.





The energy conservation service targets older homes. There is also priority for residences with children as part of the household and also for seniors or the disabled. Once a home is accepted into the Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency program, an energy auditor performs an assessment and determines which services are appropriate. The agency may arrange for Health and Safety Inspection, resources to Reduce Air Leakage, Insulation of Attic and Sidewalls, Repair or Replace Furnace, and also free Information about Maintenance and Energy Conservation.

Income tax advice and assistance is part of VITA. RKCAA hosts this service, which is formally known as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. It is a free service that provides low-income area residents with fast, and accurate state of Wisconsin and federal tax return preparation. It also provides electronic filing for clients, and all this is done by IRS-Certified Volunteer Preparers.

Holiday Food Baskets are also available. They run this program at Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, the service is available as a joint effort between the City of Racine as well as County. Volunteers are also offered by a number of area labor and civic groups, schools, churches and businesses.

The Racine/Kenosha Community Action Agency Central Office is at 2113 N. Wisconsin St., Racine, WI 53402. Call 262-637-8377. Other site is at Kenosha Office, 2000 63rd St., Kenosha, Wisconsin 53143, and the phone number is 262-657-0840.



By Jon McNamara











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