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Our Community Action Agencies offer a variety of services to help move people out of poverty. These services and programs are localized specifically to meet the needs of their communities and to meet people where they are along the continuum from crisis nutrition needs to helping with rent to childcare to helping build credit toward their first home purchase to older adult services and more. Here are some stories that illustrate how community action programs impact clients in their daily lives.
Sarah has spent many sleepless nights in homeless shelters, incarceration and treatment facilities. She knows the challenges of addiction. At a Transitional Housing program she stayed focused on her goals of sobriety and therapy, learning budgeting and obtaining transportation. After graduating her sobriety program, Sarah gained access to affordable housing and transportation. Sarah was able to enroll in college where she is getting top grades while maintaining a living-wage job.
At age 17, Mike was abandoned by his family. Before leaving, they told him he had to be out of the apartment by the end of the month. It was the middle of winter. He turned to his school’s guidance counselor and coach who referred him to Community Action who helped him secure housing, household items, groceries, and health insurance. Community Action also helped him put in an application with a community partner to help with transportation so he could get to school and his job. Mike is now balancing living on his own, his job, playing football and getting good grades!
Food & Nutrition Services
"I do not know what I would have done if it were not for the nutrition program. I get to eat a good meal and I visit with my friends every day. I would have imagined I would have eaten a lot of cheese sandwiches,” stated the 98-year-old participant, who had eaten at the congregate meal site for 32 years.
Energy & Utility Bill Assistance
"Donna," who still lived alone independently in her home, discovered her furnace had a carbon monoxide leak and that it wasn’t safe to use her furnace until it could be fixed. However, she didn’t have the funds on her fixed income to cover the costs. Her local Community Action Agency was able to secure crisis funding to fix her furnace, so she could have safe and consistent heat throughout the winter and stay in her home.
Employment & Education Assistance
Through the YouthBuild Program, Jasmine graduated high school and completed the First Aid/CPR training, and acquired her driver’s license. She was also the Youth Policy Committee Treasurer. Due to her determination, perfect attendance record, and performance in the program, she was promoted to an Intern position while being paid. Her leadership was a great example to her YouthBuild peers and now she is preparing for college.
Childcare & Head Start
“My name is Jamie. Drugs, alcohol, and abuse were all I knew growing up. I would do anything to ensure my children have better childhoods than what I experienced. I enrolled my youngest daughter, Laila, in Head Start to better prepare her for kindergarten. Laila’s Head Start teacher introduced me to the Workforce Development Case Manager that had me enroll in the Certified Nursing Assistant program and now I workas a fulltime CNA. Community Action also helped get myfamily into a home with beds for my kids. I hope to someday be a registered nurse.”
Older Adults & People with Disabilities
“I have been called an angel because I drove them to a doctor or dental appointment, even just shopping because they had no other way to get there. I have gotten more from this program then I can ever pay back. Smiles, or a look of thank you, mean the world to me. I do such a small part in this program, but I get so much.” Marvel is one of the volunteer drivers providing rides through the Transportation Program to people who need rides to appointments or places they can’t get to with a regular bus route.
Financial Asset Building & More
“I am very grateful for all the assistance I’ve received along my journey to financial wellness. The program has taught me the power of choices at an early age and how they impact your financial health in the long term. I’ve learned that change doesn’t happen overnight, but through positivity and perseverance you can achieve your financial goals,” said Nakeda, a single mother, who completed the first-time HomeBuyer’s Workshop and Family Assets for Independence (FAIM), working to improve her credit and qualify for a loan.