A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action
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Critical Components in Financial Empowerment: An Annotated Guide

This guide, from the Community Action Partnership and Virtual CAP, features resources that have been selected for organizations looking to getting started with financial empowerment initiatives, as well as those seeking ways to strengthen and expand on work already being carried out in this area.

21st Century Community Learning Centers

The Allegheny County Department of Human Services – Office of Community Services sponsors the 21st Century Community Learning Center program to increase children’s school attendance and academic performance and to decrease disciplinary referrals.

Access to Higher Education

Project Discovery assists low-income and potential first generation youth in accessing and preparing for post-secondary education opportunities.

Across Ages Intergenerational Mentoring Program

The Community Action Commission sponsors Across Ages as an intergenerational mentoring program working to increase the protective factors for high risk youth in order to prevent, reduce, or delay the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and the problems associated with such use.

Addiction Services

The Regional Economic Community Action Program established Addiction Services that combines residential and outpatient treatment services to people suffering from alcoholism and substance abuse. Assistance is offered with recovery and involvement in services to promote self-sufficiency.

Adult Day/Health Service Center

Blue Ridge Community Action developed the Adult Day/Health Services Center to help older adults maintain individual dignity, self-worth and a productive life.

Advancing Assets, Opening Opportunities

The Assets Alliance is a capacity-building resource to help organizations expand the number of individuals and families participating in Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and asset-building opportunities.

Affordable Housing and Delaware County Construction Company

The Community Action Agency of Delaware County, Inc. has 16 Affiliate Corporations that provide shelter services to homeless clients, established commercial complexes and completed numerous housing and neighborhood revitalization projects. The Delaware County Construction Corporation serves as a for-profit division of the agency. The construction company is fully licensed and insured to provide both commercial and residential construction services, specializing in ADA modifications/retrofits.

Affordable Housing Initiatives

Three Rivers Community Action, Inc. develops safe, decent and affordable rental and ownership housing in Southeastern Minnesota using a community-based collaborative approach to project planning and financing.

Affordable Medicine Options for Seniors Program

The Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee created the Affordable Medicine Options for Seniors Program to help elderly and disabled residents of Knox County, Tennessee to get assistance they need from Medicare and other prescription drug coverage.

Apartment Licensing Ordinance

The Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley was a leading force with an advocacy campaign to gain broad community support for passage of a local ordinance for licensing of rental apartments.

ARCHES Homeless Services

The Community Action Agency serving Marion and Polk Counties sponsors the ARCHES Project, which provides multiple housing programs and serves as a centralized referral and drop-in day center for people who are experiencing homelessness.

Asset Building Products and Practices Resource Guide

VACAP’s Virginia CASH Campaign has highlighted this resource guide, which offers interested organizations with descriptions of asset building products and practices, information on successful asset building strategies during tax season and additional resources for supporting their work.

Asset Building Strategies for Family Economic Security

The Institute for Social and Economic Development has compiled A Guide for Community Action Agency Executive Leadership that outlines a framework to promote Family Economic Security and provides best practice profiles from CAA’s across the U.S.

Assuring School Readiness

Garrett County Community Action Committee works in partnership with the Garrett County Board of Education to support teachers, children and families in achieving school readiness.

Bridges to Success

Bergen County Community Action Partnership sponsors Bridges to Success to provide former welfare recipients with access to credit and transportation, as well as other services that can help remove barriers to work and self-sufficiency.

Business Development Services

CAP Services has established a broad range of community and economic development efforts to help low-income individuals increase their self-sufficiency and to benefit the communities in which they live.

CAA Best Practices, Award Programs and Success Stories

CAA Best Practice and Award Programs and CAA Success Stories help gain recognition of the positive results of Community Action, assist CAA’s in identifying initiatives that could be replicated, and serve as motivation for additional support and involvement with CAA efforts.

Campus of Services

Fayette County Community Action Agency has developed a Campus of Services as a community development initiative to promote integrated human services in combination with affordable housing.

Cass River Enterprises

The Human Development Commission established Cass River Enterprises to generate revenue for the agency while addressing needs of the general public, as well as enhancing the local economy and improving the lives of area residents.

Center for Employment Training

Total Action for Progress (TAP) established a Center for Employment Training to provide education and skill training needed to enhance an individual’s marketability to enter today’s workforce.

Circles® USA

Circles® has been developed to serve as a national model by the Move the Mountain Leadership Center. South Central Community Action Programs became involved with the initiative as a way to effectively engage the community to end poverty.

Community Action Financial Services

The Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley promotes asset building as an essential mechanism to help low- to moderate-income families move toward self-sufficiency. Protecting those assets, though, is an important part of the strategy, so advocacy against predatory lending practices is undertaken as part of the agency’s Community Action Financial Services division.

Community Dental Clinic

The Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council offers services through the Community Dental Clinic that is committed to relieving suffering, restoring human dignity, and promoting self-sufficiency by providing basic dental care to people in the community who have no other resources available.

Community Health Program

Pittsylvania County Community Action coordinates the Community Health Program to increase awareness about the symptoms and risks of unsafe behaviors.

Community Medical Services

The Fayette County Community Action Agency established Community Medical Services to provide quality, affordable health care to all local residents.

Comprehensive Health Investment Project

The mission of CHIP of Virginia is to improve young children’s heath and promote wellness and self-sufficiency in low-income families, through partnerships with local communities.

Coronado Infant Center

The Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project developed the Coronado Infant Center to enable teen mothers to learn parenting skills and to stay enrolled in school.

Donations Warehouse

The Community Action Agency of Delaware County, Inc. established the Donations Warehouse as a resource for homeless families leaving shelters, fire victims and victims of domestic abuse who are in the process of reestablishing housing.

Downpayment Assistance Program

Northwest CAA administers the Downpayment Assistance Program (1) to promote homeownership among low-income and moderate-income families and (2) to promote job opportunities through economic growth in the county’s manufacturing sector.

Dumas Center for Artistic & Cultural Development

Total Action for Progress (TAP) has developed the Dumas Center for Artistic & Cultural Development as a collaborative of non-profit organizations dedicated to providing area citizens of all races and socio-economic backgrounds – especially youth – with opportunities to gain life enriching appreciation and to develop talent in the visual, cultural, performing and historic arts.

Educational Opportunity Center

The Valley Opportunity Council’s Educational Opportunity Center provides families and individuals the educational tools necessary to succeed.

Upward Bound

The Greater Erie Community Action Committee sponsors the Educational Talent Search and Upward Bound Programs to help low-income students succeed in high school and enter college in order to participate more fully in America’s economic and social life.

Establishing Effective Workforce Development Programs

The Massachusetts Association for Community Action has published a Resource Guide on Establishing Effective Workforce Development Programs to help Community Action Agencies and others in their efforts to assist individuals in moving toward self-sufficiency.

Families Learning Together

The Union-Snyder Community Action Agency established the Families Learning Together Program as a family literacy and self-sufficiency initiative for adults with basic education needs and at least one child in third grade or under.

Family Caregiver Support Program

Big Five Community Services sponsors the Family Caregiver Support Program to provide information and services for persons caring for a family member or loved one with a disability or special health care need.

Family Development and Self-Sufficiency Program

The Department of Human Rights, Division of Community Action Agencies administers Iowa’s Statewide Family Development and Self-Sufficiency Program that provides developmental services to families who are at risk of long-term welfare dependency.

Family Friends

The Social Development Commission established the Family Friends Program that involves older adult volunteers helping homeless families move toward self-sufficiency.

Financial Capability and Asset Development Webinar Recording

This webinar features research and resources to support your work in building financial capability and promoting asset development among participants in your programs. Three tools are also highlighted, which provide data on what it takes to achieve family economic security in your local community.

Foreclosure Assistance Resources

Prevention of mortgage foreclosure promotes ROMA National Goal #1: Low-Income People Become More Self-Sufficient by assisting low-income families to maintain home ownership.

Free to Grow

The Human Resources Agency of New Britain, Inc. is part of the Free to Grow national demonstration program that brings together broad-based community partners to support locally tailored, integrated approaches to strengthening families and communities. Free to Grow is implemented through Head Start and works to enhance protective factors and decrease risk factors in both the family and the community to serve as a buffer against substance abuse and child abuse.

Giffen Transitional Housing

The Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County established Giffen House to provide affordable transitional housing and support services for single mothers with children and single women.

Grassroots Prevention Coalition

Community Action of Southern Indiana coordinates the Grassroots Prevention Coalition to reduce youth alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse.

HCA Emergency Financial Assistance Fund

The Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County administers the HCA Emergency Financial Assistance Fund to provide one-time emergency financial assistance to prevent homelessness.

Heating Oil Purchasing Initiative

Regional Economic Community Action Program administered the Heating Oil Purchasing Initiative Program (HOPI), which provided discounted pricing for heating oil to families at 80% or lower of the State median income (i.e. $47,808 for a family of 4 in 2002).

Hispanic Mentoring Program

Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority established the Hispanic Mentoring Program to help students succeed in school and reach their potential to live successful adult lives.

Home Furnishings Program

Springfield Partners for Community Action established the Home Furnishings Program to help homeless families make the transition into permanent housing.

Home Injury Control Program for Older Adults

The Oakland-Livingston Human Service Agency established the Home Injury Control Program for Older Adults to help the elderly and disabled adults avoid preventable injuries by maintaining a comfortable and safe living environment.

Homeless Veterans Transitional Housing

The Commission on Economic Opportunity established a transitional housing program to help homeless veterans address their personal problems while developing the necessary skills to be self-sufficient and productive members of society.

HomePLUS Support Services for Independent Living

The Greater Erie Community Action Committee administers the HomePLUS Program to assist public housing residents maintain their quality of life in a safe and affordable independent home setting.

Housing and Community Facility Development

Garrett County Community Action Committee has developed extensive affordable housing ventures, as well as community and commercial facilities, to improve the quality of life for County residents. GCCAC is also supporting small local towns in creating and implementing strategies for revitalizing business districts and neighborhoods.

Housing Development Services

TREHAB established Housing Development Services to offer a continuum of programs that provide affordable, decent, safe and innovative housing for low-moderate income people.

How To Manuals: Community Economic Development

The Center for Community Economic Development Assistance is a centralized national resource center for nonprofit organizations engaged in community economic development. Seventeen How To Manuals have been published in partnership with the Community Action Partnership National Office.

Immigrant Advocacy

New Opportunities, Inc. established the Immigrant Advocacy Center to assist the growing population of immigrants with their efforts to gain legal status or citizenship.

Incentive Program

Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties (formerly Lincoln Action Program) established the Incentive Program to help motivate and reward families participating in self-sufficiency activities.

Joint Coalition on Health

The Joint Coalition on Health is a group of committed individuals and organizations working collaboratively as catalysts for change and advocates for the underserved to improve the health and well-being of everyone in North Central Massachusetts.

KIDS DAY and Champions of Character

Springfield Partners for Community Action sponsors KIDS DAY as a day of entertainment, educational information and fun experiences for preschool and school-aged children and their families. Proceeds from the event support the Champions of Character and Springfield Partners’ Scholarship Programs.

Kindergarten Club

Community Action Southwest established the Kindergarten Club to increase school readiness and school success for children entering kindergarten.

Landlord-Tenant Mediation Program

The Salt Lake Community Action Program coordinates the Landlord-Tenant Mediation Program to help parties involved in eviction proceedings in settling their dispute cooperatively prior to appearing before a judge.

Lease-To-Own Housing

Blue Valley Community Action’s Lease-to-Own housing program enables families to rent a new home with the option to purchase after a compliance period.

Life Works Program

Community Action Opportunities established the Life Works Program to help low-income individuals and families develop the skills and income they need to rise above federal poverty guidelines.

Medication Assistance Program

Community Action of Southeast Iowa has developed the Medication Assistance Program to help persons with chronic health conditions gain access to prescription drugs that they otherwise could not afford.

Mentoring Program Resources

Mentoring is an element of ROMA National Goal 1: Low-Income People Become More Self-Sufficient as reflected in benefits to mentors, in addition to a growing number of studies that have revealed significant associations between youth’s involvement in mentoring relationships and positive developmental outcomes.

Micro-Enterprise Resource Center

The Montgomery County Community Action Development Commission established the Micro-Enterprise Resource Center to provide entrepreneurial training to individuals interested in starting or expanding a business.

Mutual Self-Help Housing Program

The Mutual Self-Help Housing Program expands affordable homeownership opportunities and also helps develop bonds of community and provides children with positive aspirations for their future.

Neighborhood Revitalization and Homebuyer Resource Center

Westmoreland Community Action developed the Neighborhood Revitalization Program to acquire and rehabilitate older housing stock to rebuild distressed neighborhoods and to expand the availability of safe, decent and affordable housing through the agency’s Homebuyer Resource Center.

Nurse-Family Partnership

The Fayette County Community Action Agency serves as a site for the Nurse-Family Partnership to help low-income first-time mothers achieve positive outcomes for themselves, their baby, and their family.

Parenting Programs

Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska created several parenting programs aimed toward preventing abuse and strengthening families.

Parents Are Teachers, Too

Penquis Community Action Program sponsors the Parents Are Teachers, Too program to provide information, encouragement and support to first-time parents and teen parents in order to help them give their children the best possible start.

Partnership Park Neighborhood Revitalization Project

The Community Action Agency serving Jackson, Lenawee, and Hillsdale Counties works closely with various partners on the Partnership Park Neighborhood Revitalization Project to increase the standard of living for neighborhood residents.

Peninsula Community Development Corporation

The Office of Human Affairs established the Peninsula Community Development Corporation to help low and moderate income families become first-time homebuyers by building and rehabilitating quality affordable and energy efficient houses in their neighborhood.

People Incorporated Financial Services

People, Inc. developed People Incorporated Financial Services to provide training, technical assistance and business loans to new and existing small businesses. A tourism development loan fund is managed for the Ninth District Development Financing Incorporated.

Prescription Assistance Service/Rx for Oklahoma

Five CAAs in Oklahoma operate the Prescription Assistance Service program to help eligible individuals obtain free or discounted prescription medications directly from the manufacturer.

Project Home Mission

Mid-Iowa Community Action established Project Home Mission to promote partnerships with area churches throughout Central Iowa to help low-income families become self-sufficient through both Project Home Mission and the Family Development and Self-Sufficiency Program.

Project Recovery

Total Action for Progress established Project Recovery as a dropout retrieval program to foster completion of high school or participation in remedial alternative education, job-related learning and/or employment.

Public Awareness and Advocacy

The Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley regularly conducts research on poverty-related issues to promote public awareness that will lead to subsequent policy and programmatic responses.

Reading for Jobs

People Incorporated developed the Reading for Jobs Program to provide at-risk youth with individualized instruction to improve academic performance and to promote job readiness through pre-employment skills training.

ReHarvest Center

The Metropolitan Development Council (MDC) has established the ReHarvest Center to provide training and employment opportunities for low-income individuals in deconstruction/construction trades and to offer a resale center for used building materials.

Rural Family Economic Success

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has developed Rural Family Economic Success to help rural families increase their income, stabilize their financial lives, and acquire assets and build wealth.

Serious and Violent Offenders Program

Audubon Area Community Services established the Serious and Violent Offenders Program to promote successful re-entry and reduced recidivism among youth offenders at higher risk of re-offending.

SHAPEDOWN Program

Lake Community Action Agency established the SHAPEDOWN Program to promote health and wellness among low-income children and their families.

Silent Partners Program

The Community Action Partnership of Mercer County developed the Silent Partners Program as a method to build a pool of funds to resolve family needs that cannot be addressed by other resources.

Skills Enhancement Program

CAP Services developed the Skills Enhancement Program that promotes increased family self-sufficiency by supporting career advancement through training and education opportunities. State and federal funding has enabled expansion of the program to eleven other CAAs in Wisconsin.

Story County Dental Clinic

Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) established the Story County Dental Clinic to make oral health care accessible for uninsured and underinsured area residents.

Substance Abuse Prevention

The Greater Erie Community Action Committee carries out extensive Substance Abuse Prevention activities to assist in the reduction of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use, abuse and addiction and associated consequences.

SUREHIRE Program

OIC of Clark County developed the SUREHIRE Employment Services Program to assist job seekers with employment search and to offer applicant pre-screening services for area employers.