COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY



MARC MEULMAN,
DEPUTY DIRECTOR

HIGHWAYS SELF SUFFICIENCY PROGRAM

Highways Self Sufficiency Program is a new program that began in September 2011. The program is designed to assist low income families and individuals in achieving a short term goal(s) by removing barriers so they can meet their basic needs and more. Participants are required to complete a self sufficiency assessment in thirteen categories, attend the Financial Literacy & Energy education class and ongoing case management. The program collaboratively works with New Horizon Village Learning Center and The Community Garden. Clients were referred by Head Start, New Horizon Village Learning Center and  Big Bend apartment complex.

Due to the need for regular and intensive case management:
       The program maintains a  maximum of 20  participants.
       There was a total of 36 applications. 11  - Incomplete, 8 – Terminated , 2 - Over income.

Goal Status:

3 Participants have a goal to attain CNA Certification to find employment in the Health  and home care field. They are enrolled in a CNA program.

4 Participants are working on getting their GED.  Currently taking preparatory classes at Kalamazoo Adult Education  and eventually take all 5 test any time when they are ready. The program provided the GED study guidebook and Practice exam CD.

10 Participants goals are to be certified in Food safety to either start or enhance a food business or gain more employable skills in the food service field. They will be attending  Safe Serve Food Service Program held at New Horizon Village Learning Center.

Head Start Highlights for 2011

  • Collaboratively created the K-zoo Universal Pre-k Application


  • 100% of FA’s received the Family Services Credential  in January 2011


  • 100% compliance on CACFP review


  • 98 % of Dental, Hearing and Vision screening completed


  • 94% of Physical exams completed


  • Aligned KCHS curriculum goals and objectives to the local school districts kindergarten entry expectations.


Weatherization

  • The Community Action Agency’s Weatherization Assistance Program enjoyed a significant capacity expansion with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Historically the program has provided cost-effective conservation measures on about 100 homes per year. During 2011, a total of 385 homes were assisted, 335 with ARRA and 50 with regular Department of Energy funding.


  • Typical services included air sealing to keep out the cold, insulation in attics and walls, and health and safety inspection and repair of the heating system. New Energy Star refrigerators were provided when testing showed electric consumption would exceed the cost; required recycling ensured projected savings. Other federal and State utility funds were also used to expand available services and to provide major repairs, including roof replacement, not allowed under the strict Weatherization guidelines.


  • Through private contractors, the investment in our community included $1.5 million ARRA Weatherization, $344,000 regular DOE, $290,000 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and $179,000 utility funds collected by the Michigan Public Service Commission.


  • Unfortunately, the expansion is temporary; looking forward, funding is expected to be well below even pre-ARRA funding levels, and supplemental sources are disappearing with austerity and deficit reduction in Washington and an adverse court decision regarding MPSC.