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What Is a Community Action Agency? A Helpful Guide

What Is a Community Action Agency? A Helpful Guide

When you first start looking into financial assistance programs, it’s common to ask yourself things like: what is a Community Action Agency? Where can I find my local Community Action Agency? And what services and programs do they provide? Don’t worry: Low Income Relief can help you by providing the answers and resources you need!


What Is a Community Action Agency?

A Community Action Agency, or CAA, is a federally funded local organization. CAAs are meant to help local people organize, become self-sufficient, and address the needs of their community. This is because the local people know who is in their community, what the biggest problems are for the community, and how they would best benefit from financial aid.

CAAs are non-profit organizations that are mostly run by volunteers. There are over 1,000 CAAs in the US and they can be found in every state. You can use this search tool to find a local Community Action Agency near you.

I personally had difficulty finding my local Community Action Agencies using that search tool, even though I know there are some CAAs nearby. If you are having trouble as well, I would suggest going to Google and typing in the phrase “community action agency”, then the name of your city and state. You could also search the name of your county instead of your city.

For example: if you live in Tallahassee, Florida, I would go to Google and type this into the search bar: “community action agency Tallahassee Florida”. If there is a CAA near you, their website should appear in your search.


Who can get help from a Community Action Agency?

Whether you qualify to get help from a Community Action Agency will vary depending on a number of factors, such as:

  • What services and resources your local CAA provides
  • The individual eligibility requirements of those provided services and resources
  • Your household size + total income
  • Your individual situation (age, disability status, parental status, marriage status, etc.)

Your local CAA’s website will likely have details on the services they provide and the eligibility requirements for their services. Their website should also have a section with contact details in case you prefer to email, call, or visit the CAA’s office in person.

By Unsplash user Joel Muniz. After searching what is a community action agency, local low-income people were able to work with CAA volunteers and get the financial aid they need!
By Unsplash user Joel Muniz

How can my local Community Action Agency help me?

How your CAA can help you will vary depending on what programs, services, and resources they provide.

According to the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo’s website, these are some common services that CAAs provide:

  • Head Start programs (for pregnant women, infants, toddlers, and children ages 3-5)
  • LIHEAP, LIHWAP, and Weatherization Assistance Programs (all programs that help low-income families reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient)
  • Meals on Wheels services (free or reduced cost nutritious meals for seniors)
  • Low-income housing development or affordable housing services
  • Summer food programs
  • Medical and legal volunteer help

Your local CAA may have all of these, none of these, or different kinds of services. It’s best to check your local CAA’s website or contact them via email, phone call, or visiting their office to find out what they provide.

What else can Low Income Relief do for me?

If you’d like to learn more about Community Action Agencies, you can read our other article on the topic by clicking here!