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Maine Community Action Programs respond to an increased request for services

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In 2009 Maine’s Community Action Programs (CAPs) supported more than 153,000 individuals from 185 service sites across the state. While the number of residents served may not be a record, families are qualifying for multiple services. “More and more people are reaching out to our agencies and requesting help in more than one area”, says Matt Smith, Executive Director of The Maine Community Action Association (MCAA).

During 2009, Maine’s CAPs assisted 70,000 people with LIHEAP fuel assistance (estimated through June 10), with an average benefit of $861 dollars. More than 1,500 homes were weatherized. Matt Smith believes weatherizing and repairing homes is an investment that should yield long term benefits. “Energy costs will vary from year to year. Making homes more energy efficient will make things easier on families and hopefully decrease the need for those families to seek our assistance with fuel bills in the future. The savings that each family realizes will be spent locally to support other needs such as food and transportation.”

Penquis, the agency that works primarily with residents in Penobscot, Piscataquis and Knox County, provided LIHEAP funding for 11,000 households, they also have the largest number of children enrolled in Head Start Programs. For the year ending May, 31, 2009, Penquis served 603 children in Head Start and 101 children in Early Head Start. State wide over 3800 children are enrolled in Head Start programs.

“What is happening in Community Action Agencies across the is extraordinary. Maine’s agencies are assisting tens of thousands of families in more than one way. Our breadth of services and having many services under one umbrella enables us to respond effectively and efficiently to the very real needs of Maine’s families”, says Smith.

MCAA (www.mainecommunityaction.org) represents Community Action Programs (CAPs) that provide services to low income people in all 16 counties in Maine. Fuel assistance, subsided childcare, Head Start, transportation programs, baby formula and food support through WIC (Women, Infants & Children), and home weatherization are just some of the programs provided through Maine CAPs.

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