Sunday, April 17, 2011

Think Inside the Borders of Community Action Agencies. And Outside Them, Too.

I always compared the hunt for individual financial aid with chasing 10,000 rats down 100,000 ratholes. Something popped up recently to confirm this. I’ve written about community action agencies ( CAA’s) before, and the work they do in home ownership, repair, heating subsidies and so forth. But I always assumed that they provided services strictly within their boundaries. But WSOS, a northwest Ohio CAA that works in Wood, Ottawa, Seneca and Sandusky counties, also has some services in other areas. They have a low-cost loan program for child care centers that covers 10 counties, and a construction pre-apprenticeship program for displaced workers that covers 9 counties. I knew about the day care program, but didn’t know that the pre-apprenticeship program could help my library patrons in Toledo. The diseased ash removal program covers five counties. It goes on and on like this.

Let this be a lesson for all of us: when you are looking for financial help, nose around in institutions within whose boundaries you fall. But look at nearby CAAs, too. They may have received funding to help homeowners, or entrepreneurs, or renters outside their borders.

No comments: