Community Action Association News Update
Community Action Association News Update
CAAP News Update
Bucks County Opportunity Council Celebrates National Weatherization Day
To celebrate National Weatherization Day, Bucks County Opportunity Council shared the story of Shannon and her family. Shannon's family bought their dream home right before the 2008 recession. The economic downturn greatly affected the income her husband, who was in food service, brought home to the family. The family also unexpectedly increased in size from 3 to 5, with the two youngest children being 13 months apart. Shannon stopped working after the youngest was born because, after childcare expenses, she was not bringing home any income. The family came close to losing their home, but they were able to refinance. The new loan terms were not favorable, but they felt they had no choice. On top of it all, their heating bills were astronomical. Shannon and her husband did whatever they could to ensure the family could stay warm through the night.
In the fall of 2014, Shannon’s family was notified that they qualified to have their home retrofitted with energy-saving measures for free through the Bucks County Opportunity Council’s weatherization program. Not sure what kind of impact it would have, Shannon said, “I was not quite sure what to expect this winter with the work completed in my home, but as soon as the temperature dropped I was amazed with how much warmer my house seemed to be. My husband and I were thinking that the warmer feeling was all in our heads. But now that the winter is over, I can say WOW, what a difference this program made to us. Before this program, we had to use electric heaters in all of our bedrooms. This year due to all the attic work that was completed we only had to use one heater in the babies’ room. Next year this electric heater will not be needed at all because they will be old enough for blankets in their cribs. As well as not needing the heaters, our use and cost of pellets for the stove has decreased and became more efficient because the heat is actually staying in our house. To top it all off, I just received a letter from our electric company letting us know that our monthly budget has decreased by $50 effective immediately! This is 2 boxes of diapers for us! Thank you again for this opportunity, and know I am extremely grateful!
Pennsylvania 2-1-1
Nonprofit human service programs like Community Action and various government agencies provide excellent programs to support people in need. One of the challenges, however, is that people who need these programs are often unaware that programs are available. One solution to this problem is called Pennsylvania 2-1-1. Pennsylvania residents can dial 2-1-1, and they will be connected with an operator who has access to a database of health and human services available in your local communities.
2-1-1 is like 4-1-1 but for health, human services, and disaster relief.  2-1-1 was designated for nationwide use as an information and referral phone line by the Federal Communications Commission in 2000. Since then, 2-1-1 has been spreading, state-by-state, throughout the United States. It is available in all 50 U.S. States and is now accessed equally by web and phone, with other mobile applications on the way. The 2-1-1 system is funded by a combination of United Way support, grants, private contributions, and contracts. In Pennsylvania, the United Way of Pennsylvania and the non-profit, PA 2-1-1, are partners supporting this community-strengthening service. 
Through 2-1-1, people connect to a wide range of services from disaster relief to utility assistance, senior citizen programs, emergency food, job counseling, youth programs, and much more. Six regional 2-1-1 independent centers operate through contracts with the PA 2-1-1, covering about 85% of the state’s population. CLICK HERE for a map of PA 2-1-1 regions and contact phone numbers.
For more information, contact: 
Kristen Rotz, President, United Way of Pennsylvania - (717) 238-7365 or 
United Way Survey Results
In late October, the United Way of Pennsylvania (UWP) released its budget impasse survey results. This survey represents 282 organizations who serve more than 200,000 Pennsylvanians normally funded by state or federal dollars. Organizations responded to the survey between September 28 through October 11, 2015. The following are a few highlights from UWP’s survey:

  • 47 organizations report they have laid off or furloughed staff, reduced hours, and/or reduced staff benefits (1200 nonprofit sector employees)
  • 30% have reduced services or implemented waiting lists for new clients
  • 73% of respondents are now utilizing their reserves
  • Nearly 60% are accessing lines of credit
  • 67 organizations estimate that they are carrying about $3.5 million in interest costs
  • 42% of respondents are not able to access additional lines of credit
CLICK HERE to read the full survey results.
Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA)
Three new VISTA candidates, Jordyn Wagner, Monica Zourides, and Bonnie Northeimer, will be attending Pre Service Orientation (PSO) in Boston, MA on November 17-20, 2015. Once these candidates have successfully completed their PSO and are sworn in, they will be starting their service with CAP Mercer, Berwick Area United Way, and CASA of Lancaster County.
Erica Bolthouse, serving with the Susquehanna County Interfaith, helped with a Back to School shoe drive that raised $24,000 and helped 510 children get new shoes and backpacks for school.
2016-17 VISTA project selection process has started. Agencies and partners who are interested in sponsoring a VISTA, please contact Deb Fontaine at
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The LIHEAP season has begun. There are three different ways Pennsylvania residents can apply for LIHEAP: online, on paper, or in person.
1. Residents can apply for the LIHEAP benefits online by using COMPASS.
2. Residents can download an application for LIHEAP benefits by clicking on the links below and return it to your local county assistance office.  
3. File an application at your local county assistance office
For more information, please contact the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095, Monday through Friday (individuals with hearing impairments may call the TDD number at 1-800-451-5886).
Over the summer the Department of Human Services offered the new “Turn On Program”. DHS worked with regulated utilities who received LIHEAP grants this year to provide an additional crisis grant assistance to eligible households. The program is funded from last season’s leftover LIHEAP funding - $2.2 million. To qualify, residents must be LIHEAP Cash and Crisis recipients from a PA Public Utility Commission regulated utility. The first round of awards began at the end of September 2016 which issued 9,105 grants to eligible households for a total of $1.821 million. Last week DHS announced it will award a second round of Turn On Program funding which will impact 5,479 households for a total of $1,379,126. The total impact will be well over 14,000 Pennsylvania households receiving assistance in restoring services or preventing utility termination. Receipt of this additional crisis grant will not impact regular crisis eligibility for the 2015-2016 LIHEAP year.
Don't forget your SSA and DSA Nominations!
Completing your Self-Sufficiency Award (SSA) and Distinguished Service Award (DSA) nomination applications is much easier now that CAAP has a new website. The deadline to complete your award nomination applications is November 25, 2015. You can download all the necessary forms from CAAP's website, complete the forms, save them to your computer, and upload the forms right to the online application page. No more emailing or faxing individual files. No more mailing your application to CAAP's office. 
  • CLICK HERE to view and submit your nomination for a Self-Sufficiency Award
  • CLICK HERE to view and submit your nomination for a Distinguished Service Award
  • CLICK HERE to view and submit a Workshop Presenter application
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