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May is Designated Community Action Month in U.S.

York County Community Action Corporation, a member of the Maine Community Action Partnership, is pleased to announce that May is designated Community Action Month in the U.S. YCCAC, with offices in Sanford, Biddeford and Kittery, and program sites scattered throughout York County, is proud to join its “sister” organizations in promoting a broad range of programs and services that help bring stability and independence to so many individuals and families in our state.

Community Action Agencies (CAA) were founded in 1965 as a result of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. Designed initially as a tool to help lift people from poverty and provide the resources to gain financial stability, CAAs have advanced over the past half century to serve people from all economic demographics. YCCAC offers early education programs like Head Start and Early Head Start, nutrition services such as WIC, and administers fuel assistance to York County households through the HEAP program. But YCCAC also offers primary medical care, dental and behavioral health services to all residents through its community health center, Nasson Health Care. YCCAC’s Homebuyer Education program is open to anyone interested in becoming first-time homebuyers, and our WAVE vans transport people to work, school and shopping — with no eligibility requirement.

YCCAC serves the entire community—and no more so than in times of crisis.

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) took hold in mid-April, and businesses shut down, schools closed, and “self-isolation” became a common term, YCCAC also closed its three main offices. But many of its services continued to be delivered , albeit remotely.

Head Start classes went online, so that enrolled children and their families continued to get the support they need. WIC began offering services by phone, arranging for clients to pick up food vouchers, infant formula, and breastfeeding pumps at designated sites outside the WIC program offices, or to deliver the items to families that were homebound or lacking transportation. The Economic Opportunity Department’s Community Outreach workers also began servings York County residents by phone, and HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) clients continued to get assistance—though remotely—by YCCAC Energy Program staff. Homebuyer Education, for the first time ever, went online. Our Transportation program curbed its buses, but continued to provide rides for “essential workers” and for critical needs, such as medical appointments, and at no cost to the riders.

And YCCAC partnered with Maine State Housing to administer the COVID-19 Rent Relief program, which provided a one-time bridge payment of up to $500 for rent until households get the stimulus and unemployment funds they need.

As a member of the Maine Community Action Partnership, YCCAC is proud to join in celebration of the many advances Community Action has made—and continues to make—for the people of Maine. At a time when pandemic has disrupted work, school, travel, even life at home, YCCAC and all Maine Community Action Partners remain strong, reliable, valued resources for those in need.

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