Community Action Council assists many in need

July 19, 2011
  • Community Action Council's transportation program provides a coordinated human service transportation program for the elderly, people with low incomes and individuals with disabilities.
File photo

Washington County Community Action Council Inc. was created in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. CAC is the designated Community Action Agency for Washington County, Maryland.

Washington County Community Action Council Inc. provides encouragement, guidance and assistance to the people of our community in the mobilization of resources to combat poverty.

The council’s goal is to assist individuals and households with their financial struggles while increasing their capacity to manage on their own without the need of further assistance.

The core values of CAC are dignity, compassion, honesty, trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, accountability, consistency and being non-judgmental.

The agency’s goal is reached through a variety of services, ranging from crisis intervention to the realization of home ownership.

CAC’s 45 years of experience in providing services to individuals and families with low incomes has provided the expertise necessary to operate over 40 successful programs.

The agency’s structure consists of five service-related components that provide a continuum of services: community resources, case management, housing services, transportation and administration.

Community resources

Crisis intervention

The first step in receiving emergency assistance is making an appointment to meet with a community resource specialist. Appointments are made on a same-day, first-come, first-served basis. The specialist can provide information and referrals to community programs, emergency food and financial assistance.

Energy programs

The Maryland Energy Assistance Program provides a yearly grant during the heating season for eligible households. Paid directly to the household’s heating vendor (gas, electric or oil), the program eases the burden of energy costs.

The Electric Universal Services Program assists eligible households with electric costs through a monthly credit on their statement.

Case management

Supportive housing program

The supportive housing program is available for single, homeless and disabled individuals who have income or have resided in Washington County for six months. The residents receive intensive case management, a rental subsidy and permanent affordable housing.

Transitional housing

CAC’s five transitional housing units provide temporary housing for homeless families. While in transitional housing, the family works on goals and objectives to increase income and locate permanent housing.

Rental allowance program

Households in crisis (homeless or at risk of homelessness) may be eligible for the rental allowance program. The program provides rental subsidies for six to 12 months, based on family size and level of income.

Placement housing counseling

The placement housing counselor works with families in transition from homelessness to permanent housing. The family receives housing information and referrals, housing search and placement assistance, and follow-up services for one year.

Service-linked housing

The service-linked housing case manager provides holistic case management. In addition to regular budget reviews, the case manager guides the families toward self-sufficiency and their future ability to afford housing in the private sector.

Community housing counseling

Clients may receive prepurchase counseling, mortgage-default counseling and landlord/tenant mediation. The housing counselor assists the customer to remain in their existing home or to move to a better housing situation. Housing counseling services are also available for landlords.

Family self-sufficiency

Families residing in county Section 8 and public housing are eligible for the family self-sufficiency program. As they work with the case manager to increase their level of self-sufficiency, the families have the opportunity to save money that will allow them to purchase a home or automobile upon graduation from the program.

Affordable rental housing program

CAC rehabilitates properties, enabling them to be rented to low-income households at affordable rents. A requirement of this program is participation in case management.

Housing services

First-time homebuyers

The housing specialist guides interested families or individuals through the steps to becoming a homeowner, including budget counseling, affordability analysis and assistance in obtaining a down payment.

Housing rehabilitation loan program

The Housing rehabilitation loan program is designed to help eligible homeowners make needed health and safety-related repairs to their homes. Qualifying homeowners must be income-eligible and live outside Hagerstown city limits.

Weatherization program

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) provides energy-saving improvements for an eligible household. The participating household must be certified as eligible. The improvements will air-seal the dwelling and perform repairs to the heating system, thereby reducing heating and cooling costs.


The transportation program provides a coordinated human service transportation program for the elderly, people with low incomes and individuals with disabilities.  The program includes disability transportation and transit to and from eligible medical appointments outside of services provided by the county’s para-transit program.

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