Mission: The mission of the community action committee of the lehigh valley is to improve the quality of life in the lehigh valley by building a community in which all people have access to economic opportunity, the ability to pursue that opportunity and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.
Programs: Second harvest food bank of lehigh valley and northeast pennsylvania distributed 8. 4 million pounds of food to a network of more than 200 nonprofit organizations (including shelters, soup kitchens and pantries) across a six-county region that includes carbon, lehigh, monroe, northampton, pike and wayne counties, complementing their efforts to provide food assistance to more than 60,000 individuals each month. More than 51,000 individuals received food through the emergency pantry network alone, with the rest being distributed through non-emergency food providers such as daycare centers serving low-income families, afterschool programs that serve at-risk youth, residential programs and rehabilitation centers that serve people with behavioral health challenges. Solicited and distributed 2,202,051 pounds (included in the total above) of perishable product from local growers, including 710,550 pounds of fresh produce to improve participants' access to fresh food. Distributed 30,120 sunshine ("serving under-nourished seniors") supplemental food packages to low-income seniors, children at the age of five and younger and new mothers, which was made possible by the federally-funded commodities supplemental food program. Distributed nutritious weekend food supplies to 512 at-risk, school-age children every friday through the backpack buddies program in partnership with member agencies that run established after-school programs, including the easton area community center, the salvation army in easton and allentown, the slater family network, lincoln elementary school, the boys and girls clubs in allentown and bethlehem, the wilson lincs family center, colonial academy of wind gap, the lehigh county conference of churches aspires program and casa guadalupe. Two new sites were opened in northampton county. Assisted 493 households in completing supplemental nutrition assistance program (snap) applications and provided assistance with bureaucratic procedures in the application process to 1,078 additional households. Conducted 32 cooking matters classes, a course that teaches cooking, nutrition and budgeting skills to low-income families and seniors; 360 participants completed the classes at locations throughout lehigh and northampton counties.
weatherization weatherized 1,027 homes (655 funded by ppl, 18 by the low-income home energy assistance program, 24 by the u. S. Department of energy through the pennsylvania department of community and economic development (dced), 316 by firstenergy and 14 by ugi). This work included residence-specific pressure diagnostics, insulating attics and basements, caulking, weather- stripping, repairing doors and windows and replacing household appliances and, in some instances, repairing and replacing damaged heating systems. Provided educational materials to all 1,027 households whose homes were weatherized that included tips on how to save energy in their homes and information on insulation, electrical safety and other assistance programs. Repaired and/or replaced 231 heating systems in crisis situations through the low-income home energy assistance program administered by dced.
sixth street shelter/ turner street apartments/ ferry street apartments provided 26,917 nights of short-term transitional housing and case management to 96 homeless families with 246 children, 122 of whom were age five and under. Of the 96 families that completed the program, 68 (70%) moved into stable housing. (this is a decline over the previous year because one of our residents accidentally set off the sprinkler system, causing damage that took four months to repair. ) provided support that enabled all 38 families that entered the shelter through the family preservation program, funded by the lehigh county office of children and youth services, to successfully keep their families together while receiving services, thus avoiding disruptive, emotionally draining and expensive foster care placement of the children. Provided support that enabled 96% of school-aged children to meet or exceed the attendance requirements of their home school district while residing at the shelter. In addition, 124 school-aged children from the shelter participated in educational, recreational and other enrichment programs at the shelter's family resource center. Supported 180 individuals as they worked towards self-sufficiency by funding ged (general educational development) tests, driver's licenses, college textbooks, childcare and other expenses in order to remove barriers to a better future. Provided supportive services to 27 families enrolled in educational programs in long-term transitional housing at turner street apartments and ferry street apartments (24-month transitional housing programs in allentown and easton, respectively) in partnership with valley housing development corporation and the lehigh county and easton public housing authorities. All 27 adults were enrolled in english as a second language, ged, or post-secondary education programs. By the end of the year, six families completed their programs and found employment consistent with their educational programs or went on to additional education, 18 were still in the program and three families left or were terminated from the program without completing their goals. Provided space and support services for lehigh valley hospital to offer a monthly clinic that served 64 neighborhood residents who lacked health insurance.
community action financial services conducted seven seminars providing eight hours of hud-certified education that were attended by 445 prospective homebuyers, 364 of whom received certificates of completion. Three seminars were conducted in spanish and four in english. Approximately 71% of seminar participants were latino, 20% were african-american and 85% had incomes at or below 80% of the region's median household income. Provided individual counseling to 80 prospective homebuyers and pre-settlement counseling to 71 prospective homebuyers. Provided default and delinquency counseling to 117 financially distressed homeowners (50 homeowners through lehigh county's mortgage foreclosure diversion program and 67 homeowners through northampton county's mortgage foreclosure diversion program). Saved 60 households from foreclosure through loan modifications and repayment plans. Five homeowners had their mortgages reinstated. Out of the 117 homeowners served, 15 cases remain under review for potential modifications. Through this program, 83% of families who received a modification of their mortgage or a repayment plan in 2014 are still in their home today. A total of 3. 5% of these families were able to sell their home. Only 13. 5% of the families lost their home to foreclosure. Assisted 64 homeowners in applying for the homeowners emergency mortgage assistance program (hemap). Ontrack enabled approximately 11,943 ppl customers, including 5,321 newly- enrolled, to maintain service and reduce arrearages through ontrack, ppl's customer assistance program mandated by the pennsylvania public utilities commission and designed to assist low-income customers in paying off energy bill debt. Work ready provided employability training and counseling to 129 recipients of temporary assistance for needy families (tanf), identified by the county assistance offices in lehigh and northampton counties as the most difficult to employ. Assisted 69 program participants in graduating from the year- long program and placed 35 participants in jobs. Enrolled 22 participants in community service, helping them gain valuable employment experience. Tracked and provided case management to 33 participants attending college or trade schools, with 14 graduating with certificates or degrees. Provided educational and life skills training to all program participants. Assisted 31 participants in need of english proficiency and 33 in working toward their ged by enrolling them in on-site and off-site training classes. Provided financial literacy training seminars on-site to 129 participants through a partnership with wells fargo. Provided nutrition education to 60 participants through a partnership with penn state extension. Provided self-esteem improvement coaching to 14 participants. Slate belt rising slate belt rising is caclv's multi-municipal neighborhood partnership, the first of its kind in the commonwealth of pennsylvania, encompassing the boroughs of wind gap, pen argyl, bangor and portland. In its first year of operation, slate belt rising did the following: improved and beautified the bangor borough business district, purchasing and installing seven large flower planters in the downtown area; assisted in the purchase and planting of 20 new street trees and improved the faade of a large, streetscape-dominating mixed-use building in the central business district. Engaged the community, supporting five community events that attracted over 2,000 residents through the weona and wind gap park summer sounds concert series, the wind gap carnival, and the historical bangor business association block party and car show. Engaged youth, mobilizing an effort to start a regional field hockey program for the slate belt by providing funds for equipment; funding the purchase of new audio and visual equipment for the hub teen outreach center to encourage more youth programming; and committing funds to continue the support of the annual boy scout jamboree. Facilitated connections with existing caclv programs and other partners in the target area: hosted a four-week start your business class in cooperation with the rising tide community loan fund and the slate belt chamber of commerce, with 22 of the participants completing the course; 13 slate belt residents used community action financial services for comprehensive housing counseling and advocacy services; 73 homes in the slate belt rising target area received services from caclv's weatherization program; two homes have been rehabilitated through the lehigh valley community land trust and the northampton county housing rehabilitation program. Slate belt rising's programs are funded by merchants bank of bangor, waste management (both of which received tax credits from the pennsylvania department of community and economic development), lafayette ambassador bank, and essa. Campaign for racial and ethnic justice the campaign for racial and ethnic justice was created to focus on the unique elements that hold people of color back in the pursuit of economic and social justice. Income and wealth disparity in our nation and community are too often drawn along color lines and caclv created the campaign to seek remedies in our community. In our first year, we focused much of our staff and financial resources on "bridging the college admissions gap. " starting at easton area high school, where we were met with an enthusiastic administration anxious to partner, we established "generation next," recruiting 25 juniors who have plenty of potential but see many obstacles before them. Together with dedicated volunteers and high school staff, we did team-building, brought in guest speakers, organized workshops and took an overnight field trip to several colleges as far away as howard university in washington, dc. By the end of the academic year, 15 students had taken their college entrance exams and all were actively pursuing college attendance in their futures. Organized a forum called the conversation on race with a wide diversity of more than 50 leaders in education, the faith community, public officials, business, nonprofit and grassroots leaders. Participants were encouraged to discuss their own journey and how they have been impacted by race throughout their lives. Worked with the united way of the greater lehigh valley, project blueprint and others to improve the diversity of nonprofit boards of directors, including assisting with training in "cultural competence and responsiveness" as part of the united way's funding process.