CAP Riverside: 54 Years of Critical Programs
By Dianne Anderson
No need to suffer another brutal hot summer, or burn through the typical $120 a month electric bills – there are other options.
Riverside residents can get a cool free blast of fresh air with a wide array of programs, and energy saving weatherization services.
“If the air conditioner is having problems or ductwork needs work or if appliances, hot water or the heater needs to be replaced, we’ll send an inspector,” said Michael McCulloch, spokesperson for the Riverside Community Action Partnership.
The agency works with contractors to provide energy efficiency services, or replace an appliance, free of charge for qualifying low income residents.
CAP also recently launched cool centers in over 50 county locations to help citizens beat the heat.
Through federal government grants, McCulloch said the local CAP is on a mission to help people make their way to self-sufficiency.
“People are already struggling to pay the bills and food, they’re certainly not going to be able to replace their fridge or hot water heater,” he said.
Funding sources are available to help the low-income community with the free appliances, but he said they are fighting to keep that funding, which is now threatened with federal cuts.
To help save the program, he said the community can spread the word about the program, referring people that they think may need help, especially the utility assistance program, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
“If someone can’t afford to pay their utilities for the month, we cover those up to one time per year,” he said.
Another long-standing CAP program, Savings for Success, are now taking applications. Qualifying applicants must be no more than 200 percent of the federal poverty line, and able to regularly attend workshops on personal finance, and business management. Once completed, they are given six to 18 months to save up to $1,000 in their money-matching program.
Participants can save for education to go back to school, or start their own businesses with a one-to-one savings match. So far, they have had 400 people graduated and 138 are in their own homes.
“If they’re saving for a home, that’s actually matched four to one. They would have $4,000 given to them for $5,000 total towards a down-payment for a home,” he said.
Project L.E.A.D. is another successful CAP youth program that works with students that have graduated from high school, young adults or people in college, and pairs them with free after-school programs to mentor middle school students. He said that program clocked 7,786 hours of mentoring, and they are always recruiting for volunteers
Their pre-apprenticeship program places high school juniors and seniors with business owners to get hands-on training and glimpse future possibilities in a variety of professional environments, including Habitat for Humanity. That program has serviced 7,615 mentoring hours.
They also offer mediation services for clients, such as homeowners and tenants, or small businesses, facing small claim court. He said they can meet with the other party and mediate before the case is seen by the judge
“It gives them an opportunity to settle with each other, rather than having a verdict. I’ve sat in those, it’s a tremendous help,” he said.
On June 21, the organization is hosting three events, including a debt management, marketing 101, and business workshops. On June 29, they are again hosting a debt management workshop at 2038 Iowa Ave. Suite B-102 Riverside. Residents are required to RSVP.
He said that 54 years that Riverside CAP agency has been existence has served the community with one goal in mind, to help people out of crisis and get back on track.
“But it’s also trying to educate them on how to better themselves and move toward self-sufficiency,” he said. “We’re helping people to do that, education and helping in times where it’s critically needed.”
For more information, see www.capriverside.org or call Riverside CAP at (951) 955-4900