2021 marks the 57th year since the Community Action Network was established to help communities across the country fight poverty. Community Action Agencies (CAAs) work to alleviate poverty in low-income communities, here in Ohio, 47 agencies serve the population across the state’s 88 counties.
CAAs all fight poverty in similar ways such as providing emergency assistance, workforce programs and nutrition programs however, each CAA takes a unique approach tailored to the community they serve. Here in Cuyahoga County, the state-designated anti-poverty organization is Step Forward. Step Forward works to combat poverty by supporting families and individuals from birth into adulthood through early education, individual and family programs, energy assistance and emergency assistance.
Step Forward provides high-quality Early Head Start (ages 0-3) and Head Start (ages 3-5) to help create a strong education foundation for children and prepare them for kindergarten. Step Forward Head Start programs serve over 2,500 students annually at learning centers across the county and through home-based programs. Head Start and Early Head Start programs are now enrolling for the 2021-2022 school year. Learn more and enroll your child here.
Individual and Family Programs
Step Forward’s personal and professional development programs support the needs and goals of residents through family development programs, individual counseling, training classes, employment services and more. Individual and Family Programs help income-eligible residents stabilize their situations and enhance their skills. Learn more about Personal and Professional programs here.
Step Forward assists Cuyahoga County residents through 6 different utility assistance programs & services to help manage utility bills. Step Forward also provides long-term assistance educating residents about their energy choices and helps households maintain utilities throughout the year. Learn more about Step Forward’s energy assistance programs here.
Step Forward’s emergency assistance programs help residents meet immediate needs like rental payments, clothing, transportation and food needs. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Step Forward expanded its emergency assistance services to help affected residents. COVID-19 emergency assistance is still available, applicants can now apply and submit all required documents online via the agency website. Learn more and apply for assistance here.
As we continue to work to transform the lives of people in Cuyahoga County, we recognize that the community helps make our work possible. If you are looking for ways to help us provide services to residents, please consider donating, spreading the word about our programs, or joining our team. You can make a donation here, and learn more and apply for our open positions here.