Wendy Melius

Center for Community Action executive director Wendy Melius spoke during the agency’s annual meeting Wednesday at the Lake Raystown Resort Lodge and Conference Center, noting CCA expanded its services and programming to Cambria and Blair counties this year.

The Center for Community Action (CCA) hosted its annual meeting Wednesday afternoon at the Lake Raystown Resort Lodge and Conference Center in Entriken.

In 2018, the program provided services to 8,048 clients in need and an additional 2,605 individuals in the first quarter of 2019, including, but not limited to, employment programs, housing, house repair and childcare services.

This year, CCA expanded its services into Cambria and Blair counties, adding to Huntingdon, Juniata, Adams, Bedford, Mifflin, Somerset, Fulton, and Franklin counties.

“It’s been a busy year, but a good one,” said Wendy Melius, CCA’s executive director.

A new program called Home 4 Good was introduced that works with local landlords. CCA offers to pay repair fees for a landlord’s property in return for them taking on one of their clients as a tenant. The program also will help provide rental assistance.

“People don’t realize the economic impact we have on the counties we work with. We put $5.4 million back into daycare providers alone this past year,” said Melius.

Another program, Shelter from the Storm, partnered with James Creek Church of the Brethren to provide housing for homeless families.

“We do a lot of good work with the churches in Huntingdon County,” said Melius.

The program is looking to increase awareness of its various programs, and one way they looked to accomplish this was by hosting a poverty simulation. Participants assumed the role of a low-income family member living on a budget.

“The poverty simulation was done multiple times with the help of our two Juniata College interns. It forces you to ask whether you can survive a month of poverty, to live the life of one of our clients,” said Stacey Wyles, CCA’s employment and training director. “It helps you understand the struggles and chaos of the things our clients go through. People were exhausted when they finished.”

With awareness of their program increasing, as well as the number of services they provide, CCA has a strong hope that in the future more and more individuals can find the help they too often desperately need.

Nathan can be reached at nwoods@huntingdondailynews.com.


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