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Group of Americorp volunteers at Community Action Allegan

Community Action of Allegan County’s (CAAC’s) mission is to serve, advocate, and engage individuals, families, and communities to overcome the effects of poverty and encourage self-reliance. “Hosting AmeriCorps in our community is an excellent opportunity to further our mission and the mission of AmeriCorps in strengthening communities and developing leaders through team-based national and community service,” said Lisa Evans, CAAC Executive Director.  AmeriCorps provides opportunities for Americans of all ages to help improve the nation through service—making streets in rural and urban towns and cities across the country safer, cleaner, and healthier.

 

AmeriCorps National Civilian Community  Corp’s (NCCC’s) partnership with Community Action of Allegan County and the City of Allegan is to accomplish the following three goals.

Goal 1: To complete a full community housing survey of the City of Allegan’s housing stock. This survey includes the capturing of general housing condition information and digital images of each residence (2,146 parcels) in the City of Allegan.

Goal 2: To capture critical data for City leadership regarding current housing conditions. This data is foundational to the City of Allegan leadership’s ability to assess the need for historic preservation and focus on housing quality; assisting in the development of collaborative housing solutions and strategies to address housing rehabilitation, remodeling, deconstruction, recycling, and affordable new construction. “Community Action is excited to support the City of Allegan in its effort to document the condition of housing stock in the city.  Safe, healthy and affordable housing is a “basic need” for all people and is foundational to assuring families feel safe, stable, and healthy in their living conditions.”

Goal 3: And, the final goal for the NCCC team is helping CAAC tackle the maintenance and painting of the agency’s main office exterior to ensure CAAC’s physical infrastructure provides a high-quality client experience and meets community expectations for service delivery.

Members of the AmeriCorps team, will contribute to the goals of the project by performing the following several tasks. The NCCC Team will engage in a full community housing survey of the City’s housing stock. The housing survey will be conducted as a “Walking Housing Survey” comprised of basic visual building survey techniques established in the language of the International Property Maintenance Code. The survey includes the capturing of general housing condition information and digital images of each residence (2,146 parcels) in the City of Allegan. In addition, the NCCC Team will provide a needed labor force to meet an unmet need of CAAC to provide repair, maintenance, and painting of the exterior façade of the Community Action of Allegan County service center. Tasks to be completed during this component of the project include minor facade repairs, caulking and sealing, painting, and clean-up.

 

The project is expected to benefit the community in several ways. The City of Allegan is a community of 2,071 households, of which 52% are considered in poverty or Asset Limited Income Constrained and Employed (ALICE). The City of Allegan has struggled for years to attain accurate and dependable housing information. The City’s inability to garner accurate data has created a significant challenge in meeting current and future community housing goals. The data collected from this project will allow the City of Allegan to utilize data-driven decision making to develop strategies and tactics focusing on community health and affordable housing solutions. The project will allow the City to meet a critical strategic goal in creating a robust database of up-to-date housing records. Additionally, the CAAC is a mission centered organization who for more than fifty years has served Allegan County residents and focused on providing direct service and supports to low-income individuals and families. “The majority of CAAC programs and services are state and federally funded with 90% of all funds going to provide direct anti-poverty services.  This leaves limited allocation for facilities upgrade, preventative maintenance and infrastructure support. As a result, CAAC’s main office and client service center has suffered over the years from a lack of routine and required maintenance.” Evans said. “We are grateful to have NCCC volunteers here with us to provide the needed labor and capacity to enhance the aesthetic of the agency’s service center; assuring the life of the building and preserving its use as a critical community resource in meeting the needs of Allegan County residents”. Members will gain knowledge and experience in regards to what is required for data collection and community surveys as well as the importance of such data and how it can be used to drive future decisions.  The team will receive training on safety and first aid as well as power tool operation and increase their skills with construction and painting.

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