Helping People Bounce Back
Wednesday - August 04, 2010 Share
By Robert Piper, Esq., Executive Director
Honolulu Community Action Program Inc. (HCAP)
After getting laid off this April, “Frantino” was applying for welfare and looking for work as his family struggled to make ends meet. In June, he applied for Honolulu Community Action Program’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and received assistance to pay his electric bill. There, he learned about HCAP’s job-readiness training, which he attended and received a free bus pass to go job searching. Less than a month later, Frantino is employed full time and once again supporting his family and two children.
HCAP has served Oahu’s economically disadvantaged families and communities for more than four decades. Established in 1965 through the War on Poverty, HCAP is part of a national network of community action agencies that is 1,100 strong. Through five district centers across Oahu, HCAP offers a range of programs to help needy families overcome barriers and achieve self-sufficiency.
HCAP is best known for its Head Start preschool program, the largest in the state. Through this program, approximately 1,650 children ages 3 to 5 attend preschool at 91 classrooms islandwide at free or reduced rates. HCAP also helped 140 former high school dropouts earn diplomas through its Competency-Based High School Diploma (C-Base) programs, and 250 seniors re-entered the work force through its Senior Community Services Employment Program.
In the past year, the agency has provided housing for 133 homeless adults at its Kumuhonua Transitional Shelter and helped feed more than 5,000 people through the Ohana Produce and Emergency Food Assistance programs. Finally, by utilizing federal stimulus funds, HCAP helped low-income households save on their energy bills through the Weatherization Assistance Program, which installs free energy-saving devices including CFL light bulbs and solar water heaters.
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