CAAS’ core programs are Head Start, Housing Advocacy Program (HAP), Community Organizing & Advocacy and Free Tax Preparation Assistance (VITA).
Head Start is a free comprehensive developmental preschool program that provides a variety of wrap-around services to approximately 275 low-income children and their families each year. Components of this wraparound include extensive supports in the economic, social, health, nutritional and psychological domains. Parent and family targeted services include: adult education, such as classes on child development; English as a second language (ESOL); case management and economic mobility planning; referrals and assistance coordinating external supports. Head Start serves low-income residents of Somerville and Cambridge.
Housing Advocacy Program (HAP) provides a wide range of services to low-income individuals at risk of homelessness each year, including preventing evictions through advocacy with landlords and in district court and maximizing income by improving access to public benefits. Case management targeting the root causes of housing affordability helps prevent future crises. HAP serves Somerville residents with incomes up to 80% of area median income (AMI).
Community Organizing & Advocacy program takes a systematic approach to advancing CAAS’ mission by engaging low-income residents in collectively pushing for social change. Activities include: 1) conducting outreach in Somerville's low-income community; 2) creating and cultivating on-going relationships with members of the community and encouraging their participation in community action; 3) facilitating community engagement in activities that support and promote their own wellbeing and that of their community, such as assisting with the organization of tenants’ unions and engaging with public processes related to issues of municipal concern; and 4) identifying and developing leaders who can speak to and move forward community solutions.
Free Tax Assistance program provides low- and moderate-income families with free tax preparation assistance. The VITA program can help reduce the tax burden of families and help them get back money that can be used to build savings or pay off debts.