Pooling community resources

Community Action Agency of St. Louis County has opened its doors in North County for service of low-income people in need

By Charlotte Beard

Many people may be unaware of some of the community resources that have served St. Louis for more than 50 years in providing programs and services for low-income people in need. Those services include, but are not limited to, home weatherization, youth education services, health and nutrition education, housing counseling, financial education and energy assistance. 

One such resource opened its doors for service March 11 and had its official open house May 14 in North County. Community Action Agency of St. Louis County, Inc. (CAASTLC) located at 26B North Oaks Plaza in Northwoods, is now one of 19 CAASTLC locations in the state.

The new CAASTLC location welcomed visitors from the community as they celebrated with a small ceremony and ribbon cutting. In addition, a Barnes-Jewish Hospital mammogram van was present to offer exams on-site. Cenia D. Bosman, President and CEO of the agency, gave the welcoming speech, and words were shared by Sheila Pearson, Board Chair. Northwoods Mayor, Everett Thomas was also in attendance and shared remarks in support of the agency’s presence in the community. 

 “The organization itself, Community Action Agencies (CAAs), is about 55 years old and CAASTLC is 50 years old,” states Bosman. “We do have a Community Action in the city as well as Jefferson-Franklin and in St. Charles, but our jurisdiction is St. Louis County.”

CAASTLC is part of the national network of more than 1,000 federally funded CAAs that fulfill the goals of the Community Action Program (CAP). CAP was established as a result of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. 

People who seek assistance through CAASTLC must be found eligible according to the federal poverty guidelines as it relates to the assistance being sought. Details can be found on the agency’s website at http://www.caastlc.org/information-and-guidelines/federal-poverty-guidelines.

“People can come to our offices and apply,” shared Bosman. “We have a case management approach that allows people to come in and get the information.”

To help further CAASTLC’s mission to open “Doors of Opportunity,” the agency is planning a fundraising event for Oct. 10 at Orlando’s Restaurant in Maryland Heights. More details are available by contacting Cheryl Finerson at 314-446-4474.

“Our mission is to change people’s lives, embody the spirit of hope and improve communities,” states Bosman. “We take pride in serving residents of St. Louis County and remain dedicated to providing our customers with the tools they need to empower themselves and others.” 

CUTLINE: Submitted photo Attendees of CAASTLC, Inc.’s North County Open House in Northwoods celebrate the agency’s expansion with a ribbon cutting. Those attendees included (pictured from left) Angela McCall, CAASTLC Administrative Assistant; Georgie Donahue, CAASTLC Program Administration Director; Rose Eichelberger, CAASTLC Community Advisory Council Member; Mark Kurtz, CAASTLC Chief Financial Officer; Maggie Strong, Northwoods Alderman; Everett Thomas, Mayor of Northwoods; Cenia D. Bosman, CAASTLC President and CEO; Shenisia Watson, CAASTLC Community Advisory Council Member; Ethel Byndom, St. Louis County Executive Office; Terrie Hart, CAASTLC Board Member; Sharon Pace, CAASTLC Community Advisory Council Member; Ella M. Jones, Ferguson Councilwoman; Debra Harper-LaBlanc, CAASTLC Community Advisory Council Member and George Robnett, CAASTLC Director of Housing & Support Services.