Community Services staff are often the first point of contact for community members coming to a CAP office. Community Services staff will find out about the specific needs of each community member and provide connections to services offered by CAP and other community partners to address those needs. Community Services staff are there to help community members identify any potential resources to help meet their needs. Often financial resources are limited, but Community Services staff will identify a variety of other resources that can be accessed to help address the needs. CAP staff strive to equip community members to increase their resources through assistance with some basic needs, but often as important are the referrals to other community partners and the knowledge that can be gained through a conversation with someone aware of tools and available resources. Community Services staff are experts at linking under-resourced community members with programs and services that meet their needs both within CAP and out in the community.
One primary focus of CAP's Community Services department is Financial Coaching. Financial Coaching empowers community members to increase their knowledge and skills so they can build confidence to reach important financial goals they set for themselves. Financial Coaching benefits low-income community members by:
- helping them to identify challenges that have kept them from budgeting, saving or setting financial goals;
- problem solving with them to get past where they are "stuck" in managing income and expenses;
- supporting them to plan actions that change ineffective financial behaviors into positive steps to reach financial goals;
- building confidence in their ability to manage personal finances and set financial goals;
- practicing skills in tracking monthly expenditures and reducing expenses;
- and starting to increase their income through attaining or increasing employment.
Financial Coaching may help low-income community members secure affordable housing, get set to provide or receive child support, obtain legal documentation, secure stable transportation and an array of other outcomes all built on the foundation of financial stability and security.