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  • Central Missouri Community Action believes that true social change cannot happen without the involvement of the entire community. The CMCA Community Organizing strategy is an intentional community initiative designed to engage all aspects of the community to address local causes and conditions of poverty. Community Organizers work with community entities to ensure that all families are able to meet their basic needs as well as promote opportunities for lifelong learning.
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  • Early Head Start provides early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income infants and toddlers and their families, and pregnant women and their families. The reauthorization of the Head Start Act in 1994 made it possible to establish Early Head Start; a comprehensive child development and family support program for infants and toddlers under the age of 3, pregnant women and their families.
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  • Early Head Start has been partnering with local child care providers to deliver quality early care and education services since 2009. Federal and State funding for Early Head Start services are leveraged to ensure that infants, toddlers and their families enroll in programs that are in compliance with Local, State and Federal Regulations, have Healthy and Safe Environments, and have Qualified and Trained staff.
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  • The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. LIHEAP can help you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer through programs that reduce the risk of health and safety problems that arise from unsafe heating and cooling practices. During the last several years, CMCA has helped nearly 7,000 families annually restore or maintain their utilities through LIHEAP throughout central Missouri.
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  • Families struggling with the crisis of poverty are often isolated from sources of support and help. Family Development is a case management model support service offered to families as they strive toward short-range goals. During regular personal meetings, families and CMCA Family Development staff work together to identify strengths and opportunities that lead to long-term personal success.
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  • The Foster Grandparent Program is a program with a heartfelt purpose. It provides an opportunity for senior men and women to interact with children through active involvement at locations such as non-profit daycare centers, Head Start, state-supported facilities, public and private schools and home settings. The "Grandparents" serve youth with exceptional and special needs.
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  • Head Start is a federal program for preschool children from low income families. Children who attend Head Start participate in a variety of educational activities. Staff assist parents with medical and dental care, provide healthy meals and snacks and supervise children playing indoors and outdoors in a safe setting. Head Start helps all children succeed. Services are offered to meet the special needs of children with disabilities. Children in Head Start are between the ages of three and five years old. Services are also available to infants and toddlers with the Early Head Start Program.
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  • Do you need help understanding your health insurance options? Central Missouri Community Action can assist you! Our trained and licensed Certified Application Counselors offer the following free services: ✓ One-on-one enrollment and re-enrollment assistance for the Health Insurance Marketplace ✓ Post-enrollment assistance with using your health insurance ✓ Presentation explaining the Affordable Care Act and Health Insurance Marketplace ✓ Presentation on how to understand your health insurance ✓ Information booth at health fairs or local festivals to educate attendees on the Health Insurance Marketplace
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  • Operated by the Boone county Public Housing Agency dba Mid-Missouri Public housing Agency, through a contract with Central Missouri Community Action, the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program provides rental assistance to low income individuals and families in Callaway (except in the city limits of Fulton), Cole, Cooper, Howard, Moniteau, and Osage counties.
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  • Without shelter, many things are just not possible. It is a basic building block which helps families and individuals to be healthy, safe and secure. It is CMCA's position that housing is a right, not a privilege. In 1994, CMCA was recognized as a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) by the Missouri Housing Development Commission and in 1999 the City of Columbia designated CMCA as a CHDO as well. The agency is also a Community Development Corporation and is designated a Rural LISC agency. These designations have helped CMCA to partner with various for profit developers and non-profit partners to complete a number of multi and single family housing units through the service area thereby providing affordable housing opportunities for low income individuals.
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  • Have you ever thought of owning your own business? The agency’s microenterprise initiative empowers individuals and families by helping them develop and, if needed, finance small start-up businesses that can grow to provide full-time or supplementary income to their households.
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  • The Missouri Work Assistance Program is designed to support families as they transition from public assistance to the private workforce. Through these services, Central Missouri Families are able to gain skills, knowledge and resources to move from poverty to self-sufficiency. The Missouri Work Assistance Program provides goal setting, education assistance, training and Family Development services to help participants become job ready.
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  • Central Missouri Community Action’s Mobility Management Project addresses one of the most basic barriers to achieving self-sufficiency: lack of transportation.
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  • Show Me Healthy Relationships (SMHR) offers free courses for Missouri couples and individuals who want to be in a committed relationship. Courses are designed to help you strengthen and nurture your relationship with your spouse or partner. If you are not currently in a committed relationship you can also learn ways to choose a great partner when you are ready.
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  • CMCA's Weatherization Assistance Program assists in achieving a healthy dwelling environment and maximum practicable energy conservation in housing for people with low income. One main goal of the program is to help those persons least able to afford high energy costs conserve energy thereby allowing families to use the money saved for more pressing family needs. In addition, it provides a safer, healthier living environment for the residents and reduces energy demands for the whole community. CMCA has been operating a weatherization assistance program since 1975. The program is available to all income eligible residents in the agency’s eight counties.
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Success Is Key

Have you ever thought of owning your own business? The agency’s microenterprise initiative empowers individuals and families by helping them develop and, if needed, finance small start-up businesses that can grow to provide full-time or supplementary income to their households.

The program is available to those whose income is less than 80% of median income as established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, who reside in or are willing to locate their business in CMCA’s 8 county service area and who do not have access to traditional bank financing.


Classroom Training – Operation Jump Start First Step® – This 6-week course is used primarily for start up businesses or existing businesses that are looking for significant change and expansion. This class can help entrepreneurs decide whether or not their business ideas are feasible, and then help them to begin a business plan.

Business Planning – The microenterprise staff is available to help clients with their business planning, whether it is a new effort, or the client is revising an earlier plan. The business plan is the basic unit that will assist microenterprise staff in evaluating the business concept. It can provide staff with ideas of how best to organize help and resources for the entrepreneur. Finally, it can act as a lead-in to an application for financial assistance.

One-on-One Consultation - is offered by the microenterprise staff who meet individually with clients that need help in a variety of ways - developing their business ideas, creating a marketing plan, market research, cash flow projections, financial statements, time management, bookkeeping, etc.

Group Technical Assistance – Similar to one-on-one, CMCA staff explores the benefits of entrepreneurs networking together to work on issues related to business creation and business management.

Coaching – Once in business, the owner will work with a coach to help sort options, and identify resources. Coaches may be staff or community mentors.

Post-Loan Technical Assistance - For those clients that obtain loans from the Microloan Fund (MLF), post-loan technical assistance is provided. Post-loan technical assistance is available to all MLF borrowers to help ensure the survival and/or growth of the business, and to guard against possible loan default. That assistance includes one-on-one meetings, phone calls, correspondence, and possible referral to training classes that help with issues related to small business start up, small business management, accessing markets, marketing, financial management and record-keeping, among other topics.

Business Financial Education – Like mainstream financial literacy courses, this class emphasizes the understanding the financial operation of a business. Though not required, it will be encouraged as a course for most clients to attend; as CMCA has a strong priority to promote financial understanding at all levels.

Workshops – When five or more clients request assistance or show a deficit in a certain area of business management, a workshop is designed and held. Topics include: Cash flow management, marketing techniques, e-commerce, or computer bookkeeping.

Referrals – A resource network of small business practitioners and professionals that commonly help businesses is available in order for CMCA to make good referrals of clients to those other services offered by partners that will best meet the clients’ needs and ensure that budding entrepreneurs obtain the most pertinent and appropriate assistance in developing their business ideas or plans.

Financing Your Microbusiness

CMCA’s Microenterprise Initiative’s loan fund provides the microenterprise borrowers with access to capital that they might not otherwise find. While monthly installment loans are the most typical form of loan from the loan fund, the hallmark of microenterprise lending is its ability to provide flexible loan structures that best assist the entrepreneur in creating and growing a successful venture.

For more information please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Funds for this program provided through donations from Commerce Bank, Bank of Missouri, Callaway Bank, US Bank Foundation, Community Foundation of Central Missouri, City of Columbia, USDA-Rural Development, Kings Daughters and private individuals.