CARES Relief & Recovery Services
In an effort to respond to the immediate needs of Berrien, Cass and Van Buren County residents, SMCAA is implementing our CARES Relief and Recovery Services. Through this new initiative, residents may qualify for assistance in the following areas:

Food Support

Distributing food through 2-1-1 referrals

Water & Energy Assistance

Providing residents with financial assistance towards electric, gas and water utilities

Emergency Repairs

Provide plumbing or hot water heater repairs that will resolve the immediate emergency with access to water services for health and safety

Rent & Mortgage Assistance

Providing rental assistance and help towards mortgage payments

Who Qualifies?

  • 200% of Poverty

  • Layoff, Decrease in Hours, Recipient of Unemployment

  • Receipt of benefits through the MI Dept. of Health and Human Service

  • Benefits to include but not limited to: SNAP, TANF, SDA, Medicaid and childcare benefits

  • Current enrollee in other assistance programs (Ex. MEAP, HUD programs) that currently have income guideline restrictions

Outside Our Region?





Begin Your Application Process

If you fit within the qualifications of CARES, you may begin the SMCAA application process​. Until further notice, SMCAA's offices will remain closed. Our application process will be completed via the phone (call 269-925-9077) and/or online. 

The following are documents you must include with your application:

  • Proof of Identification: Social Security cards for all household members, birth certificates for infants under 12 months of age, documentation for all foster children in household, ID copy of head of household, AND a picture of head of household holding their ID

  • Proof of Income: all earned income information for everyone 18 years and older who reside in household

  • Proof of Emergency: copy of utility bill OR copy of current lease and letter from landlord with total amount you are behind on rent

If you do not include all required documents, your application will not be processed. For a full list of documentation necessary to apply for CARES relief, click HERE.

The following documents must be completed in their entirety to successfully apply for CARES relief:

    Client Application          Income Worksheet          Release of Information        Resolve/Not Reoccur        Grievance Appeals

Unsure if you have completed the application and supporting documents? Click HERE for a CARES Client Checklist.

Once you have your completed application with supporting documents, you may send it to the following:

  • Email: Linda Mills at

  • Fax: 269-934-8242 ATTN: Linda Mills

  • Mailing Address: 185 E. Main St., Ste 303
                                ATTN: Linda Mills
                                Benton Harbor, MI 49022


Call SMCAA at 269-925-9077.

Contact Information

185 E Main St, Ste 303

Benton Harbor, MI 49022

(269) 925-9077

Office Hours

Monday - Friday

8:00am to 4:30pm

Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency

SMCAA is dedicated to empowering diverse people in need and supporting their journey towards economic security.

Our vision: to be a beacon of support in a strong, thriving community by helping people and changing lives.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal Civil Rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Civil Rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior credible activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at How to File a Program Discrimination Complaint and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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SMCAA is a private social service non-profit 501(c)(3) membership organization.