CARES Relief & Recovery Services

In an effort to respond to the needs of Berrien, Cass and Van Buren County residents during the coronavirus pandemic, SMCAA has implemented services through the CARES Relief and Recovery Services, which comes from federal funding by the CARES Act. Through this temporary 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



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 at

  • Fax: 269-934-8242 (Attention to Linda Mills)

  • Mailing Address:
                                185 E. Main St., Ste 303

                                     ATTN: Linda Mills
                                     Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Are you outside our service region?

You can find a participating CARES Community Action Agency where you live by visiting one of the following websites:

Have a question?

Call SMCAA at 269-925-9077.

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