Community Development Programs

SMCAA offers Community Development through: Client Development, Supportive Housing, and Rapid Rehousing.


Client Development provides educational information to place the client on a path of economic self-sustainability. SMCAA offers individual and group education classes in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties for the following topics: Homebuyer Education, Financial Capabilities and Lender Referrals.


Supportive Housing provides housing support for disabled or mental health individuals. The Supportive Housing program provides housing and supportive services for mental health clients.

Rapid Rehousing targets individuals and households with children that are coming directly from the streets or emergency shelter. The purpose of this program is to make each household's experience of homelessness as brief as possible by moving them into permanent housing quickly and to support the household in their efforts to live as independently as possible.


Homebuyer Education Workshop **Free Workshop** Clients will learn the basics to buying a home and obtaining a mortgage, managing money, understanding credit, obtaining a mortgage, house shopping, and protecting your investment. This class is 6 hours. Who is eligible? -Anyone who wants to purchase a home. Pre-Purchase Individual Counseling clients must attend Homebuyer Education prior to attending Pre-Purchase Counseling.


Financial Capabilities Workshop **Free Workshop** Clients will learn money management and develop a spending plan and basic banking, money management, developing a budget, consumer protection, banking basics, debt reduction, insurance, Fair Housing, and fair lending. This class is 8 hours. The Homebuyer Education class is a prerequisite to taking Financial Capabilities.

Image by Nathan Fertig

Rental Counseling **Free Workshop** Clients looking to rent an apartment receive a financial roadmap to get there. Those already renting will learn what their rights are as tenants. Who is eligible? -Anyone who wants to rent an apartment or house.


Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Clients are guided into controlling their futures to purchase a home, finish school, pay off debt, and much more. Who is eligible? -Current participation in MSHDA's HCV Rental Assistance Program -Develop and complete goals alongside your coordinator


Supportive Housing SMCAA pays a portion of clients' monthly rent based on the amount of income that a client receives. SMCAA also works with the clients' mental health worker and other agencies to help support the individual and help them sustain housing. Who is eligible? Mental health clients that have a mental health worker they are working with and they have person center treatment plan in place. Participants must reside in Cass or Van Buren County. Mental Health worker must send refer.


Rapid Rehousing SMCAA provides participants with housing case management, supportive services and rental assistance. Who is eligible? Cass and Van Buren individuals for families coming directly from the streets or emergency shelter; and scoring in the rapid re-housing or permanent supportive housing intervention range of the VI-SPDAT.

Current Client Development Courses

We are currently offering virtual Homebuyer Education Classes that are flexible and work with your schedule. Click below to find out more information:

For Additional Information on Programs

If you have any additional questions or would like more information on Community Development programs offered by SMCAA, please call our office at 269-925-9077.


Mr. C

At 38, I found myself divorced, my credit score in the dumps, living with my parents and everything I owned fit into one laundry basket. With the support and assistance from Kim, I now have the keys in my hands for my dream home. Every day I give thanks for the blessings that I have received and the opportunities that I have had to endure.

Miss B

There are no words to express how grateful I am to have been blessed with all that has been done for me. I would like to thank everyone who came [to my home] and worked; I could have never done this on my own. I have truly been blessed.

Mr. S

Thank you for all the good information you have given me in the past. As you know, I have purchased my home and I am within a year and a half of paying my house off. You are a good friend to have and thank you for your help. I will be able to pass this information to others that may need it.

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.