Community Action Agencies are
private non-profit or public organizations that were created by the federal
government in 1964 to combat poverty in geographically designated areas. Status
as a Community Action Agency is the result of an explicit designation by local
or state government. A Community Action Agency has a tripartite board structure
that is designated to promote the participation of the entire community in the
reduction or elimination of poverty. Community Action Agencies seek to involve
the community, including elected public officials, private sector
representatives, and especially low-income residents in assessing local needs
and attacking the causes and conditions of poverty.
Purpose and Mission
In order to reduce poverty in its community,
a Community Action Agency works to better focus available local, state,
private, and federal resources to assist low-income individuals and families to
acquire useful skills and knowledge, gain access to new opportunities and
achieve economic self-sufficiency.
A Community Action Agency:
received designation as a Community Action Agency either from the local
government under the provisions of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, or
from the state under the Community Services Block Grant Act of 1981, as
recognized as an eligible entity as defined in the CSBG Act and can receive
funding from the state under the Community Services Block Grant;
a governing board consisting of at least one-third democratically selected representatives
of low-income people, one-third local public officials or their designees, and
the remainder representatives of business, industry, labor, religious, social
welfare, and other private groups in the community; and
to a national network of similar agencies, the majority of which received their
initial designation, federal recognition and funding under the amended Economic
Opportunity Action of 1964.
- Has Management, Employees and Volunteers who abide by a comprehensive Code of Ethics specific to the nature of the agency.
Mode of Operation
A Community Action Agency carries
out its mission through a variety of means including: (a) community-wide
assessments of needs and strengths, (b) comprehensive anti-poverty plans and
strategies, (c) provision of a broad range of direct services, (d) mobilization
of financial and non-financial resources, (e) advocacy on behalf of low-income
people and (f) partnerships with other community-based organizations to
eliminate poverty. A Community Action Agency involves the low-income population
it serves in the planning, administering and evaluation of its programs.
Why Community Action Agencies are
Most poverty-related organizations
focus on a specific area of need, such as job training, health care, housing or
economic development. Community Action Agencies reach out to low-income people
in their communities, address their multiple needs through a comprehensive
approach, develop partnerships with other community organizations, involve
low-income clients in the agency’s operations and administer a full range of
coordinated programs designed to have a measurable impact on poverty.