Community Action was born out of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty. The ambitious purpose of this statute was to mobilize the human and financial resources of the nation to combat poverty in the United States. The act established a federal Office of Economic Opportunity, and created organizations called Community Action Agencies (CAAs) that would develop strategies to solve local issues of poverty.
The Community Action movement became a part of the national policy “to eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty.” CAAs serve as an administrative umbrella for several programs that would be unable to stand individually. The system has proven to be a very cost-effective method of delivering services at the local level. Flexibility in programs, responsiveness to community needs, and local control make CAAs increasingly attractive to address communities’ social needs.
True to our history, Community Action Partnership remains committed to addressing the root causes and conditions of poverty in the United States, as demonstrated by the diversity of programs provided by our Community Action Agencies, which offer services from Head Start and other child development programs to Weatherization Assistance, job training and education support and elder care programs, among many others. Our Community Action Agencies are diverse in their service and programs, since they tailor their approaches to meet the specific needs of the communities they serve, and they put a human face on poverty while advocating for those who do not have a voice and providing opportunities for self-sufficiency.