The Human Resource Development Councils of Montana
These strong partners exist to improve the lives of community members, especially those who face poverty or isolation.
History and Background
In 1963, shortly before he was assassinated, President John F. Kennedy had asked his economic advisors to prepare proposals to address the problem of poverty in America. President Lyndon B. Johnson continued this initiative. In his first State of the Union address, Johnson called for an unconditional war to defeat poverty and ultimately prepared the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which became law that same year.
The Act authorized a variety of programs including Head Start, the Job Corps, VISTA, and Community Action Agency programs. Congress slowly appropriated funding to match the Act's initiatives. Beginning in 1981, many CAA agency programs were funded through federal Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) dollars, which are awarded and monitored by state agencies.
The Community Action Agency component of this legislation was modeled on two successful urban renewal projects both of which emphasized active participation by low-income citizens.
Community Action Agencies are committed to:
- Prioritize prevention of poverty;
- Address the causes of poverty;
- Involve the community;
- Improve the community; and
- Create opportunity.
Community Action Agency response to clients is designed to be:
- Coordinated; and
- Directed to long-term client development.