Community Action Agencies provide vital services to those in need. Founded after the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, these nonprofit organizations serve more than 34 million individuals across the United States, including in Puerto Rico. Most of these individuals live well below the poverty line and rely on CAAs to maintain self-sufficiency and to live full, enriching lives.
Although they are connected by a wide network, CAAs operate locally to provide the services that those in their regions most need. CAAs help communities establish coordination efforts, with organizations that focus on citizen participation and sharing information and updates with residents. These coordination organizations can help communities pull together during difficult times, hold neighborhood clean-ups, and generally care for one other. Other CAAs offer emergency services, including food pantries for those who cannot afford to buy groceries and shelters for those who are homeless or seeking refuge from domestic violence.
Some CAAs focus on providing support for parents and developmental assistance for children. Education-based CAAs encourage literacy and language with youth mentoring and adult education programs. Others offer affordable daycare to parents who work full time and still fall below the poverty line. CAAs also help individuals find ways to pull themselves out of poverty, with job training and even job creation.
Community Action Agencies are incredibly important to the well-being of Americans. Without them, many people would lack essential care and support.