What is Community Action?
Fifty years ago, under the leadership of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the U.S. Congress enacted the bill known as the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in an effort that began under the watch of President John F. Kennedy before his assassination. Johnson took up and expanded these efforts to eradicate poverty, calling the move an unconditional war. In his State of the Union Address in 1964, Johnson declared,
“It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won.”
The variety of initiatives introduced as a result of the act included Head Start, Job Corps, Work-Study programs, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), and Neighborhood Youth Corps. One of the bill’s more radical components was the introduction of Community Action Agencies, as they prescribed direct involvement from individuals in low-income communities to address the needs of the poor. This action was a departure from how social reform programs were structured in the past.
Like its sister agencies across the state and nation, the Community Action Program Committee, Inc. (CAPC) in Pensacola, Florida, was born out of this concept. Although much has changed in the half century since Johnson’s declaration of the war on poverty, CAPC continues to serve the needs of individuals and families who are struggling and working to achieve self-sufficiency.
We will carry on CAPC’s legacy of service to the community by forging valuable connections to further our mission. Connections with other organizations in Northwest Florida are key to identifying individuals with unmet needs and to directing them to the best possible solutions. Strengthening connections within the agency is important as well. Working together, the CAPC staff can maximize each program’s effectiveness and efficiency in order to help those we serve.
CAPC has produced positive outcomes for many, but the fight must continue. And in the words of President Johnson, “we shall not rest.”
The vision of Community Action Program Committee, Inc. is to enable all citizens of Northwest Florida to achieve self-sufficiency, to eradicate poverty and to make Northwest Florida a better place to live.
Since 1965, our goal at Community Action Program Committee, Inc. (CAPC) has been to empower hard-working, low-income families through numerous rewarding programs..
The success of each of our clients is our most important goal. By coordinating the beneficial programs available within CAPC, we are better able to move families toward employment and self-sustainability through early childhood and adult education, housing and safety assistance, financial tutoring, employment and community empowerment.
Eradicating poverty in our area and enabling families to become self-sufficient—our critical goals—have become more and more possible with each family’s progress and utilization of CAPC services.
Through Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds, CAAs are charged with addressing 6 national goals for community action within their communities. These goals focus on the family, the community and the granting agency and include the following:
- Low-income people become more self-sufficient. (Family)
- The conditions in which low-income people live are improved. (Community)
- Low-income people own a stake in their community. (Community)
- Partnerships among supports and providers of services to low-income people are achieved. (Agency)
- Agencies increase their capacity to achieve results. (Agency)
- Low-income people, especially vulnerable populations, achieve their potential by strengthening family and other supportive systems. (Family)
Based on local community needs assessments, strategic planning and community issues, CAAs determine the strategies to best meet poverty issues in their communities.