Making an impact in Midcoast Maine Since 1972
History of Midcoast Maine Community Action
In the early to mid 196o's President Johnson initiated an ambitious legislative program, coupled with presidential task forces focused on domestic policy, to create what he called the "Great Society". One of the outcomes was the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act (OEA) which was the central legislative piece of Johnson's "war on poverty". In that year the national poverty rate was 19%. The Act created the Office of Economic Opportunity or "OEO." The OEO administered the local application of federal funds which provided funds to create social programs to promote the health, education, and general welfare of the poor.
Now known as Community Action Agencies (CAA), these local private and public non-profit organizations carry out the Community Action Program (CAP) founded by the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act to fight poverty by empowering the poor as part of the War on Poverty. These Agencies work to promote self-sufficiency, and depend heavily on volunteers. The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) is the agencies' core federal funding. Agencies also operate grants that come from federal, state and local sources for programs such as Head Start. Other programs frequently administered by CAA's include Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) utility grants and Weatherization Assistance Program funded through the U.S. Department of Energy.
Core functions of the CAA's include:
- Provide the opportunity for half million underprivileged young American to develop skills, continue education and find useful work
- Provide every American community the opportunity to develop a comprehensive plan to fight its own poverty and help them carry out those plans
- Provide Americans the opportunity to volunteer in the war against poverty
- Provide many workers and farmers the opportunity to break through the barriers which bar their escape from poverty
- Provide opportunity for a national coordinated effort through the Office of Economic Opportunity