Community Action Agencies Open Doors to Showcase the Impact on Communities
(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) -- Community Action Agencies across Missouri are hosting senators, representatives, and other public officials for agency and program tours to raise awareness of the importance of Community Action, showcasing the positive impact Community Action has on low-income Missourians, families, and communities as a whole. These tours, luncheons, and Q&A sessions are part of Missouri Community Action Network’s Advocacy Week of Action, March 19-23. Advocacy Week comes on the heels of the US President’s proposed budget for FY2019 that eliminates the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)—a critical funding source for Community Action nationwide and in Missouri communities.
The nation’s 1,000+ Community Action Agencies work toward eliminating poverty and removing barriers to self-sufficiency. Missouri’s network of 19 Community Action Agencies work with low-income individuals and families to identify specific needs, whether short-term or ongoing, and respond to those needs through services delivered directly by the agencies themselves or other community resources. The agencies identify gaps in services at the community level and coordinate public as well as private resources to meet to those gaps. This includes economic development efforts that create jobs and benefit the entire community.
A unique aspect of Community Action is that the agencies do not seek to duplicate services. Rather, Community Action Agencies leverage community partnerships to expand the reach of available services and creatively develop programs where there are gaps. CSBG funding allows each agency to take action using collaborative strategies tailored for each community served.
The impact of CSBG funding throughout Missouri’s communities is evidenced by key outcomes from Federal Fiscal Year 2016. Missouri Community Action Agencies provided services to 215,710 low-income individuals that year. CSBG funds yielded a total of 938,992 outcomes for these Missourians and their communities. Outcomes include:
◦ 138,121 participants acquired a job, increased their income or achieved “living wage” employment and benefits.
◦ 9,909 households with low incomes increased their financial assets or financial skills.
◦ 69,361 infants, children, youth, parents and other adults participated in enrichment programs and achieved program goals.
◦ 154,268 vulnerable individuals with low income received services from the CSBG network and secured or maintained an independent living situation as a result.
◦ 117,401 participants with low incomes obtained support that reduced or eliminated barriers to family stability.
◦ 178,891 community members and people with low income were mobilized to engage in activities that support and promote their own well-being and that of their community.
Missouri’s 19 Community Action Agencies provide services in every Missouri county and the City of St. Louis to help people achieve self-sufficiency in five key areas that impact families and communities every day: economic and family security; education; food and nutrition; health; and housing and energy. From community support services and weatherization to assistance with key supports like housing and employment, more than 3% of Missourians benefit annually from the stabilization services provided by Community Action Agencies throughout the state.
In addition to the direct services that the Network’s 19 Community Action Agencies provide to low-income Missourians, agencies also work closely with Missouri Community Action Network to conduct advocacy activities critical to increasing awareness of poverty’s negative effects and to the development of public policy that will positively impact Missourians struggling with poverty. This week’s Community Action Advocacy Week of Action highlights the positive impact and outcomes Community Action has on Missouri communities.