of Community Services:
Who We Are
is Community Action? What are community action agencies?
In 1964, Community Action was introduced with the
enactment of the Economic Opportunity Act. The Act was the centerpiece
of the "War on Poverty", and was a major thrust of the
"Great Society" legislative agenda of the Lyndon Johnson
administration. The ambitious purpose of the Economic Opportunity
Act was to mobilize the human and financial resources of the nation
to combat the causes and consequences of poverty in the United States.
The Economic Opportunity Act developed and provided
funding for a nationwide network of community action agencies. Community
action agencies create, coordinate, and deliver an array of comprehensive
programs and services to people living in poverty. These programs
and services reduce conditions of poverty, revitalize communities,
and enable low-income families and low-income individuals to secure
opportunities needed for them to become self-sufficient. Today,
there are more than 1,100 community action agencies throughout the
Community action agencies are private nonprofit
and public organizations. They are governed by a uniquely structured
tripartite volunteer board of directors, comprised equally of elected
public officials, private sector representatives, and low-income
representatives. This structure is designed to promote the participation
of the entire community in assessing local needs and attacking the
causes and conditions of poverty.
“The Promise of Community Action”
Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies
the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better
place to live. We care about the entire community and we are dedicated
to helping people help themselves and each other.
is the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)?
The CSBG is a Federal block grant program administered
by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS distributes
the CSBG funds to States and local communities, working through
a network of community action agencies and other neighborhood-based
organizations, for the reduction of poverty, the revitalization
of low-income communities, and the empowerment of low-income families
and individuals in rural and urban areas to become fully self-sufficient.
The purpose of Iowa’s CSBG program is to support
community action agencies and other community based organizations
efforts to assist low-income families and individuals with basic
energy, food, shelter needs, and working towards achieving self-sufficiency.
Who administers Iowa’s Community Services Block Grant
The Division of Community Action Agencies (DCAA),
located within the Iowa Department of Human Rights, is the focal
point for community action agency activities within Iowa government.
The DCAA exists to develop and expand the capacity at the community
level to assist families and individuals to achieve economic and
social self-sufficiency, and to ensure that the basic needs of Iowa's
low-income population are met.
The DCAA is comprised of the Bureau of Community Services, the Bureau
of Energy Assistance, and the Bureau of Weatherization. The Bureau
of Community Services administers Community Services Block Grant
are Iowa’s Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds used?
The Bureau of
Community Services distributes CSBG funds to Iowa’s 18 community
action agencies, which create, coordinate, and deliver many programs,
services, and activities to low-income Iowans. The CSBG program
funds the central management and core activities of these agencies.
The agencies use the funds to mobilize additional public and private
resources to combat the central causes of poverty in their communities
and to assist low-income individuals to achieve self-sufficiency
and ensure their basic needs are met.
action agencies use CSBG funding to help low-income Iowans:
- Remove obstacles
and solve problems that block the achievement of self-sufficiency;
- Secure and
retain meaningful employment;
- Attain an
- Make better
use of available income;
- Obtain and
maintain adequate housing and a suitable living environment;
- Obtain emergency
assistance to meet the immediate and urgent family needs;
- Achieve greater
participation in the affairs of communities; and
- Address the
needs of youth in low-income communities.