What is Community Action?
The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 created Community Action Agencies (CAA) nationwide to help "wage the war on poverty." The legislation created such programs as Head Start, Job Corps, Adult Basic Education, Community Health Centers and numerous programs to help those in poverty.
During those years there was enormous variety within the 1,800 CAAs which developed. Today, only half of these organizations survive. Funding for CAAs is now supported through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) dollars.
Economic Opportunities Council Mission Statement
To partner with all aspects of the community in the creation of opportunities for low-income families to become self-sufficient and own a stake in their community.
Vision of the Economic Opportunities Council
EOC works to coordinate with the poor, private and public sectors of the community to identify and eliminate the causes of poverty. EOC partners in the creation of a community wherein all low-income people become self-sufficient; the conditions in which the live are improved; they have a stake in their community and achieve their full potential.
About Our Board of Directors
EOC is governed by a 12 member voluntary Board of Directors. Due to receiving CSBG funds, the Board is a "tripartite" board which includes: one-third representatives from low-income families or organizations which serve them; one-third elected officials or their designees; one-third public/private groups such as business, education, law enforcement, etc.
EOC Boards are to reflect and promote the unique anti-poverty leadership, action, and mobilization responsibilities designated to them under CSBG. The Board continues to respond to the causes and conditions of poverty in our community, achieve family and community outcomes and remain administratively and fiscally sound.
Through CSBG funds, CAAs are charged with addressing six (6) national goals for community action within their communities. These goals focus on the family, the community and the granting agency and include:
- 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.
In designing Individual Self-Sufficiency Plans (ISSP) consumers are assessed in seven (7) domain areas: housing, employment, education, health, childcare, transportation and nutrition. Using a matrix, family risk levels are evaluated with specific goals and objectives designed to help families move from "in crisis" to "thriving".
EOC provides financial support to help clients increase and/or acquire new vocational skills and education and assists to eliminate barriers that have kept low-income people out of the work force. Consumers are referred to other community resources to further address needs.
EOC receives funding support from the following sources:
- Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Department of Health & Human Services (for Head Start)
- Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Funds (VPK)
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- John's Island Community Service League
- United Way