The founders and framers of Community Action back in the 1960s were keenly astute and perceptive, as proven by their having established a successful institutional framework that has survived nationally – and in Wisconsin – for 50 years.
One of their more brilliant ideas was that Community Action Agencies (CAAs) establish and require a tri-partite governing Boards of Directors; one-third shall be elected public officials; at least one-third shall represent poor persons, and the remaining members shall represent specific groups of areas within the community. Continue Reading
The Delavan-Darien School District reports sixty-nine percent of its students receive free or reduced lunch, a number second only to Milwaukee Public Schools in a review of poverty in Wisconsin’s schools. The manager of Twin Oaks Shelter for the Homeless, located in the Town of Darien, sees this statistic as part of a larger trend of serving the working poor.
“Last year 22% of the homeless people who entered Twin Oaks already had employment and this year 29% entered with employment in place,” says manager Renae Mitchell. “In some cases people may even be working more than one job but their income still is not enough to meet obligations like child support, living expenses and rent.”
Living in poverty profoundly affects these families. Continue Reading
Community Action Agencies know starting a program from scratch is never easy; taking over a program previously run by another agency is even more challenging.
This summer, Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency, Inc. (NWCSA) acquired the former Superior-Douglas County Senior Citizen Center. Now known as the Senior Center, this program is in its fledgling stage. Continue Reading
The Oconto Falls High School’s Tech-Ed Class worked hard the month of August to get a good start on a second duplex built for elderly/handicapped area people. The Community Housing Project began in 2002 when a donated lot on Fifth Street in Oconto was developed into the very first fully accessible, universally designed duplex. It was such a great project, addressing an important community need, that it was decided to continue to develop safe and affordable housing for handicapped individuals and the elderly.
Community Action is commemorating 50 years of existence in 2014. In 1964 our nation declared an “unconditional war on poverty.” In President Johnson’s first State of the Union address on January 8, 1964 he brought up the concept of a war on poverty:
“Unfortunately, many Americans live on the outskirts of hope-some because of their poverty, and some because of their color, and all too many because of both. Our task is to help replace their despair with opportunity. This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America. I urge this Congress and all Americans to join me in that effort. It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until the war is won. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it. Poverty is a national problem, requiring improved national organization and support. But this attack, to be effective, must be organized at the State and the local level and must be supported and directed by State and local efforts.” Continue Reading