The Purpose of Community Action

Community Action changes people's lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live.

IN-CAA Mission Statement

The Indiana Community Action Association (IN-CAA) works to strengthen the capacity of Indiana's Community Action Agencies to address community needs and poverty.

What is Community Action?

The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (EOA) established more than 1,000 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) at the local level to implement EOA programs.

EOA programs included:

  • VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America)
  • Job Corps
  • Neighborhood Youth Corps
  • Head Start
  • Adult Basic Education
  • Family Planning
  • Community Health Centers
  • Congregate Meal Preparation
  • Economic Development
  • Foster Grandparents
  • Legal Services
  • Neighborhood Centers
  • Summer Youth Programs
  • Senior Centers
  • and others.

CAAs vary widely, with some being nonprofit groups, others being city agencies, and some being community-controlled groups. Many CAAs vary greatly in how their agencies are organized and in the type of services they provide to their local communities. In fact, the number of CAAs has increased and it is now estimated that CAAs serve more than 80 percent of all U.S. counties.

Although CAAs were established over 40 years ago, they have a rich history of advocacy for and service to low-income people and remain important in domestic social policy to the present day.