Reaching Out To Those In Need
The mission of Pee Dee Community Action Partnership is to develop and improve low-income communities and neighborhoods through economic and related development, with a primary function of developing projects and activities designed to enhance economic opportunities of the people we serve and to implement and advocate developmental and human services delivery programs for socially and economically disadvantaged elderly, children and families. Our program performance will be tracked with the use of the ROMA and other Federal and State mandated systems.
Strengthening Community Capabilities
The Pee Dee Community Action Partnership is a private, non-profit organization which serves low-income residents in the tri-counties of Florence, Marion and Dillon.
The major goals of the agency are to:
1. Strengthen community capabilities for planning and coordination to insure that available assistance related to the elimination of poverty can be more responsive to local needs and conditions.
2. Develop better organization of services related to the needs of the poor.
3. Maximize feasible participation of the poor in the development and implementation of all programs and projects designed to serve the poor.
4. Broaden the resource base of programs directed to the elimination of poverty so as to include all elmenets of the community able to influence the quality and quantity of services to the poor.
5. Increase new types of services and innovative approaches in attacking causes of poverty, so as to develop increasingly effective methods of employing available resources.
6. Maximize employment opportunities, including opportunities for further occupational training and career development, for residents of the area and members of the groups served.
Community Action Agencies were created with the enactment of the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) of 1964. The ambitious purpose of this statute was to eliminate the causes and consequences of poverty in the United States. The Act established a federal Office of Economic Opportunity, formed state Economic Opportunity offices, and created new community-based organizations called Community Action Agencies (CAAs).
From the start, CAAs were expected to act as laboratories for innovative methods of eliminating causes of poverty, causes that neither private efforts, post-war economic growth, nor the public programs initiated before and after World War II had been able to eliminate. CAAs succeeded dramatically in this role. For example, it is in the Community Services Network that the Head Start program was developed, refined, and shared with other institutions. Today, CAAs remain the single largest delivery system for Head Start programs. Legal Services, the Community Food and Nutrition Program, Foster Grandparents, and National Youth Sports are just a few of the successful programs that began in the Community Services Network. Between 1964 and 1980 Governors and Congress regularly adapted pilot programs from CAAs to become nationwide programs. Among the largest of these programs were the energy crisis assistance programs and pilot energy conservation programs in several New England and Midwestern states. In the mid-1970s these became national programs, now known respectively as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (DOE/WAP). In 1981 President Reagan reduced the federal government’s role by consolidating many domestic social programs into block grants to the States. The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) was one of six block grant programs created under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981.
While federal funding had been previously awarded directly to local agencies through several programs, the CSBG dollars now go to the States, which are required to allocate 90 percent of the funds to local “eligible entities,” most of which are CAAs. No more than five percent of the federal funds may be used by the States to administer the grant, and another five percent may be used to support state discretionary programs.
There is no “typical” Community Action Agency. No two CAAs are exactly alike because each is governed by the leadership and specific needs of its local community. Despite this fact, there is a typical CAA approach to fighting the causes of poverty. CAAs recognize that there are many different causes of poverty. Since each family is likely to be affected by more than one of these causes, local agencies offer a variety of programs that serve low-income children, families, and seniors. They coordinate emergency assistance, provide weatherization services, sponsor youth programs, operate senior centers, and provide transportation in rural areas. CAAs provide linkages to job training opportunities, GED preparation courses, and vocational education programs. They provide a range of services addressing poverty-related problems from income management and credit counseling to entrepreneurial development and small business incubators; from domestic violence crisis assistance to family development programs and parenting classes; from food pantries and emergency shelters to low-income housing development and community revitalization projects.
The common goal, enabling people to become independent of any public or charitable assistance, engenders common CAA operating methods. In general, CAAs prioritize prevention initiatives and provide extended involvement with clients to support the length of time and variety of assistance required to increase their opportunity to be economically self-sufficient. When agencies provide crisis services or when they distribute food or goods, they seek to make those contacts with their clients an introduction to opportunities for moving the clients away from dependence on stop-gap aid.
Today, the Community Action Network is made up of approximately 1,000 local, private, non-profit and public agencies that work to alleviate poverty and empower low-income families in communities throughout the United States. Most of these agencies are Community Action Agencies (CAAs) created through the Economic Opportunity Act. The balance, included under the CSBG, follow similar guidelines for structure and service. CAAs serve over 16 million low-income people yearly in 96 percent of the nation’s counties. In Pennsylvania, every county is covered by a Community Action Agency.
Pee Dee Community Action Partnership History
The turmoil of the 1960’s brought about many needed changes in our country’s history. A new day was dawning in 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Economic Opportunity Act, giving birth to the organization of Pee Dee Community Action Partnership in 1969. Pee Dee Community Action Partnership is a nationally affiliated, nonprofit organization serving the needs of low income residents of Florence, Marion, and Dillon Counties.
Over the past 40 years, PDCAP has established a strong history of providing a wide range of services to the low income community, currently managing over 20 successful federal, state, and local programs. Primary funding for PDCAP’s operation and programs are derived from federal, state, and local grant monies, totaling well over 15 million dollars annually. Under the leadership of Mr. Walter Fleming, Jr., PDCAP has increased it’s funding by over 30 percent.
PDCAP is locally governed by a Board of Directors, comprised of 18 members. One third of the members originate from the private sector, one third from the public sector, and final third represents the low income communities we proudly serve. PDCAP has historically been and continues to be a catalyst for the economic advancement of the less fortunate. In the past year, PDCAP has secured federal grant funding for over 5 new programs, furthering its commitment of excellence in the community. The evolution of PDCAP is a testament to our commitment to service delivery.
For more information on CAA’s, visit the South Carolina Community Action Agencies http://www.scacap.org/home0.aspx or Community Action Partnership websites.