Release Date: January 19, 2023

SACRAMENTO— On the first day of 2023, community challenges of unprecedented breadth confronted California: severe winter storms, massive high winds, flooding, landslides, and mudslides. This unrelenting devastation across our state expanded the need for resources and opportunities for families in every community.  The California Community Action Agencies (CAAs) responded, once again, to this dynamic threat landscape with leadership, services capabilities, cross-component collaboration, and unflinching dedication to their missions.

“The capabilities of the Californian Community Action network continuously mature and increase resources to meet the challenges our state faces,” said David Knight, California Community Action Partnership Association’s  (CalCAPA) Executive Director. “This is possible because of the over 100,000 extraordinary personnel who fulfill their local missions selflessly, tirelessly, and with integrity, often under the most difficult of circumstances. Our Community Action Agencies are more fit for purpose than ever before, and we deliver results for the California people every single day.”

The threat of both community and family emergency needs from adverse social and environmental actors has only increased, and the adverse financial impacts are greater in both intensity and number. The CAAs are confronting these threats through its long standing local partnerships with local governments, the private sector, and other community service organizations.

The CAAs constantly take concrete steps and operationalize strategies to address surges in encounters in each of their communities, the result of an unprecedented level of needs for families with less financial means to overcome constant crises in our communities. But this work is not new. Each new year means we mark the National War on Poverty Day and National Poverty in America Awareness Month, a time to reflect on the impact of the Economic Opportunity Act and several other policies first introduced in 1964 and enacted as President Lyndon B. Johnson’s response to the rising poverty rate in the country at the time.

When Lyndon B. Johnson unofficially introduced the War on Poverty in his State of the Union address on January 8, 1964, the national poverty level of the United States was at a whopping 19%. After this speech, the Economic Poverty Act was passed which led to actions that were meant to reduce the poverty levels and improve the living conditions of low-income neighborhoods across the nation.

The following years led to a few different bipartisan initiatives and programs in the US. These included legal services, Head Start, VISTA, Job Corps, and Community Action Agencies. The efforts were meant to meet social, emotional, health, nutritional, and psychological needs to bring people out of poverty.

Local Community Action Agencies are honored to continue with this impactful work and CalCAPA is grateful for our fellow agencies across the country who work each and every day to “help people and change lives”. 

CalCAPA continues to rebuild and retool the state’s largest boots on the ground system, removing barriers to relief and fulfilling the goals of programs that Congress passed long ago. While the effects of climate change have been evident in the increasing frequency and gravity of extreme weather events that have devastated communities across the country, through the CAA network and its other agencies, CalCAPA agencies have continued to be the go to respondent to quickly provide response and recovery assistance to the impacted communities. They continue to be “ready-to-serve” while also building community capacity to overcome daily lack of opportunity for families in poverty.

Community Action has executed a wide range of actions designed to strengthen the network, support its people, improve its processes, and better serve Californians. While Community Action has long been the go-to answer for recovery, it takes every community member involved. Community Action is unique in that it taps into the knowledge, expertise and resources of all the community. This includes people of low income with lived experience. “One thing that always stands out about Community Action, we are there when disaster strikes but we are also made up of people that work and live in the community constantly, so they are there way after the recovery begins and ends,” explained David Knight. “Community Action Agencies’ board of directors have a tripartite structure which includes an equal distribution of leadership among pollical, business and people of low income representation.”

Community Action relies on this long-developed infrastructure to put local recovery strategies in place. As individuals begin to look into opportunities to help their neighbors recover, Community Action is the opportunity to invest locally into resources and opportunities. 

For more information on how you can assist in your Community Action Agency efforts for today and tomorrow, visit: and register to help or donate today.