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Iowa Department of Human Rights

Iowa Community Action Agencies

About Community Action Agencies

Community action agencies are nonprofit private and public organizations established under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to fight America’s War on Poverty.  Community action agencies help people to help themselves in achieving self-sufficiency.  Today there are approximately 1,000 community action agencies serving the poor in every state as well as Puerto Rico and the Trust Territories.

The service areas of community action agencies cover 99% of the nations counties.  The community action agencies are a primary source of direct support for more than 9 million people who live in poverty in the United States.  The majority of community action agency program participants are extremely poor, with incomes below 75 percent of the federal poverty threshold, or $16,470 for a family of three (the average family size for the client population).

In federal fiscal year 2019, the Community Action network served over 4.8 million families and 9.6 million individuals.


Iowa's Community Action Agencies

The Community Action movement was created in 1964, as result of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.  Since that time, Community Action has become a national network of local agencies that exist to develop solutions to poverty.

More than 278,000 Iowans are assisted annually by Iowa’s 16 community action agencies through a wide range of programs and services that are at the forefront of innovative strategies to empower low-income citizens to become self-sufficient and full participants in their communities.

Iowa’s community action agencies are locally-based private, non-profit organizations that network with a wide-array of local organizations to enhance the opportunities for low-income Iowans to meet basic needs and develop their own capacity to do so.

Iowa’s community action agencies possess extremely efficient and effective delivery systems that maximize the federal, state, and local resources in providing services to citizens in all of Iowa’s 99 counties, with $277 million invested in the futures of low-income Iowans during federal fiscal year 2022.

Iowa’s community action agencies, in partnership with the Iowa Community Action Association and the Division of Community Action Agencies, are committed to helping low-income Iowans change their lives by breaking the cycle of poverty and removing the barriers to achieve self-sufficiency.

For more information regarding Iowa’s community action agencies, please contact the Iowa Community Action Association or a community action agency outreach office.