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Iowa Department of Human Rights

Community Action Agencies

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.

The Community Action Agencies (CAA) Unit addresses issues facing low-income families by bringing resources to the community level.  We link state and federal programs with 16 existing Community Action Agencies and other community based organizations across the state to effectively serve qualified Iowans. 

The programs delivered by CAA strengthen local communities and help Iowa's low-income families and individuals become more economically self-sufficient by:

The Weatherization Assistance Program (Weatherization) is a federal grant program established to help reduce the heating and cooling costs for low-income persons, particularly the elderly, disabled, and children, by improving the energy efficiency of their homes. The installation of energy efficiency measures for each dwelling is based on a computerized energy audit which determines the cost effectiveness of each measure.

Visit the Weatherization homepage for more information, including where to apply for services in your area.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded block grant designed to help eligible low-income Iowa households in the payment of a portion of their non-business residential heating costs for the winter heating season.

Visit the LIHEAP homepage for more information, including where to apply for services in your area.

The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) is a federal block grant program to provide funding to states and local agencies for the reduction of poverty, the revitalization of low-income communities, and the empowerment of low-income families and individuals in rural and urban areas to become fully self-sufficient.

For more information, visit the CSBG homepage.

Families can participate in the Family Development and Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS) program if they are at or below 175% of the federal poverty level, have a dependent child in the home, and meet other program requirements. Families receiving FIP cash assistance and/or participating in PROMISE JOBS are automatically deemed eligible. 

FaDSS provides services statewide, through 15 agencies to families facing multiple barriers to self-sufficiency and provides comprehensive in-home services through certified Family Development Specialists.

Visit the FaDSS homepage for more information, including where to apply for services in your area.