Mission Statement: Promoting Self-Sufficiency
We provide a local approach to address the causes and conditions of poverty by promoting self-sufficiency in Jackson, Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties through programming, advocacy and leadership.
Our efforts are primarily focused on 5 target areas: Housing, Education, Employment, Community Development, and Health & Nutrition.
Who We Serve
The communities of Jackson, Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties.
In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “War on Poverty” and created Community Action Agencies through the Economic Opportunity Act. The Jackson-Hillsdale Commission on Economic Opportunity opened its doors in 1965 to serve those counties, while Community Action was established in Adrian to serve Lenawee County. The two organizations merged in 1974, incorporating as Region II Community Action Agency, serving Jackson, Lenawee and Hillsdale counties.
Over the years Community Action Agency has made an enormous impact in the tri-county area. We are proud to have been instrumental in bringing several programs to the area, such as: Head Start, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), VITA, Housing Assistance for at-risk or homeless citizens, Individual Development Account Program (IDA), Weatherization Assistance, Residential Lead Remediation, Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), and many more. Throughout our 50+ years, we continue to advocate for social and economic opportunity for everyone.
- In 1965 – Community Action introduced Project Head Start as a summer school in Jackson & Hillsdale, which grew into a more permanent four-month program for 375 preschoolers in 1967 with a budget of $178,000. The first van for the program was purchased in 1971.
- Women, Infants & Children (W.I.C) was a new idea in 1974 and we embraced it! Community Action Agency continues to operate the program in Lenawee County, providing health and nutrition services to over 1,500 women and infants per month.
- Migrant Councils were organized in Lenawee County to protect workers from unhealthy working conditions. We have helped migrants gain work status and receive health care for over 30 years.
- In 1996, CAA was awarded its first HUD Supportive Housing Program funds to provide housing assistance to the homeless. In 1999, we expanded this supportive housing work with 18 units of transitional housing in partnership with the local domestic violence shelter, AWARE.
- In 1998, we became the Work First provider for all three counties. Since 1998, Community Action Agency has placed well over 6,000 adults in jobs.
- In 1999, CAA became a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) and stepped-up involvement in housing and community development. Working through a partnership with Sterling Group, Inc. we built Ashton Ridge Apartments in Jackson County. Today the 144-unit affordable housing complex remains fully occupied, with a successful CAA Head Start classroom located on site.
- In 2005, CAA’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program prepared 1,579 tax returns using 52 trained volunteers. These tax returns brought over $1,456,800 back to families in our three counties.