Community Action Impact
 
 

 

The Community Action Partnership knows that long-lasting positive changes do not come from operating in the same structure as previous years, we needed examine the tough issues preventing people from living self-sufficient lives here in Orange County.  First, we must address the symptoms and reweave the safety-net that has been dismantled with welfare reform and other policies that have not moved people out of poverty but has keep them at a subsistence level with low-wages and few opportunities for the future.  But, we cannot just address only the symptoms; we have to become the solution.

With the goal of long-term, sustainable change in mind, we looking at new initiatives to build family economic self-sufficiency to focus on what has lead individuals to seek assistance and offer them the answers to move them out of poverty and on the road to self-sufficiency.  
We are working with Orange County’s United Way, OC Works, our two Family Resource Center, Wells Fargo, our Earned Income Tax Credit Program and CASH (the statewide Coalition of Community Action Partnerships in nine California communities.  Self-sufficiency signifies that a family brings in an income that allows them to meet their basic needs without having to choose between paying for food versus health care or paying rent and in turn sacrificing child care or transportation costs.

According to the Self-Sufficiency Standards being adopted by United Way, a single-parent household with an infant and a preschool-age child living in Orange County needs to earn $49,791 to be considered self-sufficient, allowing them to pay for housing, food, child care, health care, transportation, utilities and taxes – this does not include savings or luxuries like entertainment or travel. Currently, we are applying these standards to a case-management Calculator tool which our partnering organizations will use to measure and track the progress of the individuals and families they serve. With the Calculator, our partnering organizations can report to us where clients are when they enter their programs and will be better equipped to educate clients on the resources available and adjustments needed to help move them out of poverty. Every six months, we will report back to on the advancement of these clients and will continue to monitor their financial stability even after they have left their programs.

Three key areas of concern that we are focusing on include:

  • the attainment of safe and affordable housing,
  • self-sufficient wages for our workforce, and
  • higher levels of education and job-skill training.

There are 34 cities that make up Orange County that have the greatest population of low-income households (making $25,000-$40,000 per year) and face the greatest adversity in matters pertaining to education, income and housing. These cities include: Santa Ana, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Westminster and San Juan Capistrano.
To be effective, we are looking for partnering organization to create an urban reinvestment taskforce to end poverty now.  We are looking at the programs and services our partnering organizations offer within these cities, how their programs align with our key initiatives and how we can mobilize these partners, the business community and residents to take action to address the significant issues in their own neighborhoods. Grassroots movements like those we are working with in La Colonia, and El Modena provides strong concentrated community efforts that will truly impact our communities and change lives.

Community Action Partnership of Orange County knows that it takes a community, not just one organization, to help individuals and families move from crisis to independence. For over 40 years, we know that we could not do what we are doing without the support the community and donors and we are extremely grateful and are so excited to see what changes can be made together.