Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.
Funded by federal Community Services Block Grants supplemented by local support, Community Action Agencies address causes of poverty, not symptoms. They work to ensure their community has supports, resources and opportunities to help others become economically secure.
A broad spectrum of individuals and families in New Jersey struggle economically. They include people with very low incomes, among them many who are working and are still below the poverty threshold. Based on the latest census data, one of every 10 New Jersey residents lives in poverty. Among children, the rate is even more alarming, with one child in every seven living in poverty. More than 387,000 New Jerseyans lived in "deep poverty" in 2017, meaning their earnings didn't add up to even half the poverty line. In 2017, nearly 14 percent of Garden State children lived in poverty, compared to 18.4 percent nationally. The rate of poverty was even greater among African American and Latino children. While the state’s 10-percent poverty rate is lower than the national rate of 13.4 percent, the state number obscures the true scope of economic struggle in New Jersey because of our cost of living. Nationally, New Jersey ranks as one of the most expensive states to live in. Census data indicate a large number of low-income households spent so much money on rent that they had little left for other living expenses and their basic needs.
Nationally, over 1,000 eligible entities receive Community Services Block Grant funding annually. In fiscal year 2017, CSBG funding served 15 million individuals, or 6.2 million families. Of those helped, 3.9 million were children, 2.3 million were seniors and 1.7 million were people with disabilities. Using programs and services tailored to local needs, Community Action Agencies develop human capacity and decrease dependency. The CSBG Network is working daily to help families become stable and achieve economic security.
800,000 low-income households increased financial assets or skills.
4 million families reduced or eliminated barriers to stability through access to childcare, food assistance, after-school programs, and more.
Agencies created or expanded 3.1 million community resources, including public facilities, local businesses, and other entities.
Total volunteer hours donated were valued at just over $1 billion.
116,000 housing units were weatherized, preserved, or otherwise improved.
339,000 people obtained safe, affordable housing.
167,000 people obtained a job.
Local Community Action Agencies are working throughout New Jersey to eradicate poverty and provide direct services in cities, counties and regions. In some cases, multiple agencies offer services in a single county. You can search for a local agency by county or by name. If you’d like to help, CAAs are often recruiting volunteers for programs and services, as well as volunteers to serve as board members. Give one a call.