Community Action Agencies are designated by federal law (the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 as well as the 1981 CSBG Block grant and 1998 CSBG Re-authorization) as the Anti-poverty Agencies in their communities.
These federal laws require that Community Action Agencies conduct Community Needs Assessments regularly and base programming and other resource decisions on the results. CAAs have decades of experience conducting these assessments.
Community Action Agencies receive Community Services Block Grant funds which can be used to leverage competitive grant money requiring a match.
Community Action Agencies are part of the anti-poverty network serving every county in New York State, the only such anti-poverty network in the state.
The New York State Community Action Association has developed a nationally recognized Community Needs Assessment Tool to provide in depth and consistent assessments.
Assessments can be conducted in each community using this tool and a consistent data set and analysis can be developed across all ten designated communities.
Using the existing framework for needs assessment and building on ongoing Community Action Agency assessments will reduce the cost of local assessments, freeing up more of the initial funding for other uses.
Using the existing framework will reduce the time and expense it takes to conduct an assessment, analyze results and move into the action phase.