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After the federal government acted to establish its first policies to address the inequality of poverty in America, the concept of local control of such policies was born. In 1964, Congress passed and then – President Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act into existence. An important feature of the law was to create local community action programs (CAP) in counties across America. These CAPs would be governed by a board of local residents representing low-income, public, and private sectors. The composition of the organizational governance was intended to ensure that CAP activities reflected local conditions and perspectives. While the federal government would provide some funds for operations the intent was that the local communities would leverage additional resources to accomplish a larger impact on poverty using strategies planned by local CAPs

In January 1967, several members of the local community agreed to form a new organization to qualify for new federal antipoverty funds made possible by the adoption of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 by Congress.  The effort to create the first antipoverty program in Butte County garnered support from a broad cross-section of the community.  In accordance with the General Non-Profit Corporation Law of the State of California the Butte County Economic Opportunity Council, Inc. was formed to be managed by a board of directors pursuant to California State Non-profit law to accomplish the purposes identified in the articles of incorporation and by-laws. Programs developed and operated by the EOC included feeding, student tutoring and childcare (Head Start).
In the 1970’s the EOC created Neighborhood Centers to provide services to residents.  The Senior Nutrition Program was created to provide healthy and social opportunities for the elderly.  The focus continued on supporting student achievement and development.  Some programs originally started by the agency, including job training, legal services, were spun off to be separate organizations.
During that time, Community Action Agency responded to the energy crisis by creating innovative strategies that have endured to the present day. Residential weatherization provided job training and energy efficiency measures for homes of low-income residents to reduce energy cost burdens and enable better use of limited resources.  It also marshaled resources from diverse sources including the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Labor. 
In the 1980’s the agency lived up to its catalyst role by collaborating with local landlords to host Senior Nutrition servicing sites. In addition, the agency became the distributor of federal surplus commodities during the recession that took place at that time. The distribution actively continues to the present day because of the rise in the cost of living.  Through a network of volunteers, the agency continues to address hunger issues.  The agency with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
assistance purchased or leased several single-family homes for use in addressing emergency housing or homeless needs of families.  In addition, motel vouchers were made available to families as emergency shelter.
As the decade of the 1990’s arrived the agency partnered with private individuals, Dr. Gary Incaudo and Greg Webb, to assemble state and local resources to create the north state’s first transitional housing program for families.  The program, the Esplanade House, has continued and grown to be the largest supportive housing program in the north state.  The Agency’s private weatherization program, funded by PG & E that started in the 1980s grew in the 1990’s to include services in surrounding counties and Reno, Nevada.
As the new century has arrived, the agency embraced technology and opened a community technology center in South Oroville. The Esplanade House achieved a major expansion by constructing a new location.  The agency built single-family affordable housing as infill project in partnership with the City of Oroville.  The child development effort added infant and toddler programs to its offering.  Several installations of solar hot water systems representing the Agency’s entry into renewable energy technologies.

In 2017, Community Action Agency of Butte County celebrated 50 years of helping people and changing lives. In honor of our 50 years of service, we were pleased to accept resolutions from the City of Chico, the County of Butte, the California State Senate, and Laura Page, Representative for Congressman LaMalfa.

CAA 50 Years