Poverty is a complex human condition, which in many respects lingers outside traditional market economics. Poverty creates barriers for human progress, restricting individual opportunity. Its impacts need to be addressed locally for maximized results. Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, Inc. (HACAP) is one of eighteen Iowa community action agencies (CAAs), providing flexible and adaptive programs and services that work toward removing those barriers to self-sufficiency while maintaining a person’s dignity. HACAP provides service in six counties (Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington). In 2005 the U.S. Census estimated that approximately 400,000 people live in 152,000 households in our service area with 12% of families living below the federally defined poverty threshold and 31% living in low-income conditions.
Efficient local action requires input from an entire community. At its best, community action integrates federal, state, and local resources – both private and public – to innovatively engage low-income citizens in advancing from dependency to self-sufficiency. In addition to monetary and in-kind resources, HACAP programs annually involve approximately 1300 volunteers, providing over 12,000 volunteer-hours. Our programs and services are dedicated to the sustained improvement of human life by bridging the gap between situations of poverty, and emotional or economic self-sufficiency. In networking with other community organizations, we can coordinate to build local capabilities to sustain long-term individual and family progress to self-sufficiency.
Currently, we provide seventeen primary programs, focusing on five primary areas of self-sufficiency:
- Early childhood development;
- Family Resources;
- Health & Nutrition; and
Our programs and services are dedicated toward the sustained improvement of human life through the coordination resources. We ensure administrative flexibility and community relevance by building community relationships and actively involving the economic disadvantaged through board membership. By bringing together private sector, public sector and low-income community representatives, HACAP’s Board of Directors provides strategic and innovative leadership to optimize local solutions for poverty issues.
HACAP embraces the philosophy of “a help up, not a hand out” in our commitment to empower and improve the lives of families, living with the everyday barriers of poverty. We understand that poverty is a condition of a person’s bank account and not an indication of an individual’s or family’s spirit or self-worth. As we move forward, we will focus on our commitment to eliminate poverty and make our communities better places to love.