Oregon's Poverty Fighting Network


A few highlights of the history of Community Action and the role of Oregon Community Action Agencies within a national historical context:

See also the CAPO Timeline

1964 President Lyndon Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act establishing community action agencies and programs
1970 Donald Rumsfeld, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, issues OEO Instruction 6320-1 establishing the mission and the model of community action. The emphases are on family, agency and community.

  • “Family – “to stimulate a better focusing of all available local, state, private and Federal resources upon the goal of enabling low-income families in rural and urban areas to secure the opportunities needed for them to become self-sufficient.”
  • Community – “to make the entire community more responsive to the needs and interests of the poor by mobilizing resources …effectiveness is measured by the improvements and changes it achieves in the community’s attitudes and practices toward the poor and in the allocation and focusing of public and private resources for antipoverty purposes.”
  • Agency –“It should establish realistic, attainable objectives, consistent with the basic mission established in this Instruction and expressed in concrete terms which permit the measurement of results. Given the size of the poverty problem and its own limited resources, the CAA should concentrate its efforts on one or two major objectives where it can have the greatest impact.”
1974 Community Service Act replaces Economic Opportunity Act
1981 Community Service Act replaced by Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) Act. State offices now installed as recipients of the Block Grant funding and therefore as intermediaries for local Community Action Agencies. States given responsibility for submitting “community action plans” to identify how funding will be distributed to local agencies, and for assuring that the local agencies were meeting identified community anti- poverty needs
1993 Congress passes Government Performance and Results Act to improve Federal program effectiveness and public accountability by promoting a new focus on results, service quality and customer satisfaction
1994 Amendment to CSBG Act established six national goals and outcome measures by which community action agencies will be measured:

  1. Low-income people become more self-sufficient (Family)
  2. Conditions in which low-income people live are improved (Community)
  3. Low-income people own a stake in their community (Community)
  4. Partnerships among supporters and providers of services to low-income people are achieved (Agency)
  5. Agencies increase their capacity to achieve results (Agency)
  6. Low-income people, especially vulnerable populations, achieve their potential by strengthening family and supportive systems (Family)
1994 Office of Community Services Introduces ROMA – Results-Oriented Management and Accountability. It is defined as a performance-based initiative designed to preserve the anti- poverty focus of community action and promote greater effectiveness among state and local agencies receiving CSBG funds.
1998 CSBG Act Reauthorized by Congress, ROMA identified as the comprehensive performance-based management system to be implemented across the entire community services network of community action agencies.
2001 The Office of Community Services issues an Information Memo instructing State Offices and CSBG eligible entities to implement ROMA, identifying Core Activities required of both State recipients of the Block Grant and local Eligible Entities who ultimately receive the funding. Then Director of the Division of State Assistance commented, “The goals convey the unique strengths that the broader concept of Community Action brings to the Nation’s anti-poverty efforts.”
2005 Implementation of National Indicators of Community Action Performance, developed by the National Association of State Community Service Programs.
2009 The Office of Management and Budget releases a new Performance Progress Reporting Form to collect performance information from recipients of Federal funds. The ROMA Logic Model is included in the PPR.
2011 The Office of Community Services develops a national strategic approach to implement the Obama administration’s focus on the following objectives:

  • Emphasis on place-based services to address causes and impacts of poverty
  • Increased accountability for performance
  • Promotion of evidence-based practices to achieve results.
2014 Working through its network of State agencies and the national Community Action Partnership, Office of Community Services prepares to issue new performance measures for community action agencies, state partners and updated ROMA outcome measures.
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