Some people seeking support come to the Hawai’i County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC) think they are coming to a County of Hawai’i department or agency. While HCEOC considers itself a partner of Hawai’i County and their work in communities, HCEOC is actually a part of a much larger and longstanding national partnership linking communities all across the nation to tackle the complex issues surrounding poverty. HCEOC along with Maui Economic Opportunity Council, Honolulu Community Action Program Inc., and Kaua’i Economic Opportunity Council are all members of the Community Action Partnership. The Community Action Partnership is a national, 501(c)3 nonprofit membership organization that provides technical assistance, training, and other resources to Community Action Agencies, nonprofit and public groups funded by the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), a federal program that allocates funding to states to connect Americans to greater opportunity.
Community Action was part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty and from the advocacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 created the Community Action Network of national and locally-focused organizations that connect millions of children and families to greater opportunity.
A Community Action Agency, like HCEOC, carries out its mission through a variety of means including:
(a) Community-wide assessments of needs and strengths;
(b) Comprehensive antipoverty plans and strategies;
(c) Provision of a broad range of direct services;
(d) Mobilization of financial and nonfinancial resources;
(e) Advocacy on behalf of low-income people; and
(f) Partnerships with other community-based organizations to eliminate poverty.
Additionally, HCEOC follows CSBG Organizational Standards that allow us to assess our performance and develop quality improvement actions to improve deficiencies and scale-out our successes.
A key aspect of HCEOC is involving the population it serves in the planning, administering, and evaluating of its programs. For HCEOC district councils have been created in order to engage the population we serve. At the Hamakua district meeting on Monday, February 3rd, HCEOC board member Dwight Takamine collected feedback from the community regarding transportation needs for seniors as well as increasing HCEOC services information to communities. In the past these councils contributed important information for the HCEOC community needs assessment and action plan.