CAP Services, Inc. has been on the front-line of the war on poverty since 1966. CAP, a private, non-profit corporation, offers programs in Marquette, Outagamie, Portage, Waupaca, and Waushara counties. CAP Services is headquartered in Stevens Point, Wisconsin with offices in each of the five counties it serves.
Nearly three dozen programs are offered by CAP Services through four departments to help people attain economic and emotional self-sufficiency.
The Great Recession resulted in significant financial pressures on families across the country. Some lost jobs, health insurance coverage, and some, their homes. The new difficulty in making ends meet grew to be a common experience for formerly middle-class households. Low-income households often have the deck stacked against them. Their transportation options are limited. In rural areas, they depend on older vehicles that likely need repeated repairs. Even though some work two or more jobs, benefits like health insurance, sick time or retirement programs are rare. If they miss work because of illness or lack of reliable transportation, they can lose their jobs. Limited access to training, language barriers, mental health issues, disabilities or other factors can intensify the challenges before them. What is striking is how many low-income households are working households. Work simply does not pay what is needed to support a household. Poverty grew in most of CAP’s five-county service area, based on US Census information and that from the “Kids Count” Data Center. Disturbing is the high rates of poverty in female-headed households with children. For more information on any County demographics (i.e., percentage of elderly, percentage of those with a high school diploma or college degree), visit: quickfacts.census.gov and click on Wisconsin and the County of interest to you. The charts HERE include some poverty trends by group in CAP’s service area.
Community Action Agencies are the best catalyst for bringing together the public, private and low-income sectors in communities to design and implement local anti-poverty strategies.
When President Lyndon Johnson began the “War on Poverty” in 1964 his goal was to provide the opportunity for every American to enjoy the benefits of the nation’s “Great Society.” As part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, a network of local organizations, known as Community Action Agencies, have pioneered programs which have lifted millions out of the shadow of poverty by “giving a hand, not a handout.” While much has been accomplished, the struggle to provide all citizens with the opportunity to work and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity continues. Visit WISCAP for additional information on Community Action Agencies in Wisconsin.
All Community Action Agencies have low-income representation on their Board of Directors. Additionally, each agency conducts a triennial needs assessment survey of low-income households, the results of which drive the work plans of those agencies. CAP Services conducted its latest survey in the summer of 2013.
CAP Services’ engages in a number of community education initiatives on poverty. One of these are poverty simulations, where one can “walk in the shoes” of a low-income person. Click here to read of participants experiences. Another poverty simulation took place at UWSP for the students in their School of Education. Click here to watch the video.