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Services In High Demand During KY's Community Action Month

May 10, 2010

FRANKFORT, Ky. - May has been proclaimed 'Community Action Month' in Kentucky by Governor Stever Beshear, and the observance comes at a time when many community-based agencies are seeing record demand for their services. Community Action Kentucky (CAK) oversees close to two dozen programs across the state, raising awareness about poverty and offering services to lower-income Kentuckians, ranging from energy assistance to housing, to education and employment help, to Meals on Wheels.

Interim executive director Roger McCann says the idea is to offer that help in such a way that it comes full circle.

"The taxpayer gets a return on investment every time we weatherize a home, and the same thing with Head Start. We hope that those kids will be better educated and be able to get better jobs when they mature and enter the work force."

McCann says the past couple of years truly have put a different face on poverty in Kentucky. People, who once had no idea what Community Action Kentucky was, now turn to it for help.

"They were folks that had jobs and suddenly found themselves unemployed and they risked losing their home, or had lost their home even, and came to us looking for assistance."

McCann shares another of the agency's goals: to find flexibility in the kinds of help CAK provides, without compromising the big picture.

"The client certainly may change and so our programs may change. They bring new issues and new problems that we have to solve, but the mission stays the same."

McCann stresses that Community Action Kentucky isn't about handouts; short-term help is coupled with long-term strategies to lift Kentuckians out of poverty. The groups that make up CAK have combined budgets of about $150 million and employ roughly 4,000 people.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - KY