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Raising Poverty Awareness During Community Action Month

May 16, 2011

FRANKFORT, Ky. - May has been proclaimed "Community Action Month" in Kentucky by Governor Steve Beshear, and the observance comes at a time of high demand for services provided by many community-based agencies. Community Action Kentucky executive director Rob Jones says the agency implements several government programs, but also partners with private entities to help lift people out of poverty.

He says Community Action Kentucky works to make sure that cash-strapped Kentuckians keep a roofs over their heads, the lights on, and air conditioning running through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, LI-HEAP.

"We have local programs that very specifically target rental assistance, but we also have programs right now where we're working to reduce the burden in, of course, heating and cooling with our weatherization programs, with our LI-HEAP programs."

Community Action Agencies across the state and nation are highlighting their poverty-fighting work and hosting poverty simulations to help raise awareness about the plight of the working poor. Through its nearly two dozen programs statewide, Community Action offers housing, education and job-placement services to low-income Kentuckians.

Jones says the anemic economy has put a different face on poverty in Kentucky, with those new to financial hardships turning to Community Action for a hand-up, not a hand-out.

"There is a value to assisting the poor beyond the simple humanitarian importance of it. And that value is worth the dollars that not only the government puts into it, but that the private sector puts into it."

Jones says Community Action is working to partner with other groups to ensure affordable housing for renters and low-to-moderate-income home buyers, hard-pressed to get a first-time loan because of tightened credit from mortgage lenders.

More information is available at www.communityactionky.org

Renee Shaw, Public News Service - KY