Press Release: New Data from Community Action Agencies Show Number of People Receiving Anti-Poverty Services Increased in 2013

CAFCA | May 16, 2014 |

HARTFORD – Thursday, May 15, 2014 – As the nation continues to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, numbers released at a press conference today by the Connecticut Association for Community Action (CAFCA) show that this war is still being fought across state today. The data shows that more people required the services of Connecticut’s 11 Community Action Agencies (CAAs)?the state and federally-designated anti-poverty agencies?in 2013 than in 2012.

“It is clear to us that the War on Poverty continues, and while the recession of a few years ago may have ended, the increase it caused in those needing anti-poverty services in Connecticut has not subsided,” Dr. James Gatling, chairman of CAFCA’s Board of Directors, said today. Dr. Gatling is also President/CEO of New Opportunities, Inc. of Waterbury, one of the state’s CAAs.  These agencies serve as the front-line providers to hundreds of thousands of people in need in Connecticut, and are funded by the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG).

The information released today by CAFCA clearly illustrates that the number of individuals and families who utilized CAA programs and services increased from 2012 to 2013. The numbers show the following:





Individuals Requiring CAA Services




Families Requiring CAA Services




Conditions of Poverty Addressed by CAAs through CSBG funds


576, 437



(Additional materials are attached that show a full breakdown of the 2012 and 2013 services received through CSBG funds)

The percentage of families served in poverty in Connecticut is also up from last year (from 44% in 2012 to 48% in 2013), and those served that are in severe poverty saw an increase as well (18% to 24%).

“These are alarming numbers, and it is critical that we understand who these recipients are. They are the working poor, many of whom hold several jobs, as well as people who are elderly, infirm or recently unemployed,” Dr. Gatling added.

CAFCA Executive Director Edith Karsky added, “What we have noticed in recent years is that people are coming to our doors and seeking services from our 11 Community Action Agencies who have never sought our services before. The number of ‘working poor’ in Connecticut is growing, and we continue to do all that we can to support them. To do this, we depend on continued support from both the State of Connecticut and from the federal government.”

The 11 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) serve all 169 cities and towns in Connecticut, and offer various programs and services to help our state’s most vulnerable residents and their communities. Those programs and services include energy assistance, employment and training, child and family development, Head Start, asset development, independent living for vulnerable populations, supportive housing, holistic case management, and more.

The War on Poverty was first launched by President Lyndon Johnson in January of 1964, and led to the creation of Community Action Agencies nationwide as well as numerous Great Society programs.


Dan Tapper

Sullivan & LeShane Public Relations, Inc.

860-560-0001 (office)

860-573-4236 (mobile)