In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act and declared a War on Poverty. This Act established the Office of Economic Opportunity and the Anti-poverty Programs. Concerned citizens in Jefferson County met to determine how the Economic Opportunity Act could address the needs identified in the community. As a result in 1965 a non-profit corporation, the Jefferson County Community Opportunity Corporation, was formed. That same year Jefferson County had its first summer Head Start Program and first Neighborhood Youth Corp Program. In 1966 the agency expanded its services to include home management aide programs. Two major changes took place in 1969. First, Franklin County asked to be a part of our agency and we became Jefferson Franklin Community Action Corporation. Second, JFCAC began its first full year Head Start Program.
From 1965—1974 JFCAC operated three main programs: Outreach and Referral, Neighborhood Youth Corp and Head Start. These programs were federally funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity (which later became the Community Services Administration) and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
The next fifteen year period from 1975—1989 was JFCAC’s biggest expansion of programs and the start of many innovative projects that addressed several causes of poverty. JFCAC saw the start and demise of many programs. Some of the programs developed and implemented during this time are still available today such as our Housing Assistance Program, our WIC program in Jefferson County, our Weatherization Program, and our Energy Assistance Program. In 1989 we celebrated the 25h national anniversary of Community Action.
The next twenty years (1990—2010) was a stabilizing and growing period for our six main programs: Head Start, Housing, Weatherization, Energy Assistance, Community Services and Jefferson County WIC. These programs became the core of our agency and have assisted thousands of individuals annually.
The future for JFCAC and the low-income families we serve may be challenging as many families continue to struggle with financial insecurity and the programs we offer as safety nets continue to face the threat of budget cuts. We are diligently working to renew and maintain our partnerships within our communities to meet the new realities of the decade. JFCAC’s mission is more important than ever: to empower low-income individuals and families to reach their highest level of success by integrating community resources.