I have sometimes referred to myself as an obscure elected official in San Antonio. I am not on the city council, I am not the dog catcher either. I am one of five elected Representatives of the Poor on the Community Action Advisory Board with the city of San Antonio. I have heard Congressman Charlie Gonzalez describe the Representative of the Poor as the most important elected office that no one has ever heard of.
In a nutshell, the Community Action Advisory Board serves as over site of the Community Action Programs run by the city’s Department of Community Initiatives. We also advise the city council on poverty issues in our community. The area I represent makes up San Antonio city council districts 8, 9, 10, and the adjoining parts of Bexar County. This would be the north side of town.
Perhaps the biggest issue I face in the more affluent north side of San Antonio is getting out the word that poverty is a real issue in this part of town and that there are people who are poor, at risk of becoming poor, or are even homeless and hungry living and working in their community.
Below is information on the Community Action Advisory Board taken from our website. I thought it would be useful to know this information on this little known, yet very important and relevant community board.
COMMUNITY ACTION ADVISORY BOARD (CAAB)MISSION STATEMENT
A forum for policy on poverty and to assure that the issues of the poor are effectively heard and addressed, and to inspire self-sufficiency in individuals and families, respecting and recognizing their desire to make a change for themselves and their families.
The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) is a federal, anti-poverty block grant which funds the operations of a state-administered network of local agencies.
This CSBG network consists of agencies that create, coordinate and deliver programs and services to low-income Americans in 96 percent of the nation’s counties. Link to National Web site
The City of San Antonio, Department of Community Initiatives (DCI) is the designated Community Action Agency and the Community Services Block Grant eligible entity for Bexar County. The Department of Community Initiatives (DCI) has also operated the Community Action Program (CAP) since 1979.
ROLES OF THE COMMUNITY ACTION ADVISORY BOARD
The Community Action Advisory Board (CAAB) acts in an advisory capacity to the City Council on the operation of the Community Action Program, and oversees the extent and quality of services to the poor.
Low-income people become more self–sufficient.
The conditions in which low-income people live are improved.
Low-income people own a stake in their community.
Partnerships among supporters and providers of service to low-income people are achieved.
Agency increases its capacity to achieve results.
Low-income people, especially vulnerable populations, achieve their potential by strengthening family and other supportive systems.
The Community Action Advisory Board Meetings are held the 1st Wednesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. Please call (210) 207-2128 for location.