On March 16, 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th President of the United States declares a “War on Poverty” in America. He states,
“The war on poverty is not a struggle simply to support people, to make them dependent on the generosity of others. It is a struggle to give people a chance. It is an effort to allow them to develop and use their capacities, as we have been allowed to develop and use ours, so that they can share, as others share, in the promise of this nation.”
~ President Johnson’s address to Congress in March 1964
The president’s 1964 address to Congress set the stage for the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act, of 1964. In the same year, a Committee at Large meeting was held in Billings Montana at the City Recreation Offices to establish a local anti-poverty agency. The purpose of this agency would be to engage the entire community, especially low-income residents, in addressing the causes and conditions of poverty.
In 1965 Community Action Programs (CAPs) were created across the nation. Each CAP was charged with the task of providing local level, community-based, advocacy for the poor and were provided the means to shape anti-poverty initiatives. At its inception, funds from the Federal Office of Economic Opportunity were provided under the direction of Sargent Shriver, to support trips for children in poverty, remedial reading programs, job counseling, and dependent daycare services.