TDHCA celebrates Community Action Agencies in Texas
Community Action Agencies (CAA) serve a vital role in Texas, and because of their work, TDHCA recognizes May 2020 as Community Action Month. CAAs help foster self-sufficiency and provide a wide range of services designed to eliminate poverty. Those services are essential to ensure vulnerable populations have resources to meet energy needs, weatherize aging homes and encourage consumers to control energy costs through energy education.
The very nature of how CAAs operate has been tested with the outbreak of COVID-19. Face-to-face meetings have been put on hold, which can present complications for staff trying to help the communities in which they serve. Experienced leadership has worked to not only respond to those suffering from the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also advocate for the well-being of their staff maintaining assistance to clients.
Across Texas, CAA leaders have offered technical support and reminders on how staff can practice healthy ways to alleviate stress such as taking walks, deep breathing exercises, online team meetings, sharing photos via social media channels, and even hosting a Dairy Queen happy hour like Texas Neighborhood Services’ Bradley Manning.
“A couple afternoons a week, I'll take orders for ice cream from staff and will go pick it up. It’s a great afternoon boost, and they love the fact the Executive Director is actually serving them. It makes the staff feel valued for their commitment,” explained Manning.
CAAs rely on many partners to aid in efforts to accomplish their mission. During the COVID-19 crisis, these partnerships have proven to be even more valuable.
As a brand new leader overseeing the Community Council of Greater Dallas, Sharla Myers expressed gratitude for organizational partners to lend a hand in introducing her to other community partners and help in other ways. The City of Fort Worth’s Marie Francis explained that an electric provider gave hand sanitizer and individually wrapped popcorn snacks to staff. Other CAAs reported partners donating food, cleaning supplies and additional funding, and volunteering to deliver items.
TDHCA thanks our statewide CAAs for their efforts to help our most vulnerable residents, and that we believe that together we make the State of Texas a stronger place to live.