Community Action Partnership Circles is a community-focused anti-poverty program in more than 40 communities across the country. This innovative approach is the premier strategy of the Community Action Partnership (CAP) in Lewiston, Idaho, for assisting families to build economic security.
The program teaches participants to be “Circle Leaders” and empowers them to plan, organize and direct their own path out of poverty. Supportive services such as meals, child care, and individual family advocates, called, “Circle Allies”, eliminate many would-be barriers to participation. These volunteers eliminate isolation and assist families to meet their goals.
The outcomes of this strategy speak for themselves. CAP reports that, despite the economic downturn, 43% of the trained Circle Leaders got a better job, and the average earned income of the participants increased by 58%. Sixty-seven percent of Circle Leaders were able to pay off a credit card or a payday loan, and 60% opened or added money to a bank account. Eighty percent of the Circle Leaders indicated that the Circles program gave them an improved connection to the community in which they live.
CSBG funds were directly responsible for these outcomes. In supporting the management and administration of the initiative, CSBG funds made this program possible. The program also created new opportunities for the agency by developing new community partners, reinvigorating existing partnerships, and leveraging other support for participating families.
The United Way, banks, institutions of higher education, public service and social service agencies, churches, and individuals all contributed money, goods, and services to the effort. CSBG supported coordination of these efforts and brought a community together to build economic security.
- U.S. Census Bureau, “American FactFinder,” 2007 American Community Survey (accessed May 2011). Data came from the following tables: Statewide poverty percentages, GCT1701, Ratio of income to poverty level, C17002
- U.S. Census Bureau, “American FactFinder,” 2009 American Community Survey (accessed May 2011). Data came from the following tables: Statewide poverty percentages, GCT1701, Ratio of income to poverty level, C17002
- Half in Ten analysis of Table 1, 2007 State Expenditure Report, National Association of State Budget Officers.
- Half in Ten analysis of Table 1, 2009 State Expenditure Report, National Association of State Budget Officers.
- Center for American Progress analysis of CEPR Current Population Survey ORG data.