People’s Community Action Corporation, an affiliate of Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Centers, is the state’s newly designated Community Action Agency for the cities of St. Louis and Wellston.
The Missouri Department of Social Services (MDSS), which recently announced the selection, said People’s will officially begin that role on Nov. 1. The agency is charged to work to reduce poverty, revitalize the community and empower low-income individuals and families to become self-sufficient.
A spokesperson for MDSS said the agency’s allocation from the federal Community Services Block Grant program will be nearly $2.6 million, based upon the population of poverty in the service area in relationship to total poverty in the state.
“In People’s we see a new potential for the work of the Community Action Agencies in Missouri,” said Interim Director of MDSS Brian Kinkade. “More and more, we understand how deeply the problems of poverty and poor health are interrelated.”
Dwayne Butler, CEO of People’s Community Action Corporation (CAC) and the health centers, will soon meet with state officials to work out the parameters of the block grant.
Butler said People’s ability to bring together community physical health, mental health and social services under one strategy aimed at attacking many of the ailments of underserved communities is what made People’s CAC stand out.
“We believe that programs that support the socioeconomic needs of low-income communities, coordinated with community health services, will yield greater results than similar programs that are uncoordinated,” Butler said.
Butler said that People’s has been addressing the issues of community revitalization and socioeconomic stress on health over the past 40 years.
He said People’s “family of corporations” now includes a 60-unit senior affordable housing residence, along with 18 multifamily apartments for families with disabilities; a Connective Services corporation that houses the Social Security Administration Office adjacent to the Delmar site; and the Amanda Luckett Murphy Hopewell Behavioral Health Center.
“The collection of these corporations has worked, in concert, to not only address the health care needs of the community, but to also remove the socioeconomic obstacles to that end,” Butler said.
The Community Action Agency of St. Louis County served in the interim for the block grant contract previously awarded to the now-defunct Human Development Corporation of Metropolitan St. Louis.