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Our Strategy

The Community Action Organization of WNY has a five-pronged approach to fight poverty.

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Community Health

Healthy communities are the backbone of strong neighborhoods that can stimulate economic growth and provide the stability necessary for WNY individuals and families to live, work and play.

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Economic Empowerment

Earning capacity and savings are the basis for alleviating physical poverty. When one can provide for his/her family, dignity and self-worth is restored.

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Educational Advancement

Education is the surest way out of poverty. Our initiatives include community-wide and school-based programming as well as targeted educational interventions to promote academic excellence from birth to college.

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Neighborhood Revitalization

Neighborhood revitalization plays a key role in advancing communities to tackle poverty. We bring together residents, businesses, government and all other community stakeholders to explore opportunities to build thriving, vibrant communities.

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Workforce Development

We help to break the cycle of poverty through adult education and workforce development. We provide access to the training, tools and job opportunities that will lead to career opportunities throughout WNY.

Community Health

Since 1971, the Drug Abuse Research and Treatment Program (DART) has treated individuals addicted to opiate drugs using a variety of rehabilitating services, and through linkages with other human services providers.

The Center Services locations are committed to building vital and healthy communities through a variety of services such as: advocacy and outreach; capacity-building; translation services and other initiatives that can strengthen citizen participation and connect vital groups in the community.

The CAO Sports P.L.U.S. Program creates a youth recreational and Youth sport culture that will render productive student athletes through “The Power of Sport and Recreation.”

Economic Empowerment

In Employment and Training we strive to help families as well as individuals improve the quality of their lives through programs and services that support their emotional and financial well-being.

Our Emergency and Family Services Department provides short-term assistance to individuals and families during an emergency or crisis that threatens their ability to maintain basic needs – food, clothing, and shelter.

The Masten Resource Center features our Better Schools Better Neighborhoods (BSBN), Better Buffalo Fund and Streetscape Project, Pathstone Enterprise Center, Inc. and Block Club Development services as well as many other useful services.

Educational Advancement

CAgrO is an education & engineering greenhouse and market garden in Buffalo. The center offers employment training and agriculture education to students.

Our Head Start/Early Head Start program provides infant/toddler and preschool services to children and families throughout Western New York.

Serving over 2,500 school-aged youth and families a year across the region, the Youth Services Department’s goal is to take a holistic approach to the growth and development of the youth of Erie and Niagara County with the goal of promoting self-sufficiency.

Neighborhood Revitalization

CAO’s focuses on quality-of-life issues, all contributing to vibrant and thriving communities that individuals and families want to work, live, play in.

The New Ventures Housing Program addresses the affordable housing crisis in the areas we serve by providing housing assistance to low income families and individuals facing foreclosures or evictions.

This collaborative is a consortium of businesses, institutions, faith-based organizations, block clubs, schools, property owners, and residents that live or work in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park neighborhood, or stakeholders outside the community that are concerned about its growth and development.

Workforce Development

The Center Services locations are committed to building vital and healthy communities through a variety of services such as: advocacy and outreach; capacity-building; translation services and other initiatives that can strengthen citizen participation and connect vital groups in the community.

In Employment and Training we strive to help families as well as individuals improve the quality of their lives through programs and services that support their emotional and financial well-being.

2017 Success Stories

384 unemployed and obtained a job
1,629 obtained skills required for employment
3,437 obtained care for a child or other dependent
$61,638 in Federal or State tax credits secured from free tax preparation services
728 accessible safe and affordable health care services were provided to low-income people
312 accessible, after school program placement opportunities provided to low-income families
1,707 accessible or increased educational and training placement opportunities made available to low-income people in the community, including vocational, literacy and life skill trainings and post-secondary education
4,494 community members mobilized by Community Action to participate in community revitalization and anti-poverty initiatives
117,258 volunteer hours donated to the agency
1,488 low-income people participated in formal community organizations, government, boards or councils that provide input to decision-making and policy setting through Community Action efforts
16,189 hours of staff training
2,225 senior citizens who achieved their potential by strengthening their family and other supportive environments.
5,148 low-income individuals and families received emergency food
212 low-income individuals assisted with emergency utility payments
97 low-income individuals assisted with emergency rent or mortgage assistance
27 low-income individuals who received emergency home repair
3,438 infants and children obtained age-appropriate immunizations, medical and dental care
3,438 infants and children health and physical development were improved as a result of adequate nutrition
3,438 children participated in pre-school activities to develop school readiness skills
2,028 children participated in pre-school activities that were developmentally ready to enter Kindergarten or 1st Grade
1,089 youth improved their health and physical development
1,745 youth avoid risk-taking behavior for a defined period of time
69 youth reduced their involvement with the criminal justice system
2,075 youth increased their academic, athletic, or social skills for student success
89 parents and other adults learned and exhibited improved parenting skills
1,451 parents and other adults learned and exhibited improved family functioning skills
127 seniors, caregivers and adults with disabilities obtained access to reliable transportation
263 seniors, caregivers and adults with disabilities obtained food assistance
495 food boxes were distributed
67,760 pounds of food were distributed
5,039 rides were provided
17,637 information and referral calls