In February 1964, Sargent Shriver was asked to head a task force to draft legislation. Johnson again addressed Congress.
Through a new Community Action program we intend to strike at poverty at it source-in the streets of our cities and on the farms of our countryside among the very young and the impoverished old. This program asks men and women throughout the country to prepare long range plans for the attack on poverty in their local communities.
These are not plans prepared in Washington and imposed upon hundreds of different situations.
They are based on the fact that local citizens best understand their own problems, and know best how to deal with those problems.
These plans will be local plans striking at the many unfilled needs, which underlie poverty in each community, not just one or two. Their components and emphasis will differ as needs differ.
These plans will be local plans calling upon all the resources available to the community-federal and state, local and private, human and material.
The most enduring strength of our nation is the huge reservoir of talent, initiative and leadership, which exists at every level of society.
Through the Community Action Program, we call upon this, our greatest strength, to overcome our greatest weakness.
President Lyndon B. Johnson
Special Message to Congress Proposing a Nationwide War on the Sources of Poverty, March 16, 1964