From:                              Cindy Brown []

Sent:                               Friday, May 14, 2010 10:55 AM


Subject:                          Community Action Month press release, photo and cutline

Attachments:                 2010 Community Action Month proclamation photo.JPG


Fayette County Community Action Agency, Inc.

N E W S   R E L E A S E

(724) 437-6050



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                    Contact: Cindy Ekas-Brown

April 29, 2010                                                 PR/Outreach Specialist                                           724-437-6050 extension 4276                                                           


              Fayette County Commissioners proclaim May as Community Action Month


The Fayette County Board of Commissioners proclaimed May as Community Action Month at Thursday’s meeting, as the current economic crisis has created an even greater need for services and programs offered by Fayette County Community Action Agency (FCCAA) Inc.


Because of the economic downturn and the high unemployment rate, FCCAA employees have seen a steady increase in the need for services that has expanded to include new clients, according to James M. Stark, the agency’s CEO.


“The economic downturn is making the services and programs that FCCAA offers even more vital to the community,” Stark said. “For the first time in their lives, many people are facing unemployment and financial insecurity. Many of these people are coming to the agency to get them through this difficult time period in their lives.”


Teresa Furnier of FCCAA’s planning department told the county commissioners that the agency has worked to improve social and economic conditions in Fayette County by helping disadvantaged individuals achieve self-sufficiency since 1966.


During the past 44 years, FCCAA has established itself as the single-largest provider of comprehensive health and human services in Fayette County, Furnier said.


“Through a variety of human service and education programs, Community Action targets assistance to disadvantaged individuals — particularly families, children and the aged,” she said.


Through the years, FCCAA has developed a full range of more than 70 programs and services to meet the needs of the Fayette County community, according to Furnier. Through programs and services like the food bank, WIC, Nurse Family Partnership, senior centers, housing assistance and Adult Daily Living Center, FCCAA assists more than 35,000 residents annually.


Jamie Brink, project manager of FCCAA’s food bank, said she has seen many new clients who need help because of the current economic downturn.


“We’re seeing a different clientele that include people who haven’t had to ask for help in the past,” Brink said. “We’re seeing unemployed people who ran out of benefits and need help for the first time in their lives. We’re also seeing employed people who can’t make ends meet because of the increase in the cost of gas prices.”


The economic crisis has increased the mortgage foreclosure rate and created difficulty for people who can no longer afford their rent, according to Stark.


“We’re also seeing a lot of people who need help with rent or mortgage assistance because they can’t make ends meet,” Stark said. “The agency offers programs that provide assistance for those clients.”


Because of the high unemployment rate, the agency’s education programs and training opportunities are attracting clients, according to Stark.


“It’s a really good time for people to go back to school, especially if they have been laid off and can’t find jobs in their fields,” Stark said. “They can enroll in our education programs and get trained for a new career.”


Although the financial crisis has been really hard on everyone, Stark said it has hit low-income people the hardest.


“They are the ones who live paycheck to paycheck, have little or no savings, often don’t qualify for unemployment benefits and have no health insurance,” he said. “Low-income people already lack financial resources, but the loss of a paycheck or home just makes the situation worse.”


With the country facing the worst economic conditions in recent years, Stark said it seems like everyone is worried about their financial futures and the economy.


“We want to use our National Community Action Month event to bring everyone together to discuss these issues and what we can do to ensure all of our neighbors achieve and maintain economic stability,” he said.


                                                           Photo caption


The Fayette County Board of Commissioners proclaimed May as Community Action Month at Thursday’s meeting. Participating in the proclamation are (from left) Commissioner Vincent A. Vicites, Commission Chairman Vince Zapotosky, Teresa Furnier of Fayette County Community Action Agency’s planning department and Commissioner Angela M. Zimmerlink.