June 18, 2010

There’s still time to sign up for "America Speaks", town hall meetings on federal deficit reduction
Saturday, June 26th in 19 cities across our nation
U.S. Dept of Labor plans to award $30 million for new YouthBuild grants (approx. 28 new programs)
Formal announcement of these competitive grants coming soon
Community Economic Development news—Public hearings on housing, community development needs scheduled for 4 cities (you can sign up now); Other action on HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)
Rural Alaska Community Action provides key leadership to help homeless with tobacco cessation
Free resource materials available from Break Free Alliance
Partnership signs letter to expand Medicaid funding to include smoking cessation programs
Ad deadline for 2010 Annual Convention Program Book is July 12!
Central Florida Community Action Agency CEO Robert Wilford elected
Alachua City Commissioner
National Head Start Director Yvette Sanchez Fuentes to speak at convention plenary session


The Partnership, in cooperation with our great colleagues and allied organizations in the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN), are strongly encouraging you to read the announcement below and then join with those of us in the 19 cities where these town meetings will take place on Saturday, June 26th. The cities are:

Albuquerque, NM
Augusta, ME
Casper, WY
Chicago, IL
Columbia, SC
Dallas, TX
Des Moines, IA
Detroit, MI
Grand Forks, ND
Jackson, MS
Overland Park, KS
Los Angeles, CA
Louisville, KY
Missoula, MT
Portland, OR
Philadelphia, PA
Portsmouth, NH
Richmond, VA
San Jose, CA

REMEMBER! We expect a substantial turnout of those who believe that the federal budget should be slashed in ways that would cripple, even end many of the programs and services that are needed now, more than ever, during the current economic downturn. Don Mathis will represent the Partnership at the Philadelphia meeting and the Partnership is working with CHN leaders on developing some common themes and arguments that you may want to use. Please contact Don at dmathis@communityactionpartnership.com if you plan on participating and/or want to exchange ideas and strategies.

The National Town Meeting about the federal budget is just 9 days away. There are still available seats at most of the town meeting sites -- get one for yourself! GO TO: usabudgetdiscussion.org/participate

As AmericaSpeaks president Carolyn Lukensmeyer said in her recent Huffington Post article, "Our dream is for no seat to go unfilled." We need Americans of every demographic filling every hall to brainstorm with their fellow Americans about solutions that will inform our leaders in Washington, DC.

AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy takes an old concept -- town hall meetings -- to a new level by combining:

a) the age-old value of in-person interaction and deliberative brainstorming PLUS

b) new technology and new media for collaboration across sites.Young, old, conservative, liberal, rural, urban, minority, majority … we're all convening on June 26th for a UNPRECEDENTED National Town Meeting about finding solutions for the federal budget.

The team has put a huge amount of effort to organize in 19 sites across the country, plus smaller "Community Conversations" for those not near a town meeting. Participation is free and food will be provided. Note that seating is limited so sign up right away.

Join thousands of your fellow Americans in finding solutions for this issue of our lifetime.

Please share this widely with friends and family, and invite them to join us on June 26th.

Hope to see you there!

Joe Goldman

Vice President of Citizen Engagement

p.s. Two visual and informative blog posts you may particularly enjoy:

Release of Federal Budget 101 guide
A rich and concise visual and verbal overview of the federal budget and the long-term fiscal challenges that will face us in the years and decades to come. Download from the blog post and check it out!

SLIDECAST: Learn about the basic budget and deficit issues
A short new slidecast that gives a visual introduction to our federal budget and deficit issues. (On our About page you can find an introductory slidecast about the National Town Meeting.)


YouthBuild is a youth and community development program that simultaneously addresses core issues facing low-income communities: housing, education, employment, crime prevention, and leadership development. In YouthBuild programs, low-income young people, ages 16-24, work towards their GEDs or high school diplomas, learn job skills and serve their communities by building affordable housing. Through the program, these young people transform their own lives and roles in society.

Currently, 22 Community Action Agencies operate YouthBuild programs. The preliminary funding alert from the Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor appears below.

To view the anticipated Timeline for 2010 YouthBuild Competition on the DOL website, go to: http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=2915.



As more and more Community Action Agencies get involved with housing and community economic development work, and those CAAs already involved look to expand their portfolios, the Partnership will closely monitor and report on those regulatory, budget, and appropriation activities that are most relevant to such initiatives. The two news releases below from the Comptroller of the Currency describe pending action and opportunities for comment on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), and other financial issues and policies.

Agencies Announce Public Hearings on
Community Reinvestment Act Regulations

WASHINGTON — The federal bank and thrift regulatory agencies today announced a series of upcoming public hearings on modernizing the regulations that implement the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Interested parties are invited to provide testimony and written comments.

The agencies (the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision) will consider how to update the regulations to reflect changes in the financial services industry, changes in how banking services are delivered to consumers today, and current housing and community development needs. The agencies also want to ensure that the CRA remains effective for encouraging institutions to meet the credit needs of communities. While the agencies recognize public comments may discuss matters requiring statutory changes, the agencies’ focus is on potential regulatory changes.

The agencies encourage the public to provide oral or written testimony on potential changes to the CRA regulations at four hearings to be held around the country. The planned hearing dates and cities are as follows: July 19, 2010, Arlington, Virginia; August 6, 2010, Atlanta, Georgia; August 12, 2010, Chicago, Illinois; and August 17, 2010, Los Angeles, California.

Anyone wishing to submit testimony or attend the hearings must register five business days in advance on the website of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) at http://www.ffiec.gov/cra/hearings.htm. Hearing details are available on that site and in the attached hearings notice, which will be published in the Federal Register. The agencies also strongly encourage individuals interested in testifying to provide their written testimony in advance. Presentation time and meeting space are limited and early registration is recommended.

In addition to offering an opportunity for testimony at the hearings, the agencies are encouraging any individual to provide written comments on the CRA regulations to any of the agencies through August 31, 2010. While the agencies encourage public comments on any CRA topic, they are particularly interested in receiving comments on the topics and questions listed in the notice excerpted in the attached document.
Separately, today the agencies announced that they are proposing a change to the CRA rules to encourage depository institutions to support the Neighborhood Stabilization Program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Comments on the proposed rule are due thirty days after its publication in the Federal Register, which is expected shortly.

Topics and Questions Excerpt from Hearings Notice
Joint Notice of Public Hearings

Agencies Propose to Expand Scope of Community Reinvestment Act
Regulations to Encourage Depository Institution Support for
HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Program Activities

WASHINGTON — The federal bank and thrift regulatory agencies today announced a proposed change to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations to support stabilization of communities affected by high foreclosure levels. The proposed change specifically would encourage depository institutions to support the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Under the NSP, HUD has provided funds to state and local governments and nonprofit organizations for the purchase and redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed properties. The agencies’ proposal would encourage depository institutions to make loans and investments and provide services to support NSP activities in areas with HUD-approved plans.

The proposal would supplement existing CRA consideration for community development activities, including neighborhood stabilization activities. For example, for NSP areas identified in HUD-approved plans, the agencies would provide CRA consideration for activities that benefit individuals with incomes of up to 120 percent of the area median and geographies with median incomes of up to 120 percent of the area median. NSP-eligible activities would receive favorable consideration under the new rule only if conducted within two years after the date when NSP program funds are required to be spent.

Allowing banking institutions to receive CRA consideration for NSP-eligible activities in additional NSP-targeted areas creates an opportunity to leverage government funding targeted to areas with high foreclosure and vacancy rates and also serves the purposes of the CRA.

The proposed rule is attached. Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted no later than 30 days from the date of its publication in the Federal Register, which is expected shortly.

Separately, the agencies also announced today they will hold four hearings to consider public comment on all aspects of the CRA regulations during the summer of 2010.



Our special thanks to Joie Brown, Community Development Manager at the Rural Alaska Community Action Program (RurAL CAP) in Anchorage for her solid work and tenacious advocacy on policies and program strategies to reduce tobacco use among homeless persons.

Expert Panel Makes Recommendations on Addressing
Tobacco in Homeless Populations

On October 21, 2009 the Break Free Alliance gathered over 20 researchers, policy makers, tobacco control administrators and service providers to develop targeted recommendations on tobacco policy and
programming initiatives to reduce tobacco use among homeless persons. Policy recommendations, prioritized state, local and social service-based cessation interventions as well as research priorities are
highlighted in a comprehensive report of the panel's findings. Critical factors for achieving success, challenges and solutions are also identified for each topic area (policy and cessation interventions) and
remaining research questions outlined. For a copy of the report http://healthedcouncil.org/breakfreealliance/pdf/BreakFree_TobHomelessBkltPrf3.pdf

To learn more about Break Free Alliance, please visit http://healthedcouncil.org/breakfreealliance/index.html


Our thanks to Victoria Almquist at Tobacco Free Kids for including the Community Action Partnership in this effort to promote Medicaid funding for the “quitline” tobacco and smoking cessation program.

June 14, 2010
Cindy Mann, JD
Deputy Administrator and Director
Center for Medicaid, CHIP and Survey & Certification
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
7500 Security Boulevard, Room S2-26-12
Baltimore, MD 21244-1850

Dear Ms. Mann:

We are writing to express our strong support for permitting states to obtain federal Medicaid matching funds for the cost of tobacco cessation services provided by quitlines. Tobacco cessation quitlines have proven to be an effective way to help smokers quit. Ensuring Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation quitlines will improve access to these services, help more tobacco users to quit, help protect children and adults from secondhand smoke, and reduce the disease and premature death attributable to tobacco use.

Quitlines provide telephone-based tobacco cessation counseling services, and some provide medications to help smokers quit. They provide easy access to cessation services and can tailor information to specific populations. In some cases, quitlines can also link tobacco users to broader health-related information and resources. Every state and two territories in the United States have a tobacco cessation quitline. These programs are linked together through a national network via a toll free number, 1-800 QUIT NOW.

The U.S. Public Health Service’s most recent clinical practice guideline for treating tobacco use and dependence found that quitline counseling can substantially increase a smoker’s chances of quitting, and quitline counseling combined with medication (such as nicotine replacement therapy) is even more effective at helping smokers quit. According to best practices developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sustaining, expanding, and promoting quitline services should be a key component of tobacco control programs. Moreover, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recognizes the importance of tobacco-cessation counseling for Medicare beneficiaries and has recently proposed expanding tobacco-cessation counseling.

Medicaid beneficiaries use tobacco at rates 50 percent higher than the general population. While figures vary from state to state, Medicaid beneficiaries typically constitute 10 to 40 percent of quitline callers seeking help in their attempts to quit using tobacco. Several states have inquired about the permissibility of receiving federal matching funds for quitline services provided to Medicaid beneficiaries. While there may be technical questions that need to be resolved, we believe solutions can be found to ensure that quitlines are covered by Medicaid and that Medicaid beneficiaries can access all services that have been shown to increase their ability to quit successfully. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the country. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a role to play in preventing this morbidity and mortality and to helping Medicaid beneficiaries live longer and healthier lives. And with tobacco-related illnesses accounting for 10 to 15 percent of all Medicaid expenditures, there is also a fiscal incentive to reduce tobacco use among Medicaid beneficiaries.

We encourage you to examine ways to ensure that states can obtain federal Medicaid matching funds for coverage of quitline services.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association for Cancer Research
American Association for Respiratory Care
American College of Cardiology
American College of Chest Physicians
American College of Preventive Medicine
American Psychological Association
American Public Health Association
American Society of Addiction Medicine
Association of Black Cardiologists
Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs
Association of State & Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN)
Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund
ClearWay Minnesota
Community Action Partnership
Lung Cancer Alliance
National Latino Tobacco Control Network
National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
North American Quitline Consortium
Oncology Nursing Society
Oral Health America
Partnership for Prevention
Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
Society for Public Health Education
UCSF Tobacco Cessation Leadership Center
United Church of Christ, Justice & Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church – The General Board of Church and Society
Washington State Department of Health Tobacco Prevention & Control Program



Pay tribute to Community Action with an ad in the 2010 Annual Convention program book!

Celebrate your role in America’s poverty fighting network and
Community Action: The Power of Partnerships by sending special greetings to
your colleagues, honoring your CAA's partners, and highlighting the unique history of your CAA.

Ad deadline is July 12. Click here for the ad registration form and prices.

To view or download the 2010 Annual Convention Brochure or the Registration form, click here. Hotel rooms are selling quickly at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. Click here to reserve online and assure your reservation is confirmed at the convention rate of $189.00 single or double.



Congratulations to Robert Wilford on his recent election as Alachua City (FL) Commissioner. Robert has a distinguished track record with three Community Action Agencies, is a Paul Harris Fellow Rotarian, and served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years during the Vietnam era. Robert epitomizes Community Action and all that is good about America. Read his compelling story below.

Robert Wilford, CFCAA CEO, taking oath of office as Alachua City Commissioner, on May 10, from Alachua
City Manager Traci Cain. Mayor Gib Coerper and Alachua Commissioner Gary Hardacre are in the background.

CFCAA CEO Wins City Election in Upset

By: Vanessa Alva, CFCAA University of South Florida Public Relations Intern

Running for City Commissioner of Alachua was not a matter of “if” for Central Florida Community Action Agency CEO Robert Wilford, it was a matter of “when.” After 13 years of working as a CEO for three community action agencies and 10 years in a substance abuse prevention, intervention and treatment agency, Wilford decided he was at the right place in his life to run for public office.

He said, “I’ve always dreamed of getting involved in the political process and the time was finally right.” With the encouragement of his family, staff and board members, Wilford prepared himself for a long and strenuous campaign. He stated, “I went into the political arena with mixed emotions. The process was tedious and draining while exhilarating at the same time.”

Clearly, his hard work and perseverance paid off. After 10 long weeks of campaigning including a runoff race for the seat, the results were in. Wilford, after only having lived in Alachua for three years, won the general election by seven percentage points over two longtime residents of the city and the runoff by 17 percentage points making him one of the five City Commissioners of Alachua.

His opponents had lived in Alachua for 22 and 52 years. Wilford says, “I’m tremendously humbled by the show of support from everyone that backed my campaign.” As City Commissioner of Alachua, Wilford’s goals are fiscal sustainability for the city and controlled growth while maintaining a small town charm.

Although today Wilford has reached the top of the success ladder, the climb up was not always a smooth one. He was born in Jacksonville, Fla., on March 1, 1945. At the age of three, Wilford and his family moved to Birmingham, Ala., where he lived in a one bedroom apartment with his parents and three other siblings until he joined the Navy when he was 18 years old in 1963. He stated, “We were very poor; the military was my way out of poverty.”

The years that followed proved to be very difficult for Wilford. He fell into alcoholism in his teenage years and dealt with deep depression and posttraumatic stress disorder for over three decades. In 2002 he spoke out at his church about having been sexually abused by a priest for four years while he was a teenager. Wilford has now been sober since 1978 and went through extensive therapy for depression and PTSD in 1994 and 1995. He said, “Anytime I got discouraged, my belief in God and the support of my family kept me going even though I kept the sexual abuse a secret for decades.”

Overcoming these obstacles while holding a CEO position at various community action agencies throughout his career shows Wilford’s strong will to succeed. Under his leadership, CFCAA has prospered to be one of the leading community action agencies in Florida by winning the SEACAA Agency of the year and FACA Agency of the year awards in 2008. Recently, his agency was the initial community action agency in Florida to complete the challenging Community Action Partnership’s “Pathways to Excellence” self-study process.
His passion for his job has not only helped CFCAA be recognized as an award winning agency but has also spread the “Promise of Community Action in helping people, changing lives.”



The Partnership is delighted to announce that Ms. Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, appointed by President Obama as the national Director of the Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families (HHS), will be a featured speaker on Wednesday morning, September 1st at our annual national convention at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. Early in her distinguished career, Ms. Fuentes worked in Head Start for the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (nee Economic Opportunity Commission of San Luis Obispo). Ms Fuentes will be available for dialogue and question-and-answer following her remarks and the showing of a new Head Start video.

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes
Director, Office of Head Start

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes brings extensive experience in providing services to young children from low income families at the local, regional, and national level to her appointment as the Director of the Office of Head Start. In her role as Director, Ms. Sanchez Fuentes will help lead ACF’s critically important mission of enriching the quality of early childhood development for our nation’s most vulnerable children.
Prior to her appointment, Ms. Sanchez Fuentes served as the Executive Director of the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association (NMSHSA). She worked with early education services, policies and resources for migrant and seasonal farm worker children and their families.

Before joining NMSHSA, Yvette worked for the Education Development Center where she was the Early Childhood Specialist for the International Systems Division and provided technical assistance to projects in Honduras, El Salvador, and Egypt.

Ms. Sanchez Fuentes has served as a National Head Start Fellow where she provided consultation in literacy, parent education, child care collaborations, and program improvement to Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and other early childhood education programs nationwide.

Early in her career, Ms. Sanchez Fuentes managed services for a large migrant and seasonal program for staff development and family child care initiatives. She received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from Calif
ornia State Polytechnic University.

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