Click Here to download our 25 Years of History HAPCAP book (1964-1990)
War on Poverty
The early 1960s was a time of economic growth and prosperity for most Americans. However, amidst this economic prosperity lay pockets of deep poverty, most notably in the Appalachian region and the urban ghettos. President Kennedy became especially concerned after touring regions of Kentucky and West Virginia, establishing a task force to examine the causes of poverty shortly before his death.
Following Kennedy’s death, President Lyndon B. Johnson took up Kennedy’s interest in poverty issues, and in 1964 declared an “unconditional war on poverty”. Working with Kennedy’s poverty task force, Johnson created the Office of Economic Opportunity to administer a wide variety of poverty prevention and alleviation programs created under the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act.
One of the most innovative and experimental programs created by the Economic Opportunity Act was the creation of Community Action Agencies. Founded on the idea that local citizens were the most knowledgeable and best equipped to address problems of poverty in their communities, Community Action gave previously powerless people the means to work toward their own economic and social advancement. They were mandated by the federal government to have a tripartite board structure consisting of one third low-income community members, one third local government officeholders, and one third community interest groups.
Hocking • Athens • Perry Community Action is Founded
In response to the declared War on Poverty, Hocking, Athens and Perry Counties began forming Community Action Agencies in their communities. When word first came to county officials in 1964 that they would receive money to set up poverty programs, they assumed each county would operate independently. However, in 1965 the Office of Economic Opportunity declared that a population base of 100,000 was needed to qualify for monies.
In order to meet this requirement Hocking Athens Perry Community Action, then known as the Tri-County Community Action Program Committee, Inc., was formed on Sept. 29th, 1965 when all three agencies merged into one.
From our original mission statement:
“Major objectives for the Tri-County are: better school systems, improved transportation, expansion of present industry, promotion of tourist trade for recreational industry, social and economic progress, improved health facilities, an awareness on part of farmers and landowners of forestry management and improvement programs, programs developed to assist low-income homemakers, more adults to become interested in civic and community affairs and to assume responsibilities with your organizations and acquaint youth with training and occupational requirements for employment opportunities available.”
The main office was located in the Hocking County courthouse, while Athens County contributed 540 square feet of office space three days a week, and Perry County Southern District, Perry County Schools made space available for a branch office.
Soon after, the main office moved from the Hocking County court house to the old Cherrington Hospital in Logan.
Over the following years HAPCAP expanded and launched programs based on community needs. HAPCAP’s first programs ranged from community improvement (which put people to work in short-term jobs), dental care for children, education and training programs, Head Start pre-school services for children and nutrition programs for senior citizens.
On May 1, 1972, HAPCAP headquarters moved from Logan to an old, abandoned school building at the coal-mining settlement of Sugar Creek in Athens County where it remained until 2007.
In response to rising numbers of food insecurity HAPCAP founded the Southeastern Ohio Food Bank in Nelsonville, Ohio in 1984. It’s mission was, and still is, to channel surplus food to those who do not have enough, with a goal of making a positive difference in their lives. Over the years the high demand for food from struggling community members became more than the Food Bank could provide. It soon became clear that a bigger building would be needed in order to sufficiently fight hunger in Southeast Ohio. The city of Logan donated a plot of land to the Southeastern Ohio Food Bank and construction began soon after. In 1996 the Regional Food Center in Logan, Ohio was completed with more warehouse, freezer and refrigeration space for food storage and a state-of-the-art kitchen facility used to prepare Meals-on-Wheels meals and provide meals and snacks to our Head Start centers.
At the turn of the century HAPCAP continued to grow and expand its programs throughout the region. Unfortunately, the main office in Athens began costing more money to repair and could no longer encompass the ever growing agency.
Eager to find a new, centralized, home for HAPCAP an opportunity showed itself in Glouster where a 30,000 square foot building constructed in 1999 as a minimum security ‘Boot Camp’ was sitting unused. Community Action staff began developing ideas for using the building in 2003 as they toured the facility with various funding sources and potential partners.
In 2004, plans became more complete to acquire, remodel and create a multipurpose Community Action Service Center that would house Community Action's administrative offices, a medical clinic for Doctor's Hospital, the Glouster Village Police Office, a Head Start Center, and a multipurpose Community Room. This project would not only improve service delivery to northern Athens County, southern Perry County, and eastern Hocking County, but would eventually locate over 30 full time jobs for the community.
In February 2006, we acquired the empty 30,000 square foot prison building in Glouster, Ohio, awarded contracts and began renovation construction for Phase I of the project; Community Action offices and Glouster Village offices. We officially moved in on October 1, 2007.
For almost 50 years HAPCAP has been dedicated to alleviating the effects of poverty in our communities through administering new and innovative programs and creating opportunities for our neighbors.
HAPCAP is one of 50 Community Action Agencies in Ohio and is proud to be a part of Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD). We are a private, non-profit, community-based organization serving Southeast Ohio.
As we continue working beyond our half-century mark we will continue to dedicate ourselves to Southeast Ohio, to becoming the voice of community members and to enabling self-sufficiency and an improved quality of life for everyone.
History of HAPCAP Executive Directors
“The directors of Hocking Athens Perry Community Action have each held a unique spot in its history. Their ideals, dreams and commitment helped shape what and where HAPCAP is today. In their turn each director recognized that the only true natural resource they had to draw from to fight the battle were the people themselves – people from every walk of life and representing every income-level. From the people the directors drew their ideas and the strength to implement the programs. And the people they worked with gave them the courage to continue the fight.”
Kelly Hatas 2018 - present
Doug Stanley 2010 - 2018 Bob Garbo 1999-2010 Roger F. Patton 1976-1999
Roger W. McCauley 1971-1976 Charles D. Ennis 1967-1971 Martin R. Sherrett 1965-1967