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Since You Asked

ACCESS has been around for as long as I can remember, but now it seems to stress its role as a community action agency. Just what is a community action agency?

— Harold R., Medford

President Lyndon Johnson will always be closely associated with the Vietnam War, but the 36th president's Great Society vision also included wars on drugs and poverty.

The Community Action Program, part of the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act, created community action agencies, local private and public nonprofit organizations designed to empower the nation's poor.

It was another dozen years before ACCESS (Aging Community Coordinated Enterprises & Supportive Services) was established in 1976 as a nonprofit. Its mission, however, rapidly expanded.

In 1985, ACCESS became the community action agency for Jackson County after receiving the endorsement of the county commissioners.

The agency employs more than 50 people.

Nationally, community action agencies operate early childhood development Head Start programs, low-income Home Energy Assistance Program utility grants and the Weatherization Assistance Program.

ACCESS administers federal, state and local tax dollars to assist economically disadvantaged citizens with a goal to produce self-sufficiency.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.