• The Congresswoman met with local leaders in early childhood education on Friday to talk about the need for affordable child care in Oregon.

  • Community Action and Vision Action Network are joining forces to address social issues. They're considering going out for a countywide bond to help pay for programs to help the less fortunate.

  • Written by Travis Loose for the Pamplin Media Group on May 12, 2016

    As part of a 10-year plan to end homelessness, Community Connect is a valuable new tool for organizing nonprofit assistance.

  • Written by Marcy Gallegos for Pamplin Media Group on January 13, 2016

    “The family is one of nature’s masterpieces,” said philosopher George Santayana. That’s a thought that resonates throughout the year.

    But like any masterpiece, families must be nurtured, kept healthy and protected from harm if they are to endure.

  • Along with Saving Grace Maternity Home’s $3,000 grant, members of the city of Hillsboro’s Finance Committee and the city manager’s office allocated $97,000 to 30 other agencies last month through the city’s Community Services Grant Program.

    Youth Contact ($7,000), Adelante Mujeres ($6,000) and Community Action ($6,000) took in the largest chunks of the overall grant funding, but a number of other social service organizations came away with $1,000-plus grants to help continue their programs.

  • Written by Tripp Royce for Pamplin Media Group on November 20, 2015

    With last week’s focus on Veterans Day, this is a good time to let veterans and their families know there are a multitude of resources out there to help them, and not just when Veterans Day rolls around. And it’s critical to remember that, for many veterans, more struggles come after the battlefield. For veterans, the travails of daily life, which most of us are able to handle, can sometimes be a major challenge.

  • The Oregonian/OregonLive November 18, 2015

    Jerralynn Ness's business card is marked with a Community Action insignia, blue lettering and a green, hand-written note — "retired" — in front of her executive director title.

    Ness spent 31 years leading Community Action, a private nonprofit that fights Washington County poverty, and almost 43 years with the organization. Her successor, Renée Bruce, started as Community Action's executive director in early November.

  • 1. You assumed the Executive Director position on Nov. 1st, 2015. What are your first priorities?

    My first priority will be to ensure a smooth Executive Director transition for all. My role in the transition is going to be key in maintaining a positive environment for the board, staff, funders and the community. A positive environment will allow us to continue to provide our best to the community and those we serve.

    As for my second priority, the national Community Action network is currently facing many exciting changes. There are new organizational standards and rules to understand and implement coming from our network and many of our current funders. We are well positioned to be able to meet the new standards and implement the new rules. I am prepared to lead the agency in the implementation of these new and exciting changes. These changes will help to ensure that we continue moving forward with our vision to increase our services so that we can better support those we serve in achieving economic security.

    Priority three will be the work that I lead with the Board and Staff as we begin to develop our next 3-5 year strategic plan. I am very excited about this opportunity! Our past strategic plans have been key in helping us to achieve our mission and vision. We have been working internally on becoming a Community Action agency of “Excellence” and we have learned a lot about how to improve on our strategic planning process. I can’t wait to start working on it.

    To read more, click on the link above to download the whole interview.

  • A lot can change in 50 years. For nearly 43 of Community Action’s 50 years of service to Washington County, Jerralynn Ness has been a driving force at the organization. After 32 years as executive director, she will relinquish that role on Nov. 1, 2015 and retire on Jan 1, 2016.

    Why did you decide to step down as executive director of Community Action?

    Community Action is strong and well positioned to ensure that Washington County has a sustainable response to poverty reduction for years to come. Our board and staff directors are well equipped to successfully lead this organization through any challenge that may surface. We have strong public, private and non-profit sector partners committed to our mission. And we are commemorating our fiftieth anniversary this year, a perfect time to pass the torch on to our next Executive Director, Renee Bruce.

    ~ Click on the link above to download the full interview ~

  • Written by Roger Gahlsdorf for the Hillsboro Tribune on October 8, 2015

    Look around. Prominent signs of the economic boom in Washington County are everywhere. But beneath the sheen of prosperity there’s still stubborn, entrenched poverty affecting a lot of our neighbors.

  • Written by Jane Hogue for the Hillsboro Tribune on September 18, 2015

    If we want children to grow up to be responsible, employable and successful adults we have to start at the beginning.

  • Written by Lou Ogden for the Hillsboro Tribune on August 20, 2015

    Selfless, committed, collaborative, inspiring. The accolades flow easily when describing Jerralynn Ness, who plans to retire this year after 43 years of service to Washington County residents at Community Action.

  • Community Action of Hillsboro has been named the recipient of a $250,000 three-year grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust.

  • Written by Griff O'Brien for the News Times on June 24, 2015

    In 2008, while trying to take care of her cancer-stricken father in Tigard, Elizabeth Ebert lost her caregiving job. When her father died, she and her three daughters found themselves homeless.

  • Jerralynn Ness, the longtime executive director of Community Action — a nonprofit serving Washington County’s low-income residents — announced Wednesday she plans to retire before the end of 2015.

  • Written by Leslea Smith for the News Times on April 29, 2015

    The tableau is typical: a new mother with a wide smile, her eyes shining, embracing her baby while she gently sways in a tall-backed rocking chair.

    This scene, however, is not a commonplace one: It is just outside a prison, and the mother, Sherri, is an inmate serving a 24-month sentence at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility for a home burglary in Brookings.

  • Written by Dick Stenson for the Hillsboro Tribune on February 20, 2015

    The aroma of the wholesome home-cooked chowder, dense with ham, onions, cabbage, potato and corn, spread throughout the teaching kitchen at the Virginia Garcia Wellness Center in Cornelius.

  • Written by Fred Johnson for the Hillsboro Tribune on November 7, 2014

    Chad Andersen was a skinny, terribly shy child with curly light brown hair when he walked in the door of the North Plains Head Start program with his mother, 22 years ago, at the age of 2. In the first three months at Head Start, he was so painfully timid he uttered hardly a word. It wasn’t until Christmas break that he came out of his shell.

  • Written by Bill MacKenzie for the Hillsboro Tribune on September 19, 2014

    Holding tight to each other’s hands, the children look around, wide-eyed, at the field of tulips spread out before them. All those grinning kids learning about the natural world on their first child care field trip. What a treat.

  • By Jerralynn Ness, Executive Director

    A team of 10 Community Action staff joined 1100 colleagues from around the country at our nation’s capitol to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) of 1964 and to recommit ourselves to furthering the Mission, the Promise and the Spirit of Community Action. This Act created the Office of Economic Opportunity and President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Sargent Shriver, founder of the Peace Corp, as its first Director. In this role, Mr. Shriver became the architect of the most unique federal-local partnership ever established in America. This partnership created a community based approach to addressing poverty and called it Community Action.

  • Written by Andrea Castillo for the Oregonian on July 15th

    While Washington County is known as being the economic engine of Oregon, local nonprofit organizations say a growing number of its residents live in poverty.

    In response, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette recently chose five Washington County-based nonprofits to participate in a major regional effort to fight childhood poverty: Adelante Mujeres, Bienestar, Centro Cultural, Community Action and Virginia Garcia. Those organizations join 25 others in Clackamas, Clark and Multnomah counties.

  • Written by Ronald Sarazin for the Hillsboro Tribune on July 11, 2014

    Bursting with good economic news, Washington County may seem like an unlikely place for hunger. Yet it exists all around us.

  • Written by Yuxing Zheng for the Oregonian on April 28, 2014

    Nearly five years after the Great Recession officially ended, more than one in five Oregonians continues to rely on food stamps, and nearly 17 percent live in poverty.

    Rural Oregon counties continue to fare the worst, with food stamps and Medicaid rates exceeding 30 percent in Jefferson and Josephine counties. In some timber-reliant counties, the poverty rate exceeds 20 percent.

  • Written by Nadine Colb and featured in the Hillsboro Tribune on April 23rd

    The Community Action Celebration of Spirit Gala was held April 4 at the Oregon Zoo. The event, now in its 16th year, was created as a way for Hillsboro-based nonprofit Community Action to distinguish those in the public for their service to the organization.

  • Written by Stephanie Haugen and featured in the Hillsboro Tribune February 7, 2014

    Brad Vanvoorhis grew up in Aloha and joined the Army right out of high school, serving four years that included a stint in the Middle East during the Gulf War.

    Now he’s found himself homeless in Hillsboro after his drinking problem led him to lose his job. He’s trying his best to get himself out of a rut.

    Vanvoorhis was one of the homeless veterans who showed up at the Hillsboro VFW Jan. 23 as part of the “Point-in-Time (PIT) Homeless Count” organized by the Washington County Community Action team.

  • By Annalyn Kurtz @AnnalynKurtz February 6, 2014: 8:30 AM ET to CNN Money

    A staggering number of American households are relying on low-wage jobs as their leading or sole source of income.

  • (Click on the link above to see the video on You Tube)

    Fifty years ago today, seven weeks after President JF Kennedy was assassinated, President Johnson, in his first State of the Union Address, raised the issue of poverty to the highest level of government. He was deeply concerned about the plight of Americans who he described as living on "the outskirts of hope" because of poverty or race. He took bold steps for America when he raised his voice to announce that "This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America!".

    That declaration paved the way for the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act the following August and the subsequent legislation that created Community Action, Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid, Legal Services and many other programs aimed to eliminate the causes and conditions of poverty in America. The poverty rate, when cash and non-cash assistance are counted, went from 25.8% in 1964 to 16% in 2012. President Johnson acknowledged that "It will not be a short or an easy struggle; no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until the war is won."

    In 2015, we will be commemorating our 50 years of dedication to creating opportunities for Washington County residents striving to achieve economic security and a better life for their children. In collaboration with our community, each year for the past 48 years we have helped thousands of families and individuals improve their well-being and economic situation. Our work has reignited the hope needed for change to be possible. We witness this every single day. While we are not a government agency, this unique public-private partnership that was launched 50 years ago has allowed us to leverage this initial investment in our community to become a highly respected Community Action agency that has never lost site of our purpose and reason for being. An agency that has grown and diversified its resources to remain relevant and provide a wide range of services critically needed in our community.

    Jerralynn Ness

  • When talking to people who find themselves looking up from the bottom of American society, Donna Beegle tries to make one thing immediately clear:

    You're not going to work your way out of poverty.

    Unless you get some education or skills, you can find yourself working very hard and wondering why you're still in the same place.

  • Beaverton resident Lenny Santa Ana, 36, visited Community Action's office in Hillsboro on Thursday to apply for low-income energy assistance. Santa Ana, who also receives food stamps and Social Security disability money, said she would struggle to survive if a prolonged government shutdown affected the programs she uses. (Benjamin Brink/The Oregonian)

  • A common and perhaps reasonable assumption is that people who are poor don't have jobs.

  • (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — Portland’s household income hasn’t changed much in the past year, but was still a little higher than many other cities across the nation, according information released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • Elizabeth Hovde's Sept. 8 opinion column, "Cutting back on food stamps: Stop feeding the not so needy," omits critical facts and unfortunately perpetuates stereotypes about people who need our support, not our judgment.

  • Years after the Great Recession ended, 46.5 million Americans are still living in poverty, according to a Census Bureau report released Tuesday.

  • By Barbara Raab, Senior Producer, NBC News

    America’s pediatricians are sounding an alarm about what they call “the most important problem facing children in the U.S. today”: childhood poverty, which they say is a serious threat to children’s physical and mental health, and a barrier to their development, achievement, and future.

  • By Jeff Black, Staff Writer, NBC News
    Many Americans are still struggling to put food on the table, a full four years after the global recession ended, a new poll by Gallup shows.

  • Federal spending cuts are hitting 57,000 children who would have started preschool in the next few weeks.

  • Three developers are interested in building and managing a community health center in Beaverton for low-income residents, city officials said Tuesday.

  • Tualatin has seen its poverty rate rise from 5.5 percent in 2000 to an average 13.6 percent between 2009 and 2011. That has meant increased demand for social services such as those provided at the Family Resource Center, where needy families in the Tigard-Tualatin School District can receive clothes, food, health care and other services. Naomi Gutierrez (right) takes a sewing class Tuesday that is meant to help families get better acquainted. (Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian)