Area IV helps individuals ‘live the American dream’

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Area IV Agency is celebrating its 50th anniversary of the Community Action Programs. Executive director Elva James stops by News 18 to tell us about the program and how it helps people “live the American dream.”

Area IV provides assistance to low-income individuals or families. James said the Community Action Programs are provided in four counties locally, with Head Starts in three of those counties that serve 150 children and their families.

“The Community Action Promise is something that we continue to work on each day. It never seems to be finished,” James said.

Area IV covers all the bases from energy assistance to money management. James said they provided energy assistance to around 4,000 households this past winter. In addition, she said they help more than 100 people manage their money.

“We are always looking for innovation,” said James. “Affordable housing projects, like Canal Commons, that we will be breaking ground on in the fall. That will provide housing at an affordable cost for persons who are trying to become more independent and self-sufficient.”

James said even though the fight on poverty has progressed, there is still a long ways to go.

“It’s hard to measure by percentage, or that sorta thing,” she said. “But we as an agency, we came a long ways when it comes to the war on poverty.”

James continued to add the face of poverty has changed. She said back in ’64, when Area IV first started the war on poverty it had more to do with nutrition. She said poverty back then was a whole different issue.

James said helping people is something she is very passionate about and believes the Area IV services are extremely important.

“This allows or provides an individual or family the opportunity to live the American dream — to have a home, to have employment, to acquire education, to be a productive member of society,” James said. “To reach up out of poverty, into society itself.”

To view the full interview with Area IV’s Elva James, watch the video above from News 18 at Noon.

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