National History

TRI-CAP’s history began a couple of years before the agency itself was established.  TRI-CAP is the local result of our nation’s call to action to address the needs of individuals living in poverty.

The War on Poverty was declared by President Lyndon B. Johnson in his State of the Union Address on January 8, 1964:

“This administration today here and now declares unconditional war on poverty in America. I urge this Congress and all Americans to join me in that effort….
Poverty is a national problem, requiring improved national organization and support. But this attack, to be effective, must also be organized at the State and local level.
For the war against poverty will not be won here in Washington. It must be won in the field, in every private home, in every public office, from the courthouse to the White House. Very often, a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. Our aim is not only to relieve the symptoms of poverty but to cure it–and above all, to prevent it. No single piece of legislation, however, is going to suffice.”

On August 20, 1964, President Johnson signed Public Law 88-452, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which authorized the formation of local Community Action Agencies as part of the War on Poverty. These agencies are directly regulated by the federal government. It is the purpose of The Economic Opportunity Act to strengthen, supplement, and coordinate efforts in furtherance of that policy.

The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (EOA) established over 1,000 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) at the local level to implement EOA programs. EOA programs included: VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America); Job Corps; Neighborhood Youth Corps; Head Start; Adult Basic Education; Family Planning; Community Health Centers; Congregate Meal Preparation; Economic Development; Foster Grandparents; Legal Services; Neighborhood Centers; Summer Youth Programs; Senior Centers; and others. CAAs vary widely across the United States and have changed over time to include services and opportunities that address the conditions of poverty.  While poverty is defined as a household income at or below 100% of the federal poverty guideline, low-income is generally defined as a household with income at or below 150% of the federal poverty guideline.

One of our nation’s 1,000 Community Action Agencies is designated to serve Dubois, Pike, and Warrick Counties in Southwestern Indiana.  To read more about this Community Action Agency, please click on the “Local History” tab.

A 50 Year History of Community Action by Jim Masters

See What Services are in Your County

How to reach TRI-CAP during Indiana’s Executive Order #20-08

Our TRI-CAP staff members have been working diligently to continue serving our clients and have found alternative ways to serve our clients without being physically face-to-face through this COVID-19 pandemic and have restricted access to our facilities to anyone other than staff.  We have been in constant communications with our clients thus far and continue to provide the individual care that each person needs. 

In compliance with Indiana’s Stay at Home Executive Order #20-08, our staff will no longer be on site through the duration of the statewide Executive Order. 

Our phones will continue to be answered through 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, 2020. 

  • Dubois County office:                 812-482-2233
  • Pike County office:                      812-354-8721
  • Warrick County office:                812-897-0364
  • Vanderburgh County office:       812-428-2189

Beginning, Wednesday, March 25, 2020 our phone lines will only be able to receive messages that will be checked daily.  If you prefer to reach us via email, you may contact our Director Team for these services and they will refer your inquiry to the applicable staff member to assist you.

  • Neil Elkins, TRI-CAP Housing Services Director, neil@tri-cap.net (Utility, Weatherization, and Housing programs, etc.)
  • Deb Capps, TRI-CAP Health Services Director, deb@tri-cap.net  (Healthcare navigation, Family Planning, and Breast Cancer services.)
  • Nikki Lasher, Family and Community Partnerships Director, nikki@tri-cap.net (Healthy Families, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.)
  • Molly Wuchner, Head Start Director, molly@tri-cap.net (Head Start program)
  • Joyce Fleck, Executive Director, joyce@tri-cap.net for any other administrative inquiries

TRI-CAP’s health, housing, and education services change lives, empower families, and improve communities.