Southeastern Vermont Community Action opened its doors in 1965 in Bellows Falls, VT to serve the low-income population of Windham and Windsor Counties. SEVCA’s mission was founded on the belief that poverty need not be a permanent condition, that people can be empowered to rise out of poverty, and that the strength of our communities is measured by the quality of life of everyone within them. Early efforts focused on mobilizing the community to resolve basic needs issues such as hunger and homelessness. Family Services and crisis resolution would become part of the core of the organization’s services, integrating Crisis Fuel Assistance and Food Stamp Outreach. The SEVCA Good Buy Stores were established to provide resources and funding to sustain our programs, and options to assist those in need of clothing. Later, important programs such as Weatherization, Head Start and Micro Business were incorporated into SEVCA’s key departments as well.
Many of the earliest programs launched by SEVCA would branch off and become well-established in the local communities in their own right, such as: Carpentry for Women, Action for Children, Youth Corps, Food Commodities and food shelves, nutrition and gardening, public transportation, federally qualified health centers and dental clinics, and much more. Some still recall the SEVCA Wood Stoves, an early energy efficiency and community development effort that created new jobs and provided affordable heating options for low-income households. The porcine iron stoves, although no longer produced, were incredibly popular and can still be found in the homes of local Vermonters.
SEVCA has continued to serve low-income people in this area for over 50 years. During that time, the problems they have faced have been diverse, complex, and constantly changing. Our agency has had to develop a broad and multi-faceted approach that reflects the breadth and depth of those problems and enables SEVCA to be flexible enough to adapt to changing needs and conditions. In 2015, for our 50th Anniversary, SEVCA unearthed a great deal of information on the organization’s history. Click this Timeline to learn more about SEVCA’s origins, the people that influenced the organization’s trajectory, and the programs that were developed in response to local needs.
Today, SEVCA employs a staff of approximately 100 employees, a committed group of people who are bonded and energized by their shared desire to learn new approaches that can help them to effectively impact the lives of others. We rely upon their valuable experience to execute the wide array of programs and initiatives through out the region that address the comparably wide range of poverty-related needs, in the areas of crisis intervention, affordable housing / homelessness prevention, home energy costs, business startup and support, education and skills training, early childhood development, family support, parenting, food and nutrition, affordable clothing / household needs, income budgeting / savings, information & referral, and service coordination.
Membership Level: Business (Retail, Restaurant)
Contact Name: Steve Geller