The COUNCIL FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES (CEO) IN GREATER CLEVELAND, 1350 W. 3rd St., was established in 1964 to develop, administer, and coordinate Pres. Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty program locally. Under the leadership of Ralph W. Findley until 1979, the federally financed Cleveland CEO established a number of lasting programs. Mandated by the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act and reporting directly to the federal Office of Economic Opportunity, such local councils bypassed established state and local agencies, which caused controversy. Early on, the act's call for the "maximum feasible participation" of the poor in antipoverty programs created difficulties for the Cleveland CEO. Mayor Ralph Locher's first appointments to the CEO's Board of Trustees drew criticism from representatives of the poor and civil-rights leaders, concerned that their constituents would not be heard. They delayed federal funding until the board was modified. The council's community action emphasis disturbed some CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL members, who complained that the agency fostered demands among the poor, creating political problems.

The Cleveland Council's first $12 million federal grant supported a CLEVELAND JOB CORPS center for women and job-training and community-action programs. In Apr. 1966 the council dedicated Neighborhood Opportunity Centers in Central, Kinsman, HOUGH, and GLENVILLE, and on the west side. These offered services through the LEGAL AID SOCIETY, the Cleveland Small Business Development Corp., and the Ohio State Employment Service, as well as food-stamp registration and maternal and infant care. CEO programs included health services, such as the HOUGH-NORWOOD FAMILY HEALTH CARE CENTER, and children's services, such as daycare, the preschool Head Start, and nutrition. The CEO also funded Project HOPE (Housing Our People Economically, Inc.), Foster Grandparents, and programs for senior citizens and in consumer education, energy assistance, and weatherization.

In 1995 Jacqueline A. Middleton directed the CEOGC, which had an annual budget of $40 million, employed over 400 persons, and continued to administer the following programs: Head Start, Community Services Block Grant, Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program, Emergency Housing Program, Employment & Training Program, Family Service Center, Student Mediation Program, and Poverty Research. Its neighborhood centers were still operating in the Central, Glenville, Hough, Tremont, and near west side communities.


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