Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee, Inc. was established as a private nonprofit in 1965 in response to the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. The County Commissioners for Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties designated SMTCCAC as the official recipient of Economic Opportunity funds in 1965 after an application for a federal grant was submitted by the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland on behalf of the agency. The agency’s first funding was a $94,115 federal grant; $9,415 of which was a local match.
Community Organization and Neighborhood Youth Corps were the first programs to emerge when funding was approved and five employees were hired. After additional funding was received in 1967, Head Start, Emergency Food and Medical Services sprang into action. A cannery and nutritional program began operation. The agency took on its first Self-Help Housing Project in that same year; the last group of first-time homeowners completed construction of their homes using sweat equity in 2013, bringing the total to 580 homes built using the Self-Help Housing method by SMTCCAC.
The development of safe and affordable housing emerged as an agency priority in the late 60’s with the formation of H.O.U.S.E., Inc. in Charles County. This provided a process for grass-root organizing and control of housing development for consumers of the agency’s services. The concept expanded to Calvert and St. Mary’s counties with SaTav, Inc. and P.R.O.U.D. All three corporations were successful in producing housing developments for residents struggling to improve their living conditions.
Embedded in a grassroots delivery system, SMTCCAC’s services were designed to combat poverty and promote economic self-sufficiency. The Family Movement Independence Demonstration Projects were formed to concentrate available services and examine their impact. The agency began conducting periodic needs assessments to determine the need for services, gaps in existing services and areas where advocacy is needed. Periodic community needs assessments are still conducted by SMTCCAC.
Program services have continued to keep pace with identified community needs and reflect the changes that time brings. Some of the other programs operated by the agency that are no longer offered include Job Development and Placement, the Minority Business Assistance Program, Medical Transportation, Women Infants and Children (WIC), REACH, the Assets for Independence Demonstration Program and Free to Grow. All of these programs had an impact on lives and the community as a whole.
SMTCCAC started operating the Senior Companion Program in 1977, Friendly Health Services (Adult Day Care Center) in 1995, and Southern Maryland Area Rural Transportation in 1996. The agency became an Approved Housing and Urban Development Counseling Agency in 1991. Operation of the AmeriCorps program began in 2000; approval as a Career Training School offering Class B Commercial Driver’s License Training was gained in 2002. The path the agency has charted has led to progress for the families and individuals it has served.