The Office of Human Affairs (OHA) is celebrating 50 years this week of serving the Hampton Roads community. As part of the celebration, the agency introduced its new name: Hampton Roads Community Action Program (HRCAP). Officials say the name change was inspired by the need for the name of the agency to be more recognizable to the people it serves.
Various events marked the celebration, including the opening of a new office of Virginia Cares at 115-28th Street also in Newport News. The program is operated under the auspices of OHA and helps ex-felons integrate in the community after incarceration.
HRCAP opened its doors in 1966 as the Office of Economic Opportunity, to help low-income individuals and families become self-sufficient. Early programs included Medicare Alert, an outreach to elderly residents that apprised them of their Medicare benefits; Neighborhood Youth Corps, which provided opportunities to disadvantaged youth and high school dropouts; and Head Start, then a summer program for children 5-years of age.
As the number and scope of agency programs grew, political events led to the abolition of the federal Office of Economic Opportunity, and the Newport News OEO officially changed its name to Office of Human Affairs in 1973. Over the following years, the agency expanded, growing to serve Hampton with programs such as Project Discovery and the Four-Year-Old Initiative.
In the late 1990s the agency created the Peninsula Community Development Corporation, featuring an affordable housing program that built and refurbished homes for low and middle income families. More recently the agency has received funding to address the issue of homeless veterans through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program.
For more information, call (757) 247-0379.