About Us

Economic Opportunities Act of 1964

Enacted by President Lyndon B. Johnson in August of 1964, the Economic Opportunity Act was a fundamental law of Johnson’s War on Poverty. Implemented by the Office of Economic Opportunity, the legislation included a variety of social programs to promote education, general welfare and health for the impoverished in America.


It was the Economic Opportunities Act of 1964 that allowed for the establishment of two Community Action Agencies to serve the region, starting in 1965. In October 1973, the two became one. The Johnson, Carter and Unicoi County Human Development Corp. merged with the Upper East Tennessee Economic Opportunity Authority Inc. (serving Hancock, Hawkins, Greene, Sullivan and Washington counties), forming the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency, Inc. (UETHDA) on October 1, 1973.

The respective County Commissions of each agency adopted resolutions officially recognizing the agency as the designated Community Action Agency.

UETHDA has encountered countless changes and experienced major transformations over the years. The agency has been successful because it has the flexibility to adapt to the changes. The basic philosophy of “Helping People, Changing Lives”, and our mission of helping individuals and families   to strengthen and develop, have remained unchanged.

From its humble beginnings consisting of Conduct and Administration, and a summer Head Start Program, UETHDA has grown to an annual budget of almost $26 million. However, real community impact is not measured in dollars – it is measured in the positive changes that occur in people’s lives because of what Community Action helps them accomplish.

Our Mission

The mission of Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency, Inc. is to provide education, direction and support to individuals, families and organizations in order to strengthen and stabilize the community through collaborative efforts of agency programs and cooperative partnerships.

Our Vision

The vision of Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency, Inc. is to be the model agency for the community, state and nation by:

  • Valuing the intrinsic worth of each individual, family and organization
  • Supporting the community through exemplary, essential and
    distinct services
  • Empowering clients to reach their greatest potential
  • Enhancing community partnerships through collaborative efforts
  • Fostering a seamless continuum of care to clients

   Community Action Partnership

The Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency is proud to be part of the Community Action Partnership. The service areas of Community Action Agencies (CAAs) cover 99% of the nation’s counties. Our agencies are connected by a national network that includes the Community Action Partnership national association, regional associations, state associations, a national lobbying organization, and a national association of Community Service Block Grant administrators.

CAAs are a primary source of direct support for the more than 37.2 million people who live in poverty in the United States (2020 US Census). Of the 5.1 million families served by Community Action, 82% were in poverty, living below 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Of the 5.1 million families served by Community Action, nearly 33% were in severe poverty, living below 50% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

The Community Action network serves more than 15.8 million individuals per year and 7 million families per year.

CAAs serve all regions and populations:
• 54% of CAAs serve rural areas.
• 36% of CAAs serve areas considered both urban and rural.
• 10% of CAAs serve urban areas.

The average population a CAA serves is approximately 300,000 people. The average number of low-income people within each
service area is 37,600.