The 1964 then-President Lyndon Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act officially declaring the "war on poverty." MCCA formed on October 21 as the McLean County Economic Opportunity Corporation (MCEOC) in response to the community’s need for a unified voice to address the economic problems in the Bloomington-Normal area of McLean County, Illinois.
After years of legal service advocacy for people with lower incomes,
MCEOC established the McLean Legal Aid Society, now known as Prairie State Legal Services.
MCEOC took on the federal and state energy assistance and emergency funds programs, as there were no other qualifying organizations able to provide these services.
Outreach and referral services for the elderly expanded to serve Livingston County.
The organization officially became a part of the network of community action agencies and its name changed to Mid Central Community Action, Inc (MCCA).
MCCA takes on providing Countering Domestic Violence (CDV) Services in McLean County when another nonprofit is unable to continue the program due to lack of funding.
With the help from 100 community volunteers, MCCA rehabilitated a historic Victorian home to provide emergency shelter to abused women and children. To this day, Neville House can accommodate several individuals and families at a time.
MCCA purchased and rehabilitated houses to provide 6 transitional homes for homeless families, expanding MCCA’s Transitional Housing Program.
MCCA became the administrator of the McLean County Affordable Housing Coalition, which provides financial assistance to first time home buyers.
MCCA paired with local agencies and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to start the McLean County Continuum of Care for homeless persons. During the same year, staff members were trained and certified as HUD housing counselors.
MCCA expanded care for the homeless by building 26 energy efficient apartments that serve as permanent housing for homeless individuals. This building was named Mayors Manor in honor of two Bloomington Mayors it served as home to.
MCCA’s housing programs expanded even further. A local contractor volunteered to build affordable homes on lots acquired in 1995, with donated labor and some materials from other corporations in the community. A new home was completed in 2000, which sold for $10,000 under market price. Two duplexes were donated by the Town of Normal to be used as transitional houses, bringing the total number of transitional units to ten. The Affordable Housing Coalition expanded to become the Central Illinois Coalition for Affordable Housing, including Livingston County, and the Coalition received a $395,000 IHDA loan to assist first home buyers with down payment and closing costs. State Farm Bank, Bloomington Community Development, the Town of Normal, and MCCA formed the Olde Towne Neighborhood Redevelopment Partnership, and construction commenced on two remaining lots for affordable homes to be sold.
MCCA became a part of NeighborWorks America, a network of more than 225 community-based non-profits that work to revitalize communities through resident-led affordable housing and community development projects.
The Beich candy factory, after being vacant since 1973, burned to the ground. The building was gifted to MCCA in 2001 and in 2007 the land was used to develop the Trailside Subdivision, comprising 5 completed and sold homes.
MCCA stepped in and took over the Second Chance Renters and Life Skills programs that the Baby Fold could no longer offer due to funding cuts. These programs offer instruction and guidance on budgeting, health, time management, and goal setting.
Inspired by a young child whose home was destroyed after the Pontiac flood in 2008, previous Director of Community Services, Cathy Grafton, began the free “Books for Kids” program. Bookshelves were stocked in both our Bloomington and Pontiac offices, providing children with books to read while waiting for their caregivers to receive services, as well as a book to take home with them.
MCCA lost Francis Irvin, a good friend, and an original board member for 43 years. He could always be relied on to make a pointed comment when discussions strayed from the mission.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided funding for services to prevent homelessness, vocational training, case management for unemployment, small business loans, financial literacy, and vision and dental care for Veterans.
The Holton Homes and Sunny Side public housing developments gathered to form a resident council to discuss and tackle neighborhood concerns like gang violence, broken playground equipment, and trash polluting the west side of Bloomington. MCCA continues to work closely with the Bloomington Housing Authority on this project, and look forward to working with the resident councils to improve the quality of life for the residents of West Bloomington
MCCA began offering homebuyer education online, which has expanded housing services.
Going Green! MCCA partnered with Heartland Community College to create a sustainable agriculture program that provides internships for low-income students to learn about sustainable farming. ARRA funding provided start-up and work-study expenses for this program, which is operated through the Green Institute at Heartland Community College. The Sustainable Agriculture program provides 3 to 5-month internships for low-income students to learn about sustainable farming through hands-on participation. The main focus of the study is horticultural products, dairy, and cheese, fruits and herbs.
Executive Director John Burrill was honored with the prestigious Harry Ring Outstanding Services Award for his personal integrity, strong work ethic, and steady leadership.
MCCA serves as the lead agency for the newly formed West Bloomington Housing Collaborative (WBHC). The formation of the WBHC brought residents, nonprofits, academic institutions, small businesses, and a large corporation together to pursue coordinated strategies and advance revitalization in West Bloomington.
Partnering with the Bloomington Police Department, MCCA launched the Jefferson Street Community House project. Located in the West Bloomington Housing Collaborative target area, the JSCH serves as the place where neighbors can get together for events and build relationships with each other and the BPD.
MCCA was honored with the McLean County Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit Excellence Award, in recognition of the important work that MCCA does in the community.
MCCA began administering the Illinois Emergency Management Agency's McLean County Radon Awareness Grant. The mission of the awareness program is to reduce radon health risks by educating, encouraging testing, and supporting mitigation. The program had previously been administered by the Ecology Action Center.
In conjunction with the Downtown Bloomington Farmer's Market, the 4th Annual Community Innovation Fair was held at Grossinger Motors Arena. Several local innovators showcased their ideas to the community.
MCCA launched an expansion to our Next Step partnership with Heartland Community College, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) of Greater Peoria, State Farm Insurance, and NeighborWorks America, opening the Next Step Financial Opportunity Center, which provides financial and employment coaching, as well as income support services for members of the community, regardless of income.