Greater East Texas Community Action Program (GETCAP) is a private non-profit corporation established in 1965 to offer a variety of programs and services to assist low-income individuals and families. Individual programs are designed and implemented to address specific problems. The combined programs provide a broad base of support for the residents of numerous counties in East Texas who are served by the agency. Services offered to vary by county.
Policies and procedures of all agency activities are established by a governing Board of Directors. There is an eighteen-member Board of Directors representing three significant groups in the community: the poor sector, the public sector, and the private sector. Each county served has the option of either direct board representation or a county advisory committee. GETCAP’s regional headquarters is located at 114 W. Hospital in Nacogdoches, TX. GETCAP ’s annual operating budget is approximately 14 million with 175 employees.
The act of 1964 had a provision to create a program to benefit young children. Nationally a panel of child development experts gathered to draw up a program to help communities meet the needs of disadvantaged preschool children. This became the blue print for Project Head Start with the first eight week pilot project occurring in 1965. In 1967 funding for programs first became available. In late 1967 it was decided by the board to pursue the program for young children called Head Start. In 1968 first funding was secured. The first classrooms were established at the Presbyterian Church in Nacogdoches. Ms. Zelma Harris was our first Head Start Director.
The weatherization program (in the very earliest stages) was quickly added. The focus was not to keep homes cool, but warm in the winter. At that time air conditioning was considered more of a luxury! Services quickly expanded to include Angelina County, Trinity and Houston Counties. Polk County and San Jacinto were soon included.
The agency as a whole has grown and evolved. In 1998 Rusk, Cherokee, Gregg, Smith and Wood counties were added to the energy assistance and weatherization programs. Today we are Greater East Texas Community Action Program. We provide a number of services throughout East Texas. From Head Start in 5 counties to Energy Assistance, Emergency Assistance in 11 counties, Weatherization in 10 counties and a myriad of other special projects including school supply drives, fan & air conditioner drives. We proudly partner with a number of churches and organizations throughout east Texas to make a difference in our communities.