Skip to main content

About Us

Mission & History


Our mission is to empower Ohio’s urban Community Action Agencies through education, networking, and advocating for policies that alleviate poverty and promote self-sufficiency.


Ohio Urban Community Action Network (OUCAN) is a leading resource in breaking the cycle of poverty in urban Ohio, ensuring residents are treated with dignity, and have the resources to prosper in their everyday lives.


In the early 1980s, Community Action Agencies in Akron, Ashtabula, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Lima, Lorain, Toledo, Youngstown and Zanesville realized that due to Ohio’s unique demographics (more large urban centers than any other state in the country) networking to address issues collectively would be necessary. OUCAN (Ohio Urban Community Action Network) formerly Ohio Urban Resources System (OURS), was incorporated in 1985 to represent the needs and interests of Ohio urban poor families and residents.

OUCAN agencies represent 56 percent of the state's total population and 62 percent of those households are living at or below the Federal Poverty Level. We seek to reduce the number of households living in poverty so that no family experiences food insecurity or housing challenges and all are able earn a livable wage.

Today the statewide network is comprised of nine Community Action Agencies representing the largest urban counties. We are a leading resource in strengthening the social and economic security of families and their communities. Our work is further supported by our CEO (new in 2021) and a team of consultants.

OUCAN will continue the anti-poverty fight. We will support public policies and legislation that puts families first. We will maintain open doors to programs and services that promote self-sufficiency and equity. We will be the voice to end poverty for Ohio's children and families.

For more information or join us in our work, please complete the Contact Us form.