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Domestic Volunteer Service Act Amendments of 1979 Statement on Signing S. 239 Into Law.

December 13, 1979

I have today signed S. 239, which reauthorizes funding for the domestic volunteer service programs administered by the ACTION agency. The most notable of these is VISTA, a program through which volunteers donate their talents to help low-income people combat poverty and poverty-related problems.

I am especially pleased that this bill emphasizes use of existing authority for the new urban volunteer program, an important part of the comprehensive urban policy which I first presented in March 1978. Included in my urban initiatives and adopted in this act are the Urban Volunteer Corps, which will provide neighborhood groups with skilled volunteers, and a Good Neighbor Fund to make small grants to local urban organizations that undertake projects for community development. In addition, the act authorizes a fixed-income consumer counseling program to help low-income elderly people manage their money and Helping Hand programs through which volunteer, in-home services will be provided to reduce the number of the elderly and the handicapped requiting institutionalization.

In my urban policy I called for a partnership involving Federal, State, and local governments, the private sector, and neighborhood groups to revitalize the Nation's distressed urban communities. An important part of that policy was the desire to encourage citizens to take an active part in this revitalization activity. S. 239 will help to make such voluntary efforts a reality.

Some of the activities covered by the new urban volunteer program are currently being conducted on a demonstration basis in selected areas around the country, where, at minimal cost, volunteers have been successful in helping to solve problems and improve the quality of life in their communities.

With the passage of this legislation, 15 out of the 19 legislative proposals I originally submitted to Congress in my urban policy have been signed into law.

Finally, I want to recognize the diligent efforts and support of Senator Alan Cranston, and Representative Carl Perkins in getting this legislation enacted.

Note: As enacted, S. 239 is Public Law 96143, approved December 13.

Jimmy Carter, Domestic Volunteer Service Act Amendments of 1979 Statement on Signing S. 239 Into Law. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248203

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