Community Services Block Grant
The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) provides U.S. federal funding for Community Action Agencies (CAAs) and other programs that seek to address poverty at the community level. Like other block grants, CSBG funds are allocated to the states and other jurisdictions (including tribes, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and territories) through a formula, with less federal oversight and fewer federal requirements than categorical grants. The CSBG formula determines each jurisdiction's funding level based on poverty population; once disbursed, most of the money is passed by the states and other jurisdictions to CAAs and other designated organizations to be spent on employment, education, income management, housing, nutrition, emergency services, and health.
Congress authorized CSBG by the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1981, P.L. 97-35. President Reagan had requested the consolidation of 85 existing anti-poverty grants into seven categorical grants; Congress agreed to consolidate 77 grants into nine. The nine new block grants were budgeted about 25% less than the programs they replaced (Conlan, qtd. in ). The CSBG legislation was amended in 1998 by the Coates Human Services Reauthorization Act of 1998, P.L. 105-285.
In fiscal year 2007, the Federal Government, through the Department of Health and Human Services, spent $630 million. That amount was $654 million for fiscal year 2008.
- United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - The Administration for Children and Families (ACF). "Community Service Block Grant Program".
- Finegold, Kenneth; Wherry, Laura; Schardin, Stephanie (April 21, 2004). "Block Grants : Historical Overview and Lessons Learned". Washington, D.C.: vsa.
- The President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2009, Appendix, p. 460.
- Lew, Jacob, "The Easy Cuts Are Behind Us", The New York Times, February 5, 2011. Quoting Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Lew, "Since they were instituted, community service block grants have helped to support community action organizations in cities and towns across the country. These are grassroots groups working in poor communities, dedicated to empowering those living there and helping them with some of life’s basic necessities. These are the kinds of programs that President Obama worked with when he was a community organizer, so this cut is not easy for him. Yet for the past 30 years, these grants have been allocated using a formula that does not consider how good a job the recipients are doing. The president is proposing to cut financing for this grant program in half, saving $350 million, and to reform the remaining half into a competitive grant program, so that funds are spent to give communities the most effective help."