Community Services Block Grant Program
Contact: Maitri Sojourner
Department of Commerce
P.O. Box 42525
Olympia, WA 98504-2525
State Website: http://www.commerce.wa.gov/csbg
Participation: 10,015 participants were served by workforce development programs in the Community Services Block Grant program between January and December 31, 2011.
Who is Served: Citizens with incomes at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible (about $22,350 for a family of four).
Program Description: The purpose of the program is to encourage local communities to establish goals that address the causes of poverty. Funds support the costs of implementing comprehensive local plans designed to eliminate barriers to self-sufficiency among needy residents. The grant can support 84 activities and services, including housing assistance, emergency services, education, job readiness counseling, job placement assistance, nutrition, asset building, and transportation services.
Other Program Characteristics:
- Funded activities are tied to long-term accountability measures with federal, state, and local private and public funders.
- Community Action Agencies collaborate with and support a variety of workforce development initiatives at the local level.
- Community action strengthens the social service infrastructure necessary for employment.
Program History: The Community Services Block Grant Program is a continuation of funding by the Office of Economic Opportunity created by Congress in 1964. Funds and policies were transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services in 1981, and states administer the block grant.
PlanningCycle: Two-year state plan, with annual local plans from grantees.
- Unemployed people obtained employment.
- People who were employed obtained an increased income.
- People started small businesses through enterprise training and technical assistance.
- People capitalized a small business with accumulated savings.
- People obtained living wage employment and benefits.
- People obtained access to reliable transportation and/or drivers licenses to acquire or maintain employment.
- People received diplomas or certificates after completing pre-employment skills training.
Funding and Regional Division: The state contracts with 30 community action agencies, some serving more than one county, that address the causes of poverty
in every local community in the state. Each community action agency must submit an annual Community Action Plan. Funds are distributed by a formula developed in collaboration with the Washington State Community Action Partnership. Funds are allocated using a needs-based formula that includes U.S. Census data of the number of persons living at or below 125 percent of poverty.
State Funding: None.
Federal Funding: $804,160 (January-December 2011) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for workforce development programs from the overall block grant budget.
Statutory Authority: Federal-Public Law 112-10. Administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, and Washington State Department of Commerce.