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Community Services Block Grant Program

Contact: Diane Fay
Department of Commerce
P.O. Box 42525
Olympia, WA 98504-2525
Telephone: 360.725.2903
E-mail: Diane.Fay@Commerce.wa.gov

State Website: http://www.commerce.wa.gov/csbg

Participation: 75,351 participants were served by workforce development programs in the Community Services Block Grant program between January and December 31, 2012.

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 and solutions 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 supports activities and services provided by community action agencies across Washington. Some of these services include: housing assistance, energy assistance, emergency services, education, job readiness counseling, job placement assistance, nutrition, asset development, 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.
  • Empowers low-income families to become self-sufficient through a network of public and nonprofit agencies.

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, which administers the block grant to states, territories, and tribes.

PlanningCycle: Two-year state plan, with annual local plans provided by grantees utilizing information from local area community needs assessments.

Outcome Measures: In 2012, the Washington State CSBG Network addressed conditions of poverty that create barriers to economic security for its citizens. Listed below are some of the 2012 outcomes measured:

  • 75,371 low-income participants obtained support which reduced or eliminated barriers to employment, acquired a job, obtained an increase in employment income, or achieved living wage employment and benefits.
  • 82,393 low-income, vulnerable individuals received services from the CSBG Network and secured and/or maintained an independent living situation as a result.
  • 972,544 low-income individuals and families received emergency assistance from the CSBG Network through Washington. 
  • 87 low-income individuals started small businesses through enterprise training and technical assistance
  • 21,489 low-income individuals increased their employment potential by completing vocational, literacy, language (ESL) skill- training, ABE/GED, and post-secondary education courses provided through the CSBG Network.

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 community in the state. Each 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: State and federal data are not tracked separately. See below for total state and federal funds used for workforce development programs.

Federal Funding: $1,543,391 (January-December 2012) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Washington State General Fund 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.

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