Community Service Block Grant (CSBG)

ARRA

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).   The Recovery Act provides for $1 billion in additional funds to the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program for Federal Fiscal Year 2009.   As with regularly appropriated CSBG funds, Recovery Act funds may be used for the reduction of poverty, the revitalization of low-income communities, and the empowerment of low-income families and individuals in rural and urban areas to become fully self-sufficient.

Distribution of Funds:

States will receive Recovery Funds, as a separate allotment, under the same formula used for funds allocated under regular annual appropriations.  Fifty States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and Federal and State-recognized Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations will receive $985 million in Recovery Funds.  The Recovery Act mandates that States pass through no less than 99 percent of their Recovery Act allocations for grants to “eligible entities” under the CSBG Act, commonly referred to as Community Action agencies.

State Plan Amendments:

States and Tribes will be required to submit to the Office of Community Service (OCS) an amendment to the FFY 2009 CSBG Application and Plan regarding the use of the Recovery Funds.  They will be expected to make the amended plan available for public inspection and comment and begin distributing Recovery Funds as soon as they become available.

State Use of Funds:

Unlike the regularly-funded CSBG program, the authority as outlined in the Recovery Act does not allow for State administrative expenditures and statewide discretionary activities as stated in Section 675C(b) of the CSBG Act.   The authorization does, however, allow for States to reserve one (1) percent of -the-funds for benefits enrollment coordination activities relating to the identification and enrollment of eligible individuals and families in Federal, State, and local benefit programs.

Income Eligibility Requirement:

The official poverty line as established by the Secretary of Health and Human Services is used as a criterion of eligibility in the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program.  Under provisions of the Recovery Act, during fiscal years 2009 and 2010, States may use 200% (increased from 125%) of the federal poverty level, as opposed to 100%, as the criteria of eligibility for CSBG programs and services if they determine that the higher eligibility level serves the purposes of the CSBG program.

Fiscal Accountability:

Existing accountability measures for CSBG formula grant awards are outlined in the terms and conditions of the grant award and include compliance with OMB Circular A-133, the Single Audit Act of 1984 and compliance with CSBG regulations.

Federal Training and Technical Assistance:

$15 million of CSBG Recovery Act funds are reserved for Federal Training, technical assistance, planning, evaluation, investigations, assistance to states in carrying out corrective action, monitoring, and reporting and data collection, development of performance measurement systems.

For additional information:

Recovery Act Implementation Plan