The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) is a federal, anti-poverty block grant, which funds the operations of a state-administered network of local agencies. The grant is a federal investment that creates an infrastructure able to respond locally to the national problems that cause poverty. Community needs assessments drive the response and innovation. For one community, this might mean providing job placement and retention services; for another, a community development project. In rural areas, it might mean providing access to health services or developing a rural transportation system.
This CSBG network consists of more than 1,100 agencies that create, coordinate and deliver programs and services to low-income Americans in 96 percent of the nation’s counties. Most agencies in the network are Community Action Agencies (CAAs), created through the Economic Opportunity Act, a predecessor of the CSBG. Because the CSBG funds the central management and core activities of these agencies, the CSBG network is able to mobilize additional resources to combat the central causes of poverty.
Community representation and accountability are hallmarks of the CSBG, where agencies are governed by a tri-partite board. This board structure consists of elected public officials, representatives of the low-income community, and appointed leaders from the private sector.
States monitor and provide critical oversight of local agencies. Unlike other block grants, CSBG has developed a highly structured management and accountability system. This system is known as ROMA (Results Oriented Management and Accountability). States have indicated that due to the oversight and accountability provided by them, CSBG-funded local agencies are generally stronger and healthier than average non-profits.
NASCSP’s CSBG Annual Reports
The National Association for State and Community Service Programs publishes an annual CSBG report, including a summary of highlights and fact sheets for each state. Click the link above to browse the reports.
Oregon Housing and Community Services is Oregon’s housing finance agency, providing financial and program support to create and preserve opportunities for quality, affordable housing for Oregonians of lower and moderate income.
OHCS administers federal and state anti-poverty, homeless and energy assistance grants as well as community service programs through funds provided by the Community Services Block Grant. OHCS works with its partners at the local level to process and deliver services more efficiently. Community Action Partnership of Oregon’s network of CAAs and OHDC provide such programs as Head Start, weatherization, job skills training, transportation and many more services and programs aimed at alleviating the impact of poverty through OHCS funding and resources.
The current agency was created in 1991, when the legislature merged the Oregon Housing Agency with State Community Services. The coordination between housing and services creates a continuum of programs that can assist and empower lower- income individuals and families in their efforts to become self-reliant.
OHCS also assists in the financing of single-family homes, the new construction or rehabilitation of multifamily affordable housing developments, as well as grants and tax credits to promote affordable housing.