Texas provided recovery to its residents after Hurricanes Ike and Dolly in 2008. Alaska, Alabama, Colorado and Louisiana supported critical child protective services, including foster care and adoption services. South Carolina protects its incapacitated adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Minnesota pays for migrant childcare so low-income workers may harvest its farmers’ crops. Nebraska feeds its elderly with a noontime meal. These are just some of the examples of how the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) Program provides direct assistance at the local level.
SSBG releases crucial funds to states and territories during a time when local and state governments are slashing budgets in order to reduce deficits. Nearly $300 billion in state-level spending cuts over the past five years have decimated local funding for social services.
Administered through ACF’s Office of Community Services, the $1.7 billion grant program is divided among the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Territories of Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
This program touches the lives of 23 million people, who receive services funded completely, or in part, by SSBG. Half of those assisted are children.
States and territories do not have to match federal funds to receive this money. States and territories can choose to fund 29 types of assistance that are relevant to their target population they want to lift out of poverty. From employment services to home-based care, SSBG’s goals of promoting self-sufficiency and removing the need for institutionalization are carried out on a daily basis.
Through this federal, state and local partnership, SSBG provides much-needed resources to help local governments and nonprofits reach their most vulnerable citizens and restore faith in the word “community.”