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CSBG Q & As ARRA Part I

Published: May 29, 2009
Audience:
Community Services Block Grants (CSBG)
Category:
Guidance, Policies, Procedures, Q & As

USE OF FUNDS

1.  Question:
Does the Recovery Act provide any funds to help States cover the cost of administrative services and activities?

Answer:
No, the Recovery Act specifically directs that 99 percent of the additional funds provided to States be distributed to eligible entities; the remaining one (1) percent of Recovery Act Funds must be used by the State for benefits enrollment coordination activities relating to the identification and enrollment of eligible individuals and families in Federal, State, and local benefit programs.  

2.  Question:
Can States use a portion of the one percent designated for benefit enrollment and coordination activities to cover administrative costs?

Answer:
No, States are required to use the designated one percent for the purposes of benefit enrollment and coordination activities.  The block grant gives States flexibility to administer benefits enrollment activities in a manner that best meets the needs of individuals, families and communities in their State.  States will be required to submit a plan for benefits enrollment and coordination as part of their FY 2009 Plan for Recovery Act (ARRA) Funds.

3.  Question:
Can eligible entities use a portion of the Recovery Act Funds to cover administrative costs related to Recovery Act services and activities?  

Answer:
The Recovery Act does not prohibit eligible entities from using a portion of Recovery Act Funds for administrative costs associated with delivery of new community services and activities funded by those funds.  Under an efficiency measure approved by the Office of Management and Budget, a goal for the CSBG program is to reduce total amount of sub-grantee CSBG administrative funds expended each year as a percentage of total community funds.   Therefore, eligible entities are strongly encouraged to minimize their expenditure of Recovery Act Funds for administrative expenses.

4.  Question:
What types of services and activities can be supported with CSBG Recovery Act Funds?

Answer:
As with regularly appropriated CBSG 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.  However, consistent with the intent of the Recovery Act, States and eligible entities are expected to focus assistance provided with Recovery Act Funds on activities geared towards the preservation and creation of jobs to promote economic recovery and the provision of assistance to those most impacted by the recession.  Short-term and long-term services and activities should be directed towards innovative projects that help targeted populations to achieve economic self-sufficiency for the long-term.

5.  Question:
What activities and services are covered under the “…benefits enrollment and coordination…?” Are there examples of what States should do to address the intent of this requirement?  

Answer:
As a block grant program, the CSBG Act provides States with flexibility in identifying and addressing the specific needs of their States.  To that end, States have flexibility to determine what types of benefits enrollment coordination activities best meet the needs of individuals, families and communities in their States.  States must identify benefits enrollment and coordination activities as part of their FY 2009 Plan for Recovery Act (ARRA) Funds.

6.  Question:
Can States use their one percent of Recovery Act Funds for benefits enrollment coordination activities related to non-CSBG funded benefit programs?

Answer:
The Recovery Act does not limit use if the one (1) percent available to States for benefits enrollment coordination activities only to CSBG funded programs.  Instead the Recovery Act expressly provides that such funds be used for “identification and enrollment of eligible individuals and families in Federal, State and local benefit programs.

7.  Question:
Is there a match requirement for the dollar amount a Community Action Agency may receive?

Answer:
There is no Federal match requirement associated with CSBG funds.