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Fiscal Year 2007 Community Services Block Grant Program Report to Congress

Published: July 20, 2012
Audience:
Community Services Block Grants (CSBG)
Tags:
authority, eligibility, guidelines, participant, uses

State of Massachusetts
State Assessment Summary

From August 13 to August 17, 2007, a State Assessment was conducted in Massachusetts regarding activities implemented with FY 2006 CSBG funds.  A review of the information showed that the State of Massachusetts was in compliance with the provisions of the CSBG Act.

Program Operations
Massachusetts has designated the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) as the lead agency to administer its CSBG program.  In Massachusetts, there are 24 eligible entities serving 14 counties throughout the State.  The State eligible entities operated numerous programs designed to meet the needs in their respective service areas. 

The largest groups of clients served were White, high school graduates/GED recipients, single adults, renters, and those with family incomes up to 50 percent of the Federal poverty guidelines.  The following table illustrates the number of reported characteristics of individuals and families served throughout the State.
 

Client Characteristics and Statistics for the State of Massachusetts

CSBG Client Characteristics and Statistics Reported by State

Persons

Hispanic or Latino

104,204

African American

69,925

White

267,463

Other

64,684

Multi-race

24,799

Education:  Years of Schooling by Number of Persons

PERSONS

0-8 Years

34,313

9-12 Years, Non-Graduates

47,903

High School Graduates/GED

85,478

12+ Some Postsecondary

28,201

2 or 4 Year College Graduates

16,497

Family Structure by Number of Families

PERSONS

Single Parent Female

76,799

Single Parent Male

6,774

Two Parent Household

29,853

Single Person, No Children

71,939

Two Adults, No Children

18,623

Family Housing by Number of Families

PERSONS

Own

53,645

Rent

138,162

Homeless

7,794

Level of Family Income as a Percentage of Federal Poverty Guidelines by Number of Families

PERSONS

Up to 50%

51,776

51% to 75%

29,922

76% to 100%

43,350

101% to 125%

29,494

126% to 150%

23,944

151% or more

44,749

 

 

Uses of CSBG Funds
State officials and eligible entities reported the following program activities associated with FY 2006 CSBG funds:

Employment Programs
Massachusetts reported spending $1,419,517 in CSBG funding to support a range of services designed to assist low-income individuals in obtaining and maintaining employment.

Education Programs
Massachusetts reported spending $2,029,762 in CSBG funds to provide education services.

Housing Programs
Massachusetts reported spending $1,503,518 for CSBG-coordinated housing programs to improve the living environments of low-income individuals and families. 

Emergency Services Programs
Massachusetts reported spending $1,863,696 for emergency services to combat many kinds of crises.

Nutrition Programs
Massachusetts reported spending $992,989 in CSBG funds to support nutrition programs. 

Self-Sufficiency Programs
Massachusetts reported spending $474,660 on self-sufficiency programs to assist families in becoming more financially independent. 

Health Programs
Massachusetts reported spending $510,368 on CSBG-funded health initiatives, designed to identify and combat a variety of health problems in the community served. 

Income Management Programs
Massachusetts reported spending $847,185 on income management programs using CSBG grant funds. 

Linkages
Massachusetts reported spending $4,099,157 on linkage initiatives to mobilize and coordinate community responses to poverty. 

Programs for Youth and Seniors
Massachusetts reported spending $328,190 on programs serving seniors and $1,197,308 on programs serving youth.  Services noted under these categories were targeted exclusively to children and youth from ages six to 17 or persons over 55 years of age.

Eligible Entities Monitoring and Assessments
The State is required to perform full onsite reviews at least once every three years for each of its 24 eligible entities.  According to information provided to the SA team, the State of Massachusetts monitors each of its eligible entities once every two years.  The State’s monitoring visits focus on board oversight, executive management, fiscal oversight and internal controls, human resource development, program planning and implementation, management information systems, outreach, and other requirements of the State.  OCS SA team members visited the following four eligible entities: 
 
Action for Boston Community Development
Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) was incorporated in 1962.  ABCD’s mission is “to combat poverty by promoting self-help for low-income people and neighborhoods.”  With an annual budget of approximately $116,725,780, which includes $5,490,768 in CSBG funds, ABCD serves more than 100,000 low-income individuals and families annually.  ABCD provides services in the Greater Boston area through its central office.  ABCD also has a decentralized, neighborhood-based, city-wide network of Area Planning Action Councils (APACs), Neighborhood Service Centers (NSCs), Head Start and Child Care Centers, and many other neighborhood programs.  The agency provides the following programs and services:  emergency assistance; education/work supports; housing; child, youth, and family development; prevention and health care; independent living; asset development; and senior services.  ABCD operates the fully-accredited Urban College of Boston (UCB), a two-year, non-traditional, multicultural college.

According to the State’s monitoring report issued in FY 2007, three non-compliance issues were of concern.  The first concern was the long length of time that ABCD has been using the same audit firm.  Next, the number of board members was cited as being inconsistent with agency by-laws.  Lastly, there was an absence of personnel procedures for hiring, evaluating, suspending, and/or terminating the Executive Director.  In addition, the State recommended that ABCD address accessibility to the agency’s website for the Limited English Proficiency populations. 

The SA team examined areas for compliance with OMB Circulars, audit requirements, and the CSBG Act.  The SA team also evaluated the non-compliance issues and recommendations in the State’s monitoring report.  Documents reviewed included the agency’s human resources policy manual, community action plan, A-133 Audit, CSBG application, ROMA data, budget summaries, needs assessment, personnel files, strategic plan, board meeting minutes, and other CSBG-relevant documents.  The SA team supports the State’s monitoring report.  ABCD is required to provide a corrective action plan to the State that addresses the findings.  The SA team requested that the State submit a copy of the corrective action plan to OCS and demonstrate that ABCD is in compliance with the requirements imposed in the State’s monitoring report. 
 
Community Action Committee of Cape Cod and Islands, Inc.
Community Action Committee of Cape Cod and Islands, Inc. (CACCI) was established in 1965.  CACCI’s mission is to “help empower and improve the lives of low-income residents of Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket counties by providing resources and self-advocacy skills to attain and support self-sufficiency.”  CACCI’s annual budget is approximately $8,425,261, which includes $326,494 in CSBG funds.  CACCI annually serves approximately 8,000 low-income individuals and families living in Massachusetts’ Cape and Islands Senate District.  The agency provides the following programs and services:  asset development; Project HOPE – a public health insurance program; Cape United Elders (CUE); homeless outreach; child care resources; housing services; and shelter services.

The SA team examined areas for compliance with OMB Circulars, audit requirements, and the CSBG Act.  According to the State’s FY 2005 monitoring report, non-compliance issues concerning insufficient board membership and missing client eligibility documentation were identified.  Additionally, the State noted five areas for improvement related to board development, agency website development, personnel annual evaluations, fiscal management, and fiscal policies.  The SA team evaluated the non-compliance issues and recommendations.  Documents reviewed included the agency’s human resources policy manual, Community Action Plan, A-133 Audit, CSBG application, ROMA data, budget summaries, needs assessment, personnel files, strategic plan, board meeting minutes, program brochures, and other CSBG-relevant documents.  The SA team supported the State’s conclusions.  The SA team recommended that the State work with CACCI to ensure proper board composition.  Also, the State should submit documentation to OCS that demonstrates CACCI is in compliance with statutory board requirements or, if necessary, a corrective action plan. 

Community Action! of the Franklin, Hampshire, and North Quabbin Regions
Community Action! of the Franklin, Hampshire, and North Quabbin Regions (Community Action!) was founded in 1965.  Community Action!’s mission is to “help the entire community by promoting economic justice and improving the quality of life for people with lower incomes.”  Its annual budget is over $14 million, including $326,494 in CSBG funds.  Community Action! serves over 243,000 individuals and families in rural towns and cities located in Franklin County, Worcester County, and Hampshire County.  Community Action!’s programs and services include:  parent-child development; home energy assistance; a mediation and training collaborative; youth; community services; Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); child care; and family support. 

The SA team examined areas for compliance with OMB Circulars, audit requirements, and the CSBG Act.  According to the State’s most current monitoring report, one non-compliance issue regarding insufficient documentation to support clients’ eligibility was found.  Additionally, the State identified one area of improvement related to personnel files.  The SA team evaluated the State’s non-compliance finding and recommendations.  Documents reviewed included the agency’s human resources policy manual, Community Action Plan, A-133 Audit, CSBG application, ROMA data, budget summaries, needs assessment, personnel files, strategic plan,
board meeting minutes, program brochures, and other CSBG-relevant documents.  The SA team supported the State’s conclusions and recommendations regarding client eligibility.  The SA team recommended that Community Action! remove personnel evaluations from sealed envelopes to ensure accessibility by the State during monitoring visits.  Also, the SA team recommended that the agency develop and implement procedures that limit access to personnel files. 

South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Inc.
The South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Inc. (SMOC) was incorporated in 1965.  SMO’s mission is “to improve the quality of life of low-income and disadvantaged individuals and families by advocating for their needs and rights; providing services; educating the community; building a community of support; participating in coalitions with other advocates; and searching for new resources and partnerships.”  With an annual budget of $54 million, which includes $285,683 in CSBG funds, SMOC serves individuals and families throughout ten communities in the MetroWest Region of Massachusetts.  SMOC provides services through a four-tier, multi-program, service delivery system.  This service delivery system encompasses community development, behavioral health, family and nutrition, home energy assistance, financial assistance, domestic violence, outpatient services, Head Start, day care, MetroWest Helpline, employment services, a community resources center, family shelters, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and elderly nutrition.  The system also includes South Middlesex Non-Profit Housing Corporation, which addresses issues of affordable housing for low-to-moderate income families. 

The SA team examined areas for compliance with OMB Circulars, audit requirements, and the CSBG Act.  According to the State’s monitoring report, four non-compliance issues were identified:  the Board of Directors’ public sector membership does not comprise one-third of the board composition; submission of board minutes to DHCD is consistently overdue; submission of CSBG-related reports are often late; and SMOC lacks specific written policies concerning warning, suspension, and termination procedures as well as hiring and evaluation processes for the Executive Director.  The State identified the absence of reference to the Pro-Children Act of 1994 in the policies and procedures manual and the lack of access to the SMOC website by the Limited English Proficiency populations as two areas for improvement. 

The SA team evaluated the four non-compliance issues and the two areas for improvement.   The SA team reviewed the agency’s human resources policy manual, Community Action Plan, A-133 Audit, CSBG application, ROMA data, budget summaries, needs assessment, personnel files, strategic plan, board meeting minutes, program brochures, and other CSBG-relevant documents.  The SA team supported the State’s conclusions and determined that the State and SMOC are working together to make sure that SMOC adheres to statutory requirements and other requirements imposed as a result of the State’s monitoring visit.  The SA team requested that the State submit a copy of a corrective action plan to OCS to demonstrate that SMOC will be in compliance with statutory requirements.