CSBG DCL-2021-27 Hurricane Ida Response FY2021

Publication Date: September 10, 2021

Community Services Block Grant

Dear Colleague Letter

DCL#: CSBG-DCL-2021-27

DATE: September 10, 2021

TO: Community Services Block Grant State, Territory, and Tribal Officials

SUBJECT: Hurricane Ida Response


Dear Colleagues,

The purpose of this letter is to remind Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) state, territory, and tribal lead agencies, and eligible entities of flexibilities and resources available to support response efforts related to Hurricane Ida. The Office of Community Services (OCS) is committed to ensuring the CSBG Network can address the critical needs of people and communities with low incomes, as consistent with the purpose and allowable uses of CSBG. 

Use of CSBG Funding for Disaster Relief

States impacted by Hurricane Ida — as well as related tornadoes and flooding — include Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. CSBG state offices and eligible entities in these states — more commonly known as Community Action Agencies (CAAs) — can serve a critical role in supporting low-income individuals, families, and communities as they recover from the hurricane and related aftermath.

Please see CSBG IM #154 “Disaster Flexibilities and Waivers" and CSBG DCL #2021-15 “Hurricane Preparedness and Response” for additional details on the use of CSBG in responding to Hurricane Ida. CAAs can play a critical role during a disaster, including serving as a central point of service in a community; providing access to facilities for urgent needs; and offering coordination and referral services. Additional support services can include providing access to fresh food, potable water, and other basic necessities, as well as financial supports for individuals experiencing a loss of income due to a disaster. OCS places a high priority on helping CSBG-funded agencies to resume existing services where appropriate, and to modify existing Community Action Plans where necessary to free up resources to meet urgent priorities.

Eligibility Determination
Section 673(2) of the CSBG Act specifies that the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) shall be used as a criterion of eligibility in CSBG and that the state may revise the poverty line to not exceed 125 percent of the official poverty line. The CARES Act authorizes states to revise the income limit for the eligibility ceiling from 125 to 200 percent of the FPL for CSBG services furnished during fiscal years 2020 and 2021, including services furnished with the state’s regular CSBG appropriations during those years — however, this increased eligibility currently ends on September 30, 2021.

As noted in CSBG IM #154 “Disaster Flexibilities and Waivers,” states may consider circumstances where individuals may have been made low-income by the disaster, including disaster-related unemployment, and may establish appropriate procedures based on individual and family needs. Particularly in situations that may be exacerbated by COVID-19, states are encouraged to review existing procedures and establish emergency procedures, if appropriate, to streamline the eligibility determination process following a disaster. If a displaced individual or family does not have immediate access to the eligibility documentation, for example, emergency procedures may include flexibility in accepting signed statements from the family attesting to the necessary eligibility information pending availability of necessary documents.

FEMA Resource Page on Emergency Response and Assistance

The Federal Emergency Management Agency Visit disclaimer page (FEMA) has a resource website related to Hurricane Ida. Please review the content which could be helpful as you respond to Hurricane Ida, particularly as it relates to making sure individuals know how to apply for FEMA disaster assistance. To learn more about the Hurricane Ida response across all federal agencies and what would be helpful to your community, please visit USA.gov Visit disclaimer page .

Thank you for your attention to these matters. OCS looks forward to continuing to provide high-quality services to OCS grantees.

Charisse Johnson

Director, Division of Community Assistance
Office of Community Services

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