Community Services Block Grant Helps Address Local Social Service Needs

HRD-86-91: Published: May 7, 1986. Publicly Released: May 7, 1986.

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GAO obtained information pertaining to reauthorization of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), specifically: (1) how states use CSBG funds and whether CSBG-supported services duplicate other local social service programs; (2) what role CSBG funds have in local service providers' operations; (3) what impact terminating CSBG might have on the services that local agencies provide; and (4) state and federal roles in administering CSBG.

For the past several years, the administration has recommended terminating CSBG because it believes that: (1) CSBG-supported services duplicate the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG); (2) community action agencies could function with the administrative funding available from other federal and state sources; and (3) CSBG funds are not essential to the continued operation of such agencies. GAO found that: (1) the CSBG-supported services of 16 community action agencies it visited did not duplicate those of the local social services agencies with CSBG funding; (2) although CSBG funds accounted for only 17 percent of total community action agency funding, the funds enabled them to identify community needs, offer services not available under other federal or state programs, and support administrative operations; and (3) according to state and local officials, without additional funds, CSBG program termination could eliminate these services.

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