SJR 223 (1993): Standing Joint Subcommittee
on Block Grants
July 10, 2002
Continuing a 20-year tradition, the joint
subcommittee held a public hearing on the federal FY 2002 application
for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) on July 10. The joint subcommittee
serves as Virginia’s compliance mechanism for the required public hearing
on the Community Services Block Grant. The Community Services Block Grant,
administered by the Department of Social Services, is submitted as a narrative
plan in compliance with Section VI, Subtitle B of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation
Act of 1981 (P.O. 97-35), as amended by various acts, including the 1998
Community Services Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. 9901 et seq.).
Upon conclusion of the members’ introductions,
introductory remarks were presented concerning the Community Services
programs, noting that the community services programs are the foundation
of social services delivery in the community. Following these introductory
remarks, a summary of the grant application was presented.
The federal law requires the administering
agency to submit a narrative plan describing the Commonwealth’s proposed
use and distribution of the funds and how the assurances required in the
law will be met. Total projected funding for the first year of this two-year
grant cycle is $14,017,676, with federal grant funding of $9,692,401,
state funding of $3,177,979, and $1,147,296 in Temporary Assistance to
Needy Families (TANF) money. Legislative actions will determine the funding
in the second year of the grant cycle.
Recipients in Virginia
Virginia has 26 local community action agencies—24
local nonprofit organizations and two local government community action
agencies—and three statewide nonprofit community action organizations—Virginia
Community Action Re-entry System (Virginia CARES), Project Discovery,
and Southeast R-CAP/Virginia Water Project. Ninety percent of the funds
will be awarded to the local community action agencies; five percent are
discretionary funds and will be allocated to the statewide community action
organizations; and five percent will be used for administrative and operational
costs for the CSBG by the Department of Social Services.
In Virginia, the 26 community action agencies
provide a wide range of services to low-income populations, which are
designed to assist low-income people in becoming self-sufficient, such
- job training and skills development,
- child care,
- Head Start programs,
- emergency services, and
- water and waste water facility development.
Some other Community Services Block Grant
activities are health services, elderly services, nutrition, ex-offender
services, economic and community development, and community organization.
Monitoring and Training
The current grant continues the development
of Results-Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA), the Community
Services Block Grant approach to the implementation of federal requirements
for measuring and reporting outcomes and for compliance with the Government
Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA).
Virginia is recognized as a leader in the
development of this outcome-based approach. In the coming year, new goals
for training and monitoring have been set by the Department of Social
Services. For example, on-site ROMA training for the boards of directors
of all 26-community action agencies will be provided and follow-up technical
assistance and training will be conducted.
Virginia’s community action agencies have
served more than 100,000 people in the past year. Individuals may be referred
through many different avenues. Many of these individuals arrive with
emergencies for which no other agencies provide assistance. Efforts to
assist individuals in the transition from welfare to productive, active
lives and to maintain families will continue in the coming grant cycle.
Family development programs have been designed to provide multi-faceted
help for families with many self-sufficiency issues, including substance
abuse, unemployment, lack of job training, domestic violence, and housing.
During the public hearing, testimony was
received from 15 individuals. The public speakers, all of whom expressed
their thanks for the services received from the relevant community action
program, included the following:
- One who works with ex-offenders in the
Virginia Community Action Re-Entry System, a statewide program popularly
know as Virginia CARES, who noted that no shelters or other places will
take individuals who are reentering society from incarceration and that
the agencies must find hotel placements, boarding houses, and other
kinds of accommodation.
- Several men who testified about the
success of Virginia CARES in their lives after they exited a jail or
correctional institution. These ex-offenders were provided assistance
with parenting, drug counseling, and the practical difficulties of life
that can so easily derail ex-offenders. All of these speakers noted
that Virginia CARES was their only source of help.
- A community action program official
who detailed a senior program known as "Adventures in Learning," which
provides instruction in various subjects, such as genealogy, bird watching,
and related activities to 100 or more older citizens.
- A young woman who recounted her experience
in getting off welfare and becoming independent through community action
assistance with training for employment, child care and hope.
- Several other young women, who moved
to Virginia from other states with economic and/or health issues, described
how they had been helped by the local community action agency.
- Several young people who supported Project
Discovery, a program to prepare young people for college and to instruct
them in what to do and how to get admitted to college and to obtain
- A homeowner who praised the weatherization
program. The workers insulated her home, repaired all broken windows,
replaced the grant and back doors, and repaired the lock on the basement
- A man who spoke about dire financial
difficulties and the circumstances that can precipitate such problems,
such as divorce, illness, separation, and unemployment. He noted that
the community action staffers provide the needed help by talking to
mortgage companies and making reasonable arrangements for repayment.
- Three speakers from Northern Virginia
who told resounding success stories. One man who was employed for many
years in the travel industry became unemployed after September 11. He
noted that the American Red Cross referred him to the local community
action agency. Another man, an immigrant from Ecuador, described how
he had arrived in the United States to get a better life and education
for his three children. A woman immigrant from East Africa told of taking
computer classes and obtaining employment. She was then able to bring
her two sons to this country.
After the public hearing, the joint subcommittee
unanimously approved a motion to endorse the current block grant application.
The Hon. Charles J. Colgan
For information, contact:
Norma E. Szakal
Division of Legislative Services
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