Costa, Fitzpatrick, McCollumIntro Bill to Modernize the Community Services Block Grant

Jan 14, 2014
Press Release

Bill Strengthens Community-Based Poverty Reduction Efforts

Washington, DC- Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), and Jim Costa (D-CA) introduced bipartisan legislation that will reauthorize the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) program and modernize local efforts to reduce poverty and economic insecurity. The Community Services Block Grant Act (H.R. 3854) encourages innovative, community-based solutions to address the local challenges and spur economic development. CSBG funds support nearly 1100 nonprofit Community Action Agencies that are tasked with a wide-ranging mission of obtaining equal opportunity and building self-sufficiency for those in underserved communities.

Congressman Costa (CA-16) said,“Every community faces its own challenges and needs its own local solutions that empower our nation’s greatest asset, its people. My district is home to one of the nation’s largest Community Action Agencies, the Fresno Economic Opportunity Commission, which has been investing in the people of the Valley since 1965. This bill and CSBG encourage innovative, coordinated efforts that improve economic opportunities for families, seniors, and communities as a whole.”

CongressmanFitzpatrick (PA-8) said, “Tackling poverty and increasing access to the American dream starts at the local level. The introduction of the Community Service Block Grant Act is a step in the right direction when it comes to refocusing our anti-poverty efforts in the communities that need it most, and getting support to the local leaders who know how best to put those funds to work. I’m encouraged this measure has strong bipartisan support, because efforts to strengthen families, increase self-sufficiency and address local needs shouldn’t be a matter of politics.”

“Community action agencies have been one of our country’s greatest assets in the war on poverty,” added Congresswoman McCollum (MN-04). “Serving about 16 million low-income individuals each year, these agencies provide access to critical services such as job training, nutrition support, financial counseling, and early education. By empowering communities to make choices on a local level about how to best serve their families, each community is able to invest in the support services they want and need. This reauthorization builds on the successes of agencies in Minnesota and throughout United States, but also includes needed reforms to ensure federal dollars are being spent effectively.  I am proud to lead the push for reauthorizing these critical federal funds and will do everything I can to ensure passage of this legislation.”

David Bradley, co-founder and CEO of National Community Action Foundation, the nonprofit advocacy organization for Community Action Agencies, added "This bill doesn't just reinvest in the best of the War on Poverty and improve accountability in crucial community programs, but it also sparks innovation and strengthens local control, which are invaluable developments. The leadership of Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick and Congressman Jim Costa proves that poverty can be a bi-partisan issue. Their willingness to reach across the aisle and really help their neighbors in this day and age of gridlock will not be forgotten. These members have earned their communities' gratitude."