05-21-2022  4:27 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 13 May 2022

WASHINGTON, DC [5/13/22] – Today the House passed bipartisan legislation led by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) to update the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program.

The CSBG program has not been updated since 1998. The grants support more than 1,000 Community Action Agencies (CAAs), which have been providing holistic assistance to low-income individuals and communities across the country for more than 50 years. According to the most recent available data, in FY2019 CAAs served more than 9.6 million people with low incomes – including nearly 5 million families—across the U.S.

“Millions of families and individuals across the country benefit from local anti-poverty programs and services backed by the Community Services Block Grant program,” said Bonamici, chair of the Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services.

“I’m pleased that the House passed this overdue update to CSBG with strong bipartisan support.

"Our legislation will better help low-income individuals and families achieve economic stability and access housing, child care, utility assistance, employment, and other services. Now the Senate must take up this legislation to modernize and strengthen one of our nation’s most important anti-poverty programs so Community Action Agencies can continue to meet the unique needs of our communities.”

“The Community Services Block Grant is the only federal program with the explicit and overreaching goal of reducing poverty, regardless of its cause,” Rep. Thompson said.

“Virtually every county in the United States has a Community Action Agency, which work to help low-income individuals and families move from poverty to independence. CSBG has not been reauthorized in more than two decades, and today’s bipartisan vote renewed our commitment to reducing poverty and strengthening communities across the country.”

'A better quality of life'

“All of America's communities owe a debt of gratitude to Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and to Congressman Glenn Thompson for their tireless efforts in passing the bipartisan Community Services Block Grant Modernization Act of 2022,” said David Bradley, CEO of the National Community Action Foundation. “In an era of partisanship, these two members prove that Congress can come together in a bipartisan manner and help America’s most vulnerable citizens achieve a path out of poverty. The bill they offered and that Congress approved will not only increase accountability and outcomes, but will further empower communities and their community action agencies to continue to make a real difference in the lives of so many. When this bill becomes law, thousands of communities and millions of individuals and families will experience a better quality of life because of Reps. Bonamici and Thompson’s tireless leadership, skill and dedication in support of the Community Services Block Grant and the Community Action Agencies.”

The Community Services Block Grant Modernization Act of 2021 will reauthorize the program for 10 years and make overdue updates to further reduce poverty. Updates to the CSBG program include:

Reauthorizing the CSBG Act for 10 years at an increased annual level of $1 billion for first five yearsPermanently raising income eligibility to 200 percent of the poverty line, as temporarily provided in the CARES ActPromoting innovation in the community action network through a federally administered Community Action Innovations Program, and requiring federal and state training and technical assistance to support developing and promoting evidence-based approaches to reducing poverty

A fact sheet with more details about the CSBG Modernization Act can be found here. A summary can be found here.

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