Phone: (775) 786-6023

History: CSBG & CAAs

Nevada CSBG Information

The purpose of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) is to alleviate the causes and effects of poverty in Nevada communities. Grant funds may be used over a two-year period, and there are no matching requirements. The contact person for CSBG is Gary Gobelman, who can be reached at (775) 688-2284.

The CSBG is a formula grant. This means that the distribution of grant funds to local areas is determined by a federally set formula.

In 1999, the Nevada Community Action Association (NCAA) was created to provide a statewide organization for training, technical assistance, and collaborative partnering of Nevada CSBG recipient agencies. The Federal HHS/Administration for Children and Families & Office of Community Services (OCS) has provided a five (5) year grant for NCAA organizational development. OCS has also provided a first year Training and Technical Assistance grant to address training needs for topics identified by Nevada's CSBG agencies. CSA is the lead agency and OCS' grantee for NCAA development and operations. The State office is working with CSA to provide additional funding to expand the NCAA member training series.

A Brief History of the Community Services Network

Legislative History: Community Action was born at the enactment of the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) of 1964. The ambitious purpose of this statute was to eliminate the causes and consequences of poverty in the United States. The Act established a federal Office of Economic Opportunity, formed state Economic Opportunity offices, and created the new community-based organizations called Community Action Agencies (CAAs).

A unique governance concept, the tri-partite board, was designed to promote "maximum feasible participation" by poor people in identifying the problems they faced and in crafting potential solutions. CAAs accomplished maximum feasible participation in many ways; a primary tool was their inclusive board structure, and they also hired low-income people as staff and created community leadership opportunities. This innovative process attracted considerable national and international attention. It did not take long for the CAAs to become respected institutions, recognized for their unique ability to identify problems in the low-income community and to mobilize residents and resources to address them. Many states adopted legislation mirroring the federal EOA and provided complementary core funding to the CAAs.

Early Innovations & Achievements: From the start, CAAs were expected to act as laboratories for innovative methods of eliminating causes of poverty--causes that neither private efforts, post-war economic growth, nor the public programs initiated before and after World War II had been able to eliminate. The CAAs succeeded dramatically in this role. For example, it is in the Community Services Network that the Head Start program was developed, refined, and shared with other institutions. Today, CAAs remain the single largest delivery system for Head Start programs. Legal Services, the Community Food and Nutrition Program, Foster Grandparents, and National Youth Sports are just a few of the successful programs that began in the Community Services Network. Between 1964 and 1980, governors and Congress regularly adapted pilot programs from the CAAs to become nationwide programs. Among the largest of these programs were the energy crisis assistance programs and pilot energy conservation programs in several New England and Midwestern states. In the mid-1970s these became national programs, now known respectively as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (DOE/WAP).

Reinvention and the CSBG: President Reagan reduced the federal government's role by consolidating many domestic social programs into block grants to the states in 1981. The Community Services Block Grant was one of six (6) block grant programs created under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981.

While federal funding had been awarded directly to local agencies through several programs, the CSBG funds go to the states, which are required to allocate 90 percent of the funds to local "eligible entities," most of which are CAAs. No more than five percent of the federal funds may be used by the states to administer the grant, and another five percent may be used to support state discretionary programs.

Key Attributes of the CSBG:

  • Formula grant to States
  • Eight broad poverty fighting goals
  • Implementation by eligible entities with tri-partite boards
  • Funding is spent locally (at least 90%)
  • States administrative costs limited to 5%
  • States may use 5% as discretionary funds to support innovations and fill service gaps

In the 1980s and 1990s, the Community Services Network continued its emphasis on reducing dependency while it took on new responsibilities. This was especially true with regard to emergency services to the homeless where a portion of the Stewart B. McKinney Block Grant for the Homeless was designated for the CSBG. CAAs also undertook major new initiatives, such as developing and managing child care services and early childhood programs for youngsters at risk. During a spate of natural disasters, CAAs took on major roles in coordinating and managing assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and national charities, as well as recruiting volunteers from CAAs throughout the nation. For example, Weatherization crews from East Coast CAAs drove to the Midwest and worked with Midwestern CAAs to help the 1994 flood victims.

As they have for more than 30 years, CAAs continue to respond to the pressing problems faced by low-income people across the nation, while seeking new and effective ways to combat the causes, as well as the effects, of poverty.

2008 Update: CAA State Associations (like the NCAA) are fundamentally anti-poverty organizations. Since 1959, the U.S. Bureau of the Census has been providing yearly poverty statistics for the nation.

People in poverty (in millions)403240
Children (under age 19)27%17%19%
People over age 6435%10%10%
Overall poverty rate23%12%13%

Between 1959 and 1999, the U.S. population increased by 95 million people. During this 40-year span, it is noteworthy that poverty decreased by 8 million. The 32 million Americans still living below the poverty level is equal to everyone in the state of California.

LVCC Urban League and CSA in Nevada are two of the approximately 1,000 CAAs (Community Action Agencies) in the U.S. The first CAAs came into existance in 1964. As the decline in poverty rates coincides with the increased prominence of CAAs, it appears they have played a key role in reducing the scourge of poverty.

Click here for more Nevada demographic information.