Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Chance at the Middle Class: President's Budget Restores Hope for Millions of Working Families

/PRNewswire/ -- With the nation in the midst of a deep economic recession, advocates working to safeguard the economic security and mobility of working Americans applaud the Administration's decision to renew funding for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). CSBG funds a nationwide network of community-based organizations. Their sole purpose is to stimulate a better focusing of all available local, state, private, and federal resources with the goal of enabling families and communities to achieve economic mobility.

Described by many as one of the nation's best strategies to create economic security and mobility for families and communities, the CSBG network has long been an incubator to implement and replicate innovative programs aimed at ensuring economic stability for all hard-working Americans. Both Head Start and the Weatherization Assistance Program are products of the CSBG network. In addition, the network is a major provider of the Low Income Energy Assistance Program. These programs not only support working families, they also contribute to broader economic growth through various proven outcomes such as job creation, energy savings, and long-term academic achievement.

As American as apple pie, CSBG represents democracy in action. CSBG has successfully devolved decision-making to the local level, creating an effective example of how the federal government, in partnership with states, can best attack poverty and promote economic security. All CSBG eligible entities, primarily Community Action Agencies (CAAs), are governed by community-based boards. These boards assure CAAs assess and respond to the unique causes and consequences of economic insecurity in their communities.

By renewing funding for CSBG, the President provided 7 million working families an opportunity to realize the American dream. "The Community Services Block Grant is vital to our nation's efforts to create opportunities for economic security on behalf of America's families and communities," said Vaughn Clark, Director of the Office of Community Development for the State of Oklahoma and chair of the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP). Clark praised the Administration's renewed funding of CSBG, emphasizing that it "gives America's most vulnerable citizens a ladder to the middle class."

NASCSP is a professional association whose members are state administrators of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and the U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). NASCSP builds capacity in states to respond to poverty issues.

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