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Congresswoman Betty McCollum

Representing the 4th District of Minnesota

McCollum, Thompson, Fudge, Stefanik Introduce H.R. 1695, the Community Services Block Grant Reauthorization Act of 2019

March 14, 2019
Press Release
The legislation renews U.S. commitment to reducing poverty through Community Action Agencies

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.), Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.), Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) introduced H.R. 1695, the Community Services Block Grant Reauthorization Act of 2019, legislation that renews our nation’s commitment to reducing poverty through an established network of more than 1,000 local Community Action Agencies that operate in virtually every county in the United States.

H.R. 1695 is a bipartisan effort to reduce poverty within urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities across the country. Virtually every county in America has a Community Action Agency (CAA), a locally-operated organization that helps ensure a safety net for low-income individuals and families and creates opportunities for people to move from poverty to independence. The proposed legislation in the 116th Congress reauthorizes the program for 10 years and adds important new provisions that will strengthen CSBG and the antipoverty network it supports, including:

  • A new federally administered Community Action Opioid Response Grant that will enable Community Action Agencies to fill service gaps and respond to unmet needs of low-income individuals, families, and communities affected by the opioid crisis.
  • A provision requiring federal approval of state applications and plans, with provisions to allow direct federal funding of local agencies if a state plan fails to meet federal requirements.
  • A renewed commitment to streamlining the program’s stated purpose: to reduce poverty through support for Community Action Agencies that improve economic security of low-income individuals and families and create new opportunities in the communities where they live.

“H.R. 1695 allows urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities across the country to provide a safety net for their neighbors and equip people with tools and resources to rise out of poverty,” Rep. McCollum said. “Reauthorizing and strengthening this legislation for the next decade will allow communities to meet people where they are to combat poverty, create opportunity, and support families. We have seen the incredible influence these agencies have on the communities they serve, and when given the resources they need, countless families across this country will benefit.”   

“The Community Services Block Grant helps empower thousands of local agencies across the country, which focus on providing assistance to lift Americans out of poverty,” Rep. Thompson said. “This is the only federal program with the explicit and overarching goal of reducing poverty, regardless of its cause. However, CSBG has not been reauthorized in more than two decades, and we must ensure that it is modernized to better address the issues of today. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this legislation, so these programmatic dollars can be used to create opportunities for Americans to move out of poverty and into independence.”

“We have a moral and economic responsibility to empower low-income families and individuals in this country,” said Rep. Fudge.  “The programs funded by CSBG and implemented by community action agencies change and sometimes save the lives of many struggling to rise above the poverty line.  Reauthorizing this bill is a clear commitment of Congress to address the needs of those living in poverty.” 

“This is an exciting day for every community in America,” said David Bradley, CEO of the National Community Action Foundation. “Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Congressman Glenn Thompson, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik have introduced important legislation that shares hope and provides opportunity for all communities across the country. H.R. 1695 ensures that resources will be available to help lift individuals and families out of poverty, rewards innovative and creative solutions, guarantees accountability at all levels and respects local decision-making, control and anti-poverty strategies. This bill is a prime example that Congress is capable of coming together in order to address low-income and community needs. I look forward to working with the sponsors, and the entire Congress, to get this important legislation passed. Once this bill is law, the nearly 1,000 Community Action Agencies that work with more than 15 million low-income individuals every year will have the tools they need to meet their community's desperate needs.”

More background information about Community Action and the Community Services Block Grant can be found here.

The text of the legislation can be found here.

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