Community Services Block Grant_Discretionary Awards

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Purpose of this program:

To support program activities of national or regional significance to alleviate the causes of poverty in distressed communities which promote: (1) Full-time permanent jobs for poverty level project area residents; (2) income and/or ownership opportunities for low-income community members; (3) a better standard of living for rural low-income individuals in terms of water and waste water treatment; (4) national or regional programs designed to provide character building, sports and physical fitness activities for low- income youth; (5) Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers; and support the design, development and widespread availability of interactive information technology among a nationwide network of eligible entities, as well as promoting electronic communication and access to program information that would enhance the effective delivery of services.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

Federal funds awarded under the Secretary's Discretionary Authority may be used for activities that: improve the quality of the economic and social environment of low-income residents by providing resources to eligible applicants, by arresting tendencies toward dependency, chronic unemployment and community deterioration in urban and rural areas; address needs of water and wastewater treatment; and provide national or regional character building, sports and physical fitness programs for low-income youth; and involve significant new combinations of resources. (1) Projects must result in direct benefits targeted toward low-income people as defined in the most recent Department of Health and Human Services Annual Revision of Poverty Income Guidelines, that are published in the Federal Register and (2) Generally, the project must be capable of being completed within 12 to 60 months of the award of the grant. Each project will have an expiration date. (3) OCS will give favorable consideration to projects that document public/private partnership mobilizing cash and/or in-kind contributions; and to projects that are located in areas characterized by poverty and other indicators of socioeconomic distress such as poverty or AFDC/TANF assistance rate of at least 20 percent, designation as an Empowerment Zone or Enterprise Community (EZ EC), high levels of unemployment, high levels of incidences of violence, gang activity, crime, drug use and/or low-income noncustodial parents of children receiving AFDC/TANF.

Who is eligible to apply...

For economic development projects, eligibility is restricted to private, locally initiated, nonprofit community development corporations (or affiliates of such corporations) governed by a board consisting of residents of the community and business and civic leaders. For all other projects, the Secretary is authorized to make direct grants to States, cities, counties, and private nonprofit organizations.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:

Costs will be determined in accordance with the provisions of Title 45 CFR 74.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

Awards are granted on a competitive basis. Announcements concerning the availability of funds, requests for applications, along with application form and assurance documents, are published in the Federal Register and Applications to the Office of Community Services for grants under the announcement should be addressed to: OCS Operations Center 1815 North Fort Meyer Drive, Suite 300 Arlington, Virginia 22209. Applicants are urged to inform and coordinate application submissions with State and local governments where such information and coordination is appropriate or necessary for the success of the program. This program is subject to the provisions of Title 45 CFR, Part 74 (non-governmental entities) or Part 92 (governmental entities). All applications for assistance under this program must contain: (1) SF-424, Application for Federal Assistance; (2) SF-424A, Budget Information; (3) SF-424B, Assurances-Non- Construction Programs; (4) Certificate Regarding Drug Free Workplace Requirements; (5) Certification regarding environmental tobacco smoke; (6) Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters; and (7) Certification Regarding Lobbying. These must be accompanied by a detailed budget, and a program narrative submitted in accordance with the format detailed in the program announcement.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

The Director, Office of Community Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), will make the final decision on all grant awards. Selection of applicants will be determined based on the review criteria outlined in the program announcement.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...


All information and forms required to prepare a grant are published in the Federal Register and

Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 90 to 120 days.

Preapplication Coordination

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in the State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review. The standard application forms as furnished by DHHS and required by Title 45 CFR, Part 74 must be used. An environmental impact statement may be required for certain projects under this program. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in the State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review. The standard application forms as furnished by DHHS and required by Title 45 CFR, Part 74 must be used. An environmental impact statement may be required for certain projects under this program. The E.O. number 12876, dated Nov. 1, 1993, defines support to Historically Black Colleges and Universities through Contract or sub-grant.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.


Not applicable.

Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).


Not applicable.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

A project must be targeted to address the needs of a specific segment of low-income individuals or families. The official poverty line established by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, published annually by the Department of Health and Human Services is used as a criterion of eligibility in the Community Services Discretionary Grant program.

About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Project Grants

The funding, for fixed or known periods, of specific projects. Project grants can include fellowships, scholarships, research grants, training grants, traineeships, experimental and demonstration grants, evaluation grants, planning grants, technical assistance grants, survey grants, and construction grants.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$75,000 to $700,000.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.


(Discretionary Awards) FY 03 $51,175,000 (The amount includes funds for the Community Economic Development, Rural Community Facilities, and National Youth Sports programs); FY 04 $51,984,472(The amount includes funds for the Community Economic Development, Rural Community Facilities, and National Youth Sports programs); and FY 05 est $27,011,000 (FY 05 request does not include funds for Rural Community Facilities and National Youth Sports programs).

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification


Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

SEE OCS web-site.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

87 grants were awarded in fiscal year 2003. It is estimated that 79 grants will be awarded in fiscal year 2004 and 70 grants in fiscal year 2005.

Criteria for selecting proposals...

The review criteria for selecting proposals: Specific criteria for selecting proposals for funding are stated in each program announcement. Notice of the criteria for awarding funds is published in the Federal Register or other program announcement for each type of demonstration. See the information contact section for more information.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Generally, financial assistance made available in this program will be for a period not to exceed 12 to 60 months, and each project will have an expiration date. Generally, funds are released in amounts required for a 30-day period. (NOTE: Electronic fund transfer does not require an advance or reserve for a 30 day operating period.)

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula or matching requirements.

A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...


Semi-annual progress reports, semi-annual financial reports and a final report summarizing the activities and accomplishments of the project in relation to the approved goals and objectives are required by OCS.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised June 27, 2003)," Audits of States, Local Governments and Non-Profit Organizations," Non-Federal entities that expend $300,000 ($500,000 for fiscal years ending after December 31, 2003) or more in a year in Federal awards shall have a single or program-specific audit conducted for that year in accordance with the provisions of this part. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $300,000 ($500,000 for fiscal years ending after December 31, 2003) a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in section .215(a), but records must be available for review or audit by appropriate officials of the Federal agency, pass-through entity, and General Accounting Office (GAO).

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).


Grant recipients are required to keep all financial, business and program reports necessary for program review and audit to insure that funds have been expended in accordance with the regulations, grant terms and conditions of this program. Audits and supporting records must be kept on file for at least 3 years.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.



Community Opportunities, Accountability, Training, and Educational Services Act of 1998, Title II, Section 680, Public Law 105-285.

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

Program announcements are published in the Federal Register.

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office

OCS Liaisons, stationed in - ACF.

Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

Carol Watkins Director,(202)401-9356,, Division of Community Discretionary Programs, Office of Community Services, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services, 370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW., Washington, DC 20447.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: