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Grant will help educate low income residents
Mar 23, 2011 | 751 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has announced a $50,000 award to help a Beeville-based nonprofit organization offering an innovative program which will provide area low income residents greater educational opportunities and increased self-sufficiency.

Bee Community Action Agency will use the award to provide financial aid to residents in Bee, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak and McMullen counties attending trade schools, colleges or universities for post-secondary education and special training needs. It will also establish a community garden for residents of Aransas County to help provide food at a lower cost. The agency anticipates assisting 25 area low income residents with the award.

The programs were previously funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 — commonly referred to as the stimulus package — through the federal Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Program. However, all ARRA CSBG services were to be provided on or before Sept. 30, 2010, under ARRA guidelines, meaning the community action agency’s funding for this initiative ended.

“Helping Texans achieve self-sufficiency is a priority of the CSBG Program and a critical component of the department’s mission,” said Michael Gerber, TDHCA executive director. “We value our partnership with successful agencies such as BCAA in continuing innovative programs that offer the hope of eliminating poverty.

“The department did not want to see this concept disappear with the stimulus funds, so we have stepped up to the plate to make a difference in the community.”

The award is under TDHCA’s CSBG Program and represents a portion of the state’s annual allocation from the federal government. The department set aside this funding specifically to ensure the continuation of 11 highly regarded projects previously funded under ARRA CSBG, including the continuing education program offered by BCAA.

The CSBG Program assists individuals earning no more than 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline, which equals an annual income of $27,937 for a family of four. Funding for the program comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and supports a variety of direct services in addition to helping maintain the core administrative elements of local partner organizations.

Services supported through the CSBG Program include child care, health and human services, transportation, job training and employment services, housing, substance abuse prevention, migrant worker assistance and a wide array of related services.

TDHCA in 2009 awarded a total of $47.6 million in ARRA CSBG funds to its network of 45 local and regional nonprofit organizations to further assist low income Texans in their efforts to achieve financial and personal independence.

In total, more than 98,000 Texans across the state were assisted through ARRA CSBG funds. Texas leads the five most populous states in expenditure rate of these stimulus funds.
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