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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Grant requirements prevent central Texas community action agencies from taking a holistic approach to poverty.
Waldman, Nicole Leslee
REPORT 2001 W146 Public Affairs Library.

Community Action Agencies (CAAs), unlike other non-profits, offer a variety of services to help low-income people. They are not single service agencies. Although Community Action Agencies are helping to reduce the rate of poverty in the United States, they are inhibited from offering coordinated services for individuals and families with multiple needs. This paper will show the barriers to coordinating services that CAAs in Central Texas face, through a case study. These barriers include: multiple applications and annual plans, different reporting and performance measures, different fiscal years, multiple funding sources, and different eligibility requirements. Many of the grants that Central Texas CAA's receive to deliver these services are categorical in nature and as a result they are fragmented and uncoordinated. The paper will also look at the best practices to coordinating services of other CAAs as well as other social service providers. Recommendations will be made to Central Texas CAAs based on these best practices. In addition, policy recommendations will be made to officials at the state, local, and federal levels in order to allow CAAs in Central Texas to take a more comprehensive approach to poverty through the coordination of the services they offer. These recommendations will include more flexible funding streams, standard eligibility requirements, common applications, uniform performance measurements, increased technology, and funding for common databases for Community Action Agencies who wish to implement comprehensive programs. In addition, the creation of a national and state policy on services for people or families with multiple needs will be recommended.


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