Community Services, Office of

Community Services, Office of

The Office of Community Services (OCS) was established within the Health and Human Services Department by section 676 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 (95 Stat. 516; 42 U.S.C. 9905). Its mission, as stated on its website, is to "work in partnership with states, communities, and other agencies to provide a range of human and economic development services and activities which ameliorate the causes and characteristics of poverty and otherwise assist persons in need." The goal of OCS services and programs is to help individuals and families become self-sufficient and to revitalize communities throughout the United States.

The OCS administers the Community Services block grant and discretionary grant programs established by section 672 (95 Stat. 511; 42 U.S.C. 9901) and 681 (95 Stat. 518; 42 U.S.C. 9910) of the Reconciliation Act. The office awards approximately $4 billion in block grants and $47 million in discretionary grants. It also provides grant money and technical assistance to the over three thousand Community Action Agencies and the Community Development Corporations that are locally based throughout the United States.

In 2002, the Office of Community Services implemented some of President george w. bush's faith-based initiatives. It awarded almost $25 million from its Compassion Capital Fund to 21 intermediary organizations; these organizations will provide technical assistance to help faith-based and community organizations access funding sources, operate and manage their programs, develop and train staff, expand the reach of programs into the community, and replicate promising programs. The office also awarded $850,000 in research grants to study how religious-based organizations provide social services and over $2 million to start a national clearinghouse of information to help faith-based organizations obtain government grants.

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