Examples of Block Grants

Cheryl Cirelli
block grants

Block grants provide states, territories, and tribes with funds they can tailor to meet their specific population's needs. There are many examples of block grants funded by the federal government and distributed to state and local governments or organizations that provide services to at-risk and low income individuals.

Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant

The Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration issue this block grant to help prevent and treat substance abuse. It awards funding to states and community groups to update, improve, and expand services for treatment especially within targeted at-risk groups like pregnant women, teen smokers, and intravenous drug users. Treatment options then become available to those people with drug or alcohol addiction who otherwise could not afford them. The amount of funding awarded to each state is based on that particular state's population.

Community Development Block Grant

This grant began in 1974 and is still in existence today. It is one of the longest running grant programs in the US. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, better known as HUD, administers this grant. It awards money for community development projects to communities, cities, states, and islands near the U.S. areas addressed are affordable and suitable housing for low-income residents, adequate sewer systems, and redeveloping abandoned homes. Funds are distributed directly to state or certain cities, and HUD uses a formula including measures like community need, poverty level, and population to determine award amounts.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant

This block grant program is administered by the Office of Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs, which is part of the US Department of Energy. Over three million dollars have been allocated through this grant to states, cities, U.S. territories, and Indian tribes. Grantees are tasked with starting and developing projects that improve energy efficiency and create new jobs in their area.

Social Services Block Grant

The unique social service needs of each specific state or territory are met through the Social Services Block Grant provided by the Office of Community Services. Funded programs focus on increasing self-sufficiency, protecting kids and adults from abuse, and helping those who can't care for themselves find suitable care through services like childcare, adult daycare, and medical transportation. Over one billion dollars is awarded annually by the federal government to states. Services, training and administration are all covered under this block grant.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families

This block grant known as TANF provides assistance, particularly in the form of cash, to families with children who are in need. The goals of funded services include keeping families with children in their own homes, reducing dependence on government assistance, and promoting two-parent families. Tribes, states, and U.S. territories can receive awards from TANF, which is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Indian Housing Block Grant

HUD oversees the Indian Housing Block Grant to help low-income Native Americans living in an Indian tribe or on an Indian reservation find and maintain suitable housing. A group or individual acting on behalf of the group applies for the grant with specific information about how they will use funds to support housing for their people. Awards can be used toward projects and services such as providing housing for low income families, maintaining public housing developed through a previous grant, or activities related to creative approaches to housing problem-solving.

Community Mental Health Services Block Grant

Administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, these funds seek to improve the country's mental health services. U.S. states and territories are eligible to receive grant awards to support existing programs or help with the creation of unique new services. Target populations for this grant are adults with serious mental illnesses and children with serious emotional disturbances. Services like screenings, outpatient programs, and day treatment programs are a requirement, but states can distribute grant funds to local governments and organizations to help implement programming.

What Are Block Grants?

The federal government issues large sums of money to a state or local governments in the form of block grants. These grants do not have specific provisions on how the money is to be spent. They are issued for general areas of need. The state is awarded the block grant from the federal government. It is up the state or local government to decide who is eligible for the specific grant. They also are responsible for distributing the funds or services to the individuals. Individuals do not directly receive the block grant.

Flexible Funding

There are a wide range of block grants available from the federal government. These grants are not awarded to individuals, but to state and local governments who then determine how individuals receive programs and services.

Examples of Block Grants