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Corbett calls for expansion of human services block grant program

Submitted Tue, 06/11/2013 - 7:49am by Andy Alm

HARRISBURG — Governor Corbett and county leaders are calling for expansion of the pilot Human Services Block Grant program to allow any county to opt in. The Human Services Block Grant Pilot program started this year in 20 counties, permitting them to move money among seven health and human service line items to address their community needs. Governor Tom Corbett and county leaders are calling for it to be expanded to any county that wants to opt in. But a bill is moving through the state house that would replace the program with another funding structure.

64th District Representative Lee James says the block grant option allows more flexibility and ultimately better services.

“Last year, the pilot program opened up the door to 20 counties.  As it so happens, both Venango and Butler County, whom I serve, decided to participate.  And I can report back to you that the human services folks in my two counties are absolutely delighted with the possibilities and the probabilities extended to them through this funding.  For those of you unfamiliar with it, essentially, the issue is the human services people get a block of money, and they are able to spend it across the system as it best serves the needs of the folks here in Venango and Butler County.”

Crawford County is also participating. 

The program is not without its share of controversy, though.  Opponents fear it will harm people who depend on the various social welfare services by redirecting funds they need.

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