As I write this post, our Annual conference is fast approaching! I’m excited to see everyone together again in Biloxi in just about a month! I’d also like to take this opportunity to look back and reflect on what has been a busy few months since we last all gathered at our Spring Conference. On both the WAP and CSBG fronts, NASCSP has been hard at work on many initiatives.
In April, States submitted their CSBG IS databases and NASCSP staff got to work on reviews. This data is critical to telling the story of Community Action. Eventually this data will be compiled into a national report, state fact sheets, and a report to Congress. We thank the CSBG Network for their hard work in getting their data submitted and finalized.
NASCSP also worked with members of the Network to give testimony at a hearing in May before the House Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee. Weatherization was brought up in the testimony of at least five witnesses! In these times of budget uncertainty, it is critical to highlight our programs and the impact they have in our communities. We saw these efforts bear fruit as both the House and Senate included robust funding numbers for WAP in their appropriations bills.
NASCSP convened its first in person meeting of the DATA Task Force the first week of June. This group, made up of representatives from local Community Action Agencies, State Associations, State Offices, and National Organizations, is charged with assisting the Office of Community Services (OCS) with the transition from the CSBG IS Survey to the CSBG Annual Report. The task force will meet again by webinar in August and form subcommittees focused on analysis, training and technical assistance, guidance, IT systems, and communications to help guide the Network during this process.
Several WAP stakeholder groups convened on Capitol Hill to hold a Weatherization Expo for members of Congress and their staff just before they headed out on Fourth of July recess. NASCSP, Energy OutWest, the National Community Action Foundation (NCAF), and the Community Action Partnership all collaborated on the event which drew nearly 50 congressional staffers and four members of Congress. I had the pleasure to attend and it was great to see so many policy makers engaged on weatherization!
For both CSBG and WAP, NASCSP is also facilitating Best Practices Working Groups as a follow up to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) surveys. As you will remember, OCS and DOE administered this survey to all of the State grantees and local subgrantees of CSBG and WAP. NASCSP and groups of State managers are working together to identify best practices and communicate them to the Network. This will include sessions at the Biloxi conference.
In short it has been a busy summer and we can’t wait to see you in Biloxi! If you haven’t yet, be sure to register for the conference and book your hotel by August 25th. I look forward to working with all of you in the weeks and months ahead!
Willie Fobbs, III
NASCSP Board President