By Brad Stager
Establishing or supporting programs that help provide for the basic human needs of low-income residents is a function that the Hillsborough County government performs as part of its operations. Like other services provided by the county, there are opportunities for residents to become involved and lend their expertise.
The Hillsborough County Community Action Board (CAB) is one of the county’s boards and committees that residents can serve on. Its main focus is to ensure the proper disbursement of Community Services Block Grants (CSBG) and other sources of funds for programs that provide assistance to residents facing economic distress. It does so by making recommendations to the county government in matters related to grant funding and other initiatives, from development and planning to implementation, as well as evaluating results.
The CSBG is federal funding which supports anti-poverty operations in a community.
Programs and initiatives that support housing, health care and education for low-income residents and marginalized communities are the topics of discussion at CAB meetings.
The CAB operates with a tripartite structure, drawing from three sectors of the community for its membership.
CAB members from the public sector, consisting of representatives from the board of county commissioners and municipalities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace, work alongside members advocating on behalf of low-income residents as well as representatives of organizations interested in providing social services, such as Metropolitan Ministries. These services range from supporting housing stabilization through financial assistance for rent and utilities to promoting economic independence through educational grants or scholarships and work skills development initiatives.
Regina Gambrell is a member-at-large on the CAB who serves on behalf of low-income residents. She summarized the board’s purpose in a recitation of its mission statement during a recent meeting.
“The Hillsborough County Community Action Board partners with community stakeholders to stabilize and empower vulnerable individuals and families to achieve self-sufficiency through advocacy and essential services.”
Vacancies on the various county boards and committees occur periodically and have requirements pertaining to them, such as possessing relevant knowledge or expertise in a subject area, Hillsborough County residency and voter registration, and the disclosure of financial information. Some positions require a background check.
You can find out more information about the CAB by visiting the county’s website at hillsboroughcounty.org or calling 272-6770.