Sneak Preview: OIG Audit Finds AmeriCorp NCCC Cost Concerns

January 13, 2017 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Single Audit Information Service.) The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is assessing methods to improve operational efficiency in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program after a recent audit by the CNCS Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that NCCC services cost up to eight times more than comparable services provided under the CNCS AmeriCorps State and National (ASN) Program.

AmeriCorps grants are awarded to eligible organizations that identify an unmet need in their community that will be addressed by AmeriCorps members that the organization recruits, trains and manages. Founded in 1993, the NCCC program is a residential program that aims to provide services that strengthen communities and develop leaders. About 1,200 individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 serve full time for 10 months to undertake projects in five categories: disaster response and recovery; infrastructure improvement; environmental stewardship and conservation; energy conservation; and urban and rural development. Members are assigned to one of five campuses nationwide. In return for their service, NCCC members receive a living allowance for housing, clothing, food and medical expenses.

Conversely, the ASN program provides grants to a broad network of public and nonprofit organizations that sponsor AmeriCorps service programs around the country, including hundreds of faith and community-based organizations, Indian tribes, institutions of higher education and public agencies.

Disaster response constituted 24 percent NCCC services in federal fiscal year (FY) 2014, 32 percent in FY 2013 and 29 percent in 2012. AmeriCorp Disaster Response Teams (A-DRTs) under the ASN program also make disaster response a core mission. While the NCCC program deploys disaster relief in fixed teams of eight to 12 individuals, A-DRTs deploy teams of six to eight members, although they can adjust team sizes. A-DRTs also provide their own housing, including tents, whereas housing for NCCC teams must be arranged in advance, sometimes in hotels or similar facilities.

The OIG found that NCCC’s current size and structure does not provide the most cost-effective way to deliver services to communities in need. The OIG stated that the public paid about $29,674 to support a single NCCC member in FY 2014, while the cost per ASN member in FY 2014 was $7,668. “While NCCC and ASN provided comparable services, NCCC costs four to eight times more per member than ASN, and four to five times more per member than the A-DRTs,” it added. “Yet, despite the substantial investment, NCCC alumni achieve no better long-term outcomes than alumni of AmeriCorps programs that cost a fraction of that amount.”

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time on Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert site.)


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