HHS Community Services Block Grant

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) provides formula grants to reduce poverty in low-income communities, help poor families receive necessary services, and put low-income individuals and families on a path toward self-sufficiency (CFDA Program Number 93.569). The CSBG is a $715 million program funds more than 1,000 local anti-poverty organizations around the country annually, which provide services to more than 16 million people in 3,000 counties.

Purpose: With the support of CSBG funding, states and Community Action Agencies work together to achieve the following goals for low-income individuals: increased self-sufficiency; improved living conditions; ownership of and pride in their communities; and strong family and support systems.

Eligible Uses: CSBG funding supports projects that:

  • Lessen poverty in communities
  • Address the needs of low-income individuals including the homeless, migrants and the elderly
  • Provide services and activities addressing employment, education, better use of available income, housing, nutrition, emergency services and/or health

Potential Adaptation Uses: Funded organizations carry out a variety of services, ranging from job training to health programs, that can be linked to adaptation measures. Program guidelines state that funds can be used to maintain adequate housing and healthy living environments for individuals living in poverty, which suggests that funds may be used to equip houses with cooling improvements or other resilience enhancements. The grants also help communities respond quickly to natural disasters, plant closures, and other economic shifts. In Alaska, for example, CSBG funds home weatherization and environmental awareness programs.

Eligible Grantees: These grants are available to:

  • States
  • The District of Columbia
  • The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
  • U.S. Territories
  • Federally and state-recognized Indian Tribes and tribal organizations
  • Community Action Agencies
  • Migrant and seasonal farm workers' agencies
  • Other organizations specifically designated by the states

In addition, discretionary grants are available at the statewide or local level, or for associations with demonstrated expertise in addressing the needs of low-income families, such as Community Action Agencies (CAAs).

Process and Requirements: In order to qualify for this benefit program, applicants must characterize the financial situation as either low income, or as very low income. To apply for benefits, individuals may call the CSBG Contact for their state. The CSBG Contact Information for State Officials and Program Coordinators webpage identifies the individuals to contact to learn how to apply for CSBG benefits through a local community action agency.

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides up to date information on recent appropriations to this program from Congress, the average size of grants, and matching requirements.  A summary is included here, but check the CFDA for more up to date information:

  • Recent Obligations: (Salaries) FY 15 $1,352,627; FY 16 est $1,370,000; and FY 17 est $1,524,000. (Formula Grants) FY 15 $663,344,255; FY 16 est $703,729,255; and FY 17 est $660,390,000. (Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 15 $7,934,690; FY 16 est $8,381,321; and FY 17 est $7,063,123           
  • Size of Grants: Grants range from $1,019 to $55,942,793.  The average size of grants is $5,242,585.

Authorization: These grants are authorized by the Community Opportunities, Accountability, and Training and Educational Services Human Services Reauthorization Act of 1998, P.L. 105-285.


Publication Date: October 27, 1998

Related Organizations:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Funding program

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