Community Services Block Grant Program

Primarily through the seventeen Community Action Agencies in Maryland, the Community Services Block Grant program provides a range of direct services designed to assist low-income individuals and families to attain the skills, knowledge, and motivation needed to achieve self-sufficiency.

Congress annually appropriates funds for the Community Services Block Grant program. Under the CSBG Act, Community Action Agencies (also known as Eligible Entities) receive 90 percent of the funds appropriated. These Community Action Agencies have been designated by either the federal government or the State of Maryland's Department of Housing and Community Development to act on behalf of Maryland's low-income population. Community Action Agencies are required to provide programs that meet the needs of the local jurisdiction.

Under the CSBG Act, the state may utilize five (5) percent of the federal allocation as discretionary funding to support a wide range of activities and programs conducted by community action agencies or other non-profit organizations to eliminate poverty, promote self-sufficiency, and promote community revitalization. Additionally, the funds may be used to provide training and technical assistance for and support coordination and communication among Community Action Agencies.

Who Can Apply

The eligible recipients of 90 percent of these funds are Maryland's seventeen designated Community Action Agencies. Eligible entities must have a tripartite Board of Directors in which one-third of the members represent the private sector, one-third represent the public sector, and one-third represent the low-income residents. Community Action Agencies provide services in all 23 Maryland counties and the city of Baltimore.

Entities eligible to apply under the five percent Discretionary Funding include Community Action Agencies, nonprofit organizations that serve or target low-income individuals and families at or below 125% of poverty, and nonprofit organizations who support and serve Community Action Agencies (CAAs) in Maryland. The eligible applicant’s proposed program must display measurable outcomes which help families and individuals move toward self-sufficiency. The CSBG Discretionary Application is typically released in the spring of each year.

Eligible Projects

The services and activities that are provided by the Community Services Block Grant Eligible Entities must serve low-income persons in urban and rural areas throughout the State who have incomes at or below 125% of the Federal Office of Management and Budget’s poverty income guidelines. Community Action Agencies reach out to those in greatest need, providing them with a variety of programs and services. In most cases, the agencies try to provide services under a one-stop-shop service delivery system.

Services and activities may include:

  • Housing, to include assistance with acquiring permanent housing, and assisting with self-help housing;
  • Head Start Education for youth;
  • Nutrition programs, to include distribution of foodstuffs;
  • Transportation programs that include transporting clients to medical facilities;
  • Employment services; and,
  • Emergency services, to include providing shelter and energy assistance to low-income persons.

Community Services Block Grant State Plan

Every two years, the State is required by law to submit a Community Services Block Grant State Plan to the US Department of Health and Human Services for approval. This Plan outlines how the State will administer the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). The current State Plan is available below.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

More Information

Contact: Community Services Block Grant Programs
Division of Neighborhood Revitalization
Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
7800 Harkins Road, Lanham, MD 20706
E: Michelle.Bass@maryland.gov
P: 301-429-7510​​​