Community Services Block Grant Program

Through a statewide network of seventeen Community Action Agencies in Maryland, the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program supports a range of direct services designed to assist low-income individuals and families with achieving self-sufficiency.

Congress annually appropriates funds for the Community Services Block Grant program which are administered at the state level by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Pursuant to the federal CSBG Act (42 U.S.C. 9901 et seq.), Community Action Agencies (also known as CSBG Eligible Entities) receive 90 percent of the funds allocated to Maryland in order to operate programs and services that effectively address the causes and conditions of poverty in the Agency’s service area. These Agencies have been formally designated by local governing bodies to serve as the official anti-poverty agency for that jurisdiction.

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

Eligible Applicants

Maryland's seventeen designated Community Action Agencies are eligible to apply for the 90 percent of CSBG funds allocated annually by the federal government. Community Action Agencies must have a board of directors in which one-third are elected public officials currently holding office, or their designees; at least one-third are chosen by a democratic selection method designed to assure that they will represent low-income persons in the community, and the remainder are officials or members of business, industry, labor, religious, welfare, education, or other major groups and interests in the community. Community Action Agencies provide services in all twenty-three Maryland counties and the City of Baltimore.

Community Action Agencies, non-profit organizations, and units of local government that serve or target low-income individuals and families at or below 125% of poverty, and nonprofit organizations or units of local government who support and serve Community Action Agencies (CAAs) are eligible to apply for CSBG discretionary funding. The eligible applicant’s proposed program must display measurable outcomes that help families and individuals move toward self-sufficiency.

Eligible Activities

The services and activities provided by CSBG 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 poverty guidelines. In most cases, the services are provided through a one-stop 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 food distribution
  • Transportation programs that include transporting clients to medical facilities
  • Employment services
  • Emergency services, to include providing shelter and energy assistance to low-income persons

CSBG Reporting Requirements

​On October 21, 2020, the Poverty Solutions Team held a Virtual Office Hours webinar to provide CSBG grantees with an overview of current reporting requirements. A link to the webinar recording is below along with the current CSBG Reporting Desk Guide and the current reporting forms.

CSBG Scam Alert

Be aware of potentially fraudulent activity by individuals claiming to represent the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). Individuals unrelated to CSBG are contacting people via telephone, email, social media, and text message offering CSBG funding or services in exchange for a fee.

Neither the federal Office of Community Services nor the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development provides direct CSBG grants to individuals. Additionally, these agencies do not initiate contact with individuals by phone, email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information.

If you are made aware of or receive any communication offering a CSBG grant or requesting a fee in exchange for additional funding, please report it to the US Health and Human Services (HHS) Fraud Hotline at 1-800-447-8477 and to the Maryland Office of the Attorney General at 410-528-8662.

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More Information

Poverty Solutions Team
Division of Neighborhood Revitalization
Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
7800 Harkins Road
Lanham, MD 20706
E: csbg.dhcd@maryland.gov
P: 301-429-7525​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​