Program Description:

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is a federally funded program administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).  Massachusetts receives an annual allocation of CDBG funds from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  These funds are made available to cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth to undertake a variety of community development activities to revitalize our communities.

How it Works:

Massachusetts CDBG Program funds are available to municipalities with populations less than 50,000 and that do not receive CDBG funds directly from the HUD.  DHCD administers the funds through several program components including the Community Development Funds I and II, Mini Entitlement program and the Economic Development Fund.

Community Development Fund I is the largest of the components and is for communities with a higher relative need based on a statistical need score calculated by DHCD.  CDF I funds are allocated through an annual competitive application.

Community Development Fund II is a smaller component for communities with a lower relative need but that have projects with a high level of need. CDF II funds are also allocated through an annual competitive application.

The Mini Entitlement program is for larger population communities with a high level of need as calculated by DHCD that also have high levels of poverty.  DHCD determines which communities may participate in this program based on these criteria. Mini Entitlement communities receive an annual allocation of CDBG funds and are not part of a competitive application process.

Grants may be awarded through these three components for a wide variety of community development activities, including:

  • housing rehabilitation and other housing related projects
  • infrastructure repair or replacement
  • construction or rehabilitation of community facilities
  • limited economic development activities
  • social services projects
  • architectural barrier removal projects
  • planning

The Economic Development Fund (EDF) is available to all communities for certain economic development activities including physical improvements that support commercial center economic development, planning in support of economic development and micro enterprise assistance.  EDF funds are allocated on a rolling basis based on the availability of funds.  Additional information can be found on the EDF fact sheet.

Application Process:

Applications for the CDF I and II competitive funds as well as the Mini Entitlement program are submitted via DHCD’s on-line application system by an established due date.  All applications must demonstrate that activities are eligible and meet certain thresholds including that they meet one of three national objectives identified by the CDBG statute: benefit a majority of low- and moderate-income people; aid in the prevention or elimination of slums and blight; or meet an urgent need posing a serious threat to the health and welfare of the community where other financial resources are not available to meet such needs.

Activities (projects) will be evaluated based on an applicant’s ability to demonstrate that there is a need for the activity, that the community and project beneficiaries support the activity, that the activity is ready to proceed at the time of application and that completion of the activity will have a direct impact on the community and beneficiaries.

The Massachusetts CDBG program encourages applications that contain multiple activities which are targeted to defined geographic target areas.  The program also encourages applications and activities that are regional in nature.

For More Information:

The CDBG program can be very complex. Interested communities should contact DHCD's Division of Community Services at 617-573-1400.  Division staff is also available by appointment to provide assistance with application requirements.