Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)

Program Description:

The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) is a federally funded investment and national commitment to respond to the causes and conditions of poverty. Administered at the State and territory level, CSBG funding was created through the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to promote and provide an array of services and activities to reduce poverty, revitalize low-income communities, and empower low-income families and individuals to become self-sufficient. Each year, CSBG provides funding for twenty three (23) designated Community Action Agencies (CAAs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. CAAs are private nonprofit entities governed by a tripartite board representing appointed leaders from the private sector, elected public officials, and representatives from the low-income community who reside in the designated service area. CAAs provide a variety of community-based services, programs, and activities that promote self-sufficiency for low-income families and individuals residing in the Commonwealth's 351 cities and towns.

Eligible Activities:

Services provided by CAAs include, but are not limited to:

  • Employment and job skills training
  • Food and nutrition assistance
  • Child development programs, including Head Start and center-based day care
  • Individual and family self-sufficiency initiatives
  • Youth development
  • Fuel and energy assistance
  • Domestic violence prevention, counseling and emergency assistance
  • Emergency assistance such as, temporary shelter, food, medical assistance, clothing, conflict resolution, etc.
  • Affordable housing and homeownership opportunities
  • Assistance to homeless and "at-risk" families and individuals
  • Transportation assistance

Application Process:

Only a duly designated CAA in Massachusetts is eligible to receive CSBG funding. Designated CAAs apply for funding through an annual application process and funds are distributed based on a historical formula. In addition, CAAs are required to submit a Community Action Plan every three years and utilize the Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA) process for the overall planning and service delivery process. CAAs are monitored throughout the year through both in-house and on-site assessments.


For additional information, please call the Division of Community Services at 617-573-1400.