Last Updated 07/15/2019

Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Overview

The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) was established by Congress in the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 as part of the War on Poverty.  The purpose of the Economic Opportunity Act is to provide federal funding to local Community Action Agencies (CAAs) in order to deliver a range of services to assist low-income families and individuals.  These programs aim to reduce poverty, revitalize low-income communities, and empower low-income families and individuals to become fully self-sufficient through community action.

CSBG has six (6) national goals:

  1. Low-income people become more self-sufficient.
  2. The conditions in which low-income people live are improved.
  3. Low-income people own a stake in their community.
  4. Partnerships among supporters and providers of services to low-income people are achieved.
  5. Agencies increase their capacity to achieve results.
  6. Low-income people, especially vulnerable populations, achieve their potential by strengthening family and other supportive systems.


The Office of Community Service (OCS) under the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has been tasked by the Governor of the State of Hawaii as the lead agency for the administration of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) in the State of Hawaii.  OCS in conjunction with the four CAA develops an annual State CSBG Plan for the State of Hawaii, to oversee and monitor the work of the CAAs at all stages of the annual CSBG grants, and to report on the program’s performance to Federal and State authorities.  OCS is required to present this plan to the legislature for review, then submits the Plan to CSBG for acceptance and approval.

Each County in Hawaii has one Community Action Agency responsible for providing these services.  Under CSBG, these four agencies complete a Community Needs Assessment every three years, which then aids in the development of their respective Strategic Plan.  They individualize services and programs based on the needs specific in their respective County.  A few programs run by the CAAs include employment training and services, drop out prevention, underage drinking prevention programs, transportation and food services, and housing assistance.  Listed below are the four agencies along with their respective Community Needs Assessment and Community Action Plan:


CSBG funds are allocated to each CAA using a base plus formula method:

Funding based on 1989 Community Services Administration Allotment + most recent Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates for respective county = Total CAA allocation

The State retains 10 percent of the CSBG funds of which 5 percent is used for administrative costs.  The remaining 5 percent is discretionary funds to be used by the State to support the purpose of CSBG including filling identified gaps to the service population, supporting statewide coordination and communication among the CAAs, and for training and technical assistance. The State allots $10,000 of discretionary funds to each CAA per year for training and technical assistance.

Community Services Block Grant Federal Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021 State Plan

A combined purpose Legislative and Public Hearing on the CSBG State Plan will be held on Friday, July 26, 2019, at 10:00 a.m., at the Hawaii State Capitol Room 016.  The hearing will be jointly convened by the Senate Committee on Labor and the House Committee on Labor and Public Employment.  The plan outlines how OCS will meet the U.S. DHHS requirements for the CSBG program in FFY 20 and 21.  Click here for a copy of the proposed State Plan.