Last Updated 10/25/2023

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.  All services and programs are free for eligible participants. 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.

Beware of CSBG scams. CSBG does not provide direct grants to individuals. CSBG does not charge a fee for receiving a grant. If you receive a message offering you a CSBG grant or requesting a fee, please contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Fraud Hotline at 1-800-447-8477.

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.

The State coordinates annual trainings with the National Association for State Community Services Program (NASCSP) for the CAAs to provide a wealth of information, tools, and resources to enhance and improve the CAAs administration, implementation, and reporting procedures.  These annual trainings also provide the CAAs and the State office a great opportunity to strengthen relationships.  To view prior training
materials, please click here.

Community Services Block Grant Federal Fiscal Year 2024 and 2025 State Plan

The Hawaii Office of Community Services (OCS), Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, solicits public comment on the new proposed State Plan for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Program to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for Federal Fiscal Years 2024 and 2025 (FFY 24 and 25). The CSBG State Plan reflects OCS’s commitment to work with our Community Action Agency partners in each county to meet program goals and comply with relevant Federal and State rules and regulations in order to continue receiving this valuable resource. The CSBG program provides services to low-income and impoverished populations across the State. CSBG services and activities are delivered statewide by designated Community Action Agencies located in each county. The public is invited to comment on the proposed CSBG State Plan for FFY 24 and 25. Click here for a copy of the proposed State Plan.

An in-person and virtual combined-purpose Legislative and Public Hearing on the CSBG State Plan is scheduled for Thursday, July 13, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at the State Capitol, 415 South Beretania Street Conference Room 309, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813.  For more information on how to join the hearing virtually, please email Courtney Ho at [email protected].

The hearing is being jointly convened by the Senate Committee on Labor and Technology and the House Committee on Labor and Government Operations. Persons with special needs, including oral language services, should call OCS at (808) 586-8682 by Friday, July 7, 2023, to make arrangements.

The public is welcome to attend and provide comment at the hearing. For those interested in providing oral testimony, please contact Courtney Ho (email: [email protected]; phone number: (808) 586 – 8682). Written comments may be submitted to OCS (email: [email protected], mail: Office of Community Services, 830 Punchbowl Street, Room 420, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813; fax: (808) 586-8685) for consideration at the hearing by Tuesday, July 11, 2023.

Click here for a copy of OCS’s testimony.

CSBG Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Supplemental Funds

Hawaii’s CSBG program was appropriated $5,000,000 in supplemental funds under the CARES Act in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis. Supplemental funds will be distributed to the current CSBG eligible entities to help low-income communities and populations impacted by COVID-19. Click here to read Hawaii’s CSBG CARES Act Supplemental State Plan.