CDBG Public Services

The County of Santa Barbara receives an annual allocation of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. CDBG regulations permit the use of funds for a wide range of public service activities, including, but not limited to:

  • Employment services (e.g. job training)
  • Crime prevention and public safety
  • Child care
  • Health services
  • Substance abuse services (e.g. counseling and treatment)
  • Fair housing counseling
  • Education program
  • Energy conservation
  • Services for senior citizens
  • Services for homeless persons
  • Welfare services (excluding income payments)
  • Down payment assistance
  • Recreation services


CDBG funds may be used to pay the costs of rent, utilities, staffing, supplies, materials, etc. that are necessary to administer services or to operate the facility in which services will be provided.

Applicants may access the CDBG guide, Basically CDBG for information on eligible activities at:

The County has set a minimum grant amount of $15,000.  An exception applies to applicants who apply solely for partner jurisdictions' CDBG distributions which are less than $15,000.

Urban County Partnership

Note that the application may provide applicants with an opportunity to apply for County funds and/or one or more Urban County member cities' distribution of funds. Each member city may make its own funding decisions for the use of its distribution of CDBG funds, or they may include their funds in the County's review and approval process. Applicants must check the box on the application next to each jurisdiction to which they are applying for CDBG funds. Applicants must also include a letter of support from the city if city funds are being requested.

Eligible public services organizations:

  • Must be a 501(c)(3) charitable organization under IRS rules;
  • Must qualify program beneficiaries using one of the following three methods:

1. Limited Clientele. Collect income information on all of its clientele (low-income and non-low-income) and demonstrate that at least 51% of the persons served have household incomes at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI);

2. Presumed Benefit. Exclusively serve persons who are presumed to be low-income, which include, abused children, battered spouses, elderly persons, adults meeting the Bureau of the Census' Current Population Reports definition of "severely disabled," homeless persons, illiterate adults, persons living with AIDS, and migrant farm workers, or

3. Area Benefit. Have as its service area an area that is primarily residential and where at least 51% of the residents are low-income. The service area may be a neighborhood, a city, or a portion of the County identified by census tracts. Note that a service area that includes the entire County does not qualify.

For assistance in determining which client eligibility method is required for your proposed program, contact HCD.

Applicant Criteria

County Public Services applications are reviewed by HCD staff for basic CDBG eligibility. Eligible applications then are forwarded for review by the County's Human Services Commission's Allocation Committee. The Committee makes funding recommendations to the County Board of Supervisors. Factors considered include:

  • Program meets a Consolidated Plan priority
  • Applicant's commitment to comply with federal regulations, including income-qualifying beneficiaries per 24 CFR Part 5 (Area Benefit and Presumed Benefit activities excluded)
  • Population to be served
  • Program meets a community need
  • Organizational goals and objectives, performance targets and outcomes
  • Collaboration with like organizations
  • Administrative capacity
  • Financial capacity


For more information, contact:

James Francis, Housing Program Specialist


Phone: (805) 568-3549