Community Service Office (OCS): how could it help us

The Office of Community Affairs (OCS) works with countries, communities and institutions to reduce poverty, increase opportunities and economic security for individuals and families, and revitalize communities. Our social services and community development programs improve the lives of many people in a variety of ways.

Main target

The main objectives of OCS are:
  • Serving the economic and social needs of low-income people and families;
  • Provide employment and entrepreneurial opportunities;
  • Promote personal economic opportunities and safety by creating full-time, permanent jobs;
  • Support asset development strategies for low-income individuals and families, such as saving, improving financial capabilities and ensuring asset security;
  • Assist community development companies in using existing funds for community revitalization projects;
  • Provide financial and technical resources for economic development and related social service activities for national, local and public and private institutions;
  • Provide energy assistance to low-income families.

The Community Services Office is responsible for managing five social services and community development programs. In 2019, this total investment was about $6 billion.

1) Community economic development

Community Economic Development (CED) discretionary grants are awarded to non-profit community development companies to create new jobs for low-income people, including temporary assistance to beneficiaries of poor families.

2) Community service block grant
The Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) supports services designed to improve the causes and conditions of poverty by helping low-income individuals and families and communities to provide services based on local needs (ie, employment, education, and adequate housing).
3) Low-income household energy assistance program
The Low Income Family Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides funding to state, tribal, and tribal organizations and territories to help low-income households meet their household energy costs.
4) Rural community development
Rural Community Development (RCD) provides discretionary grants to help low-income communities develop affordable, safe water and wastewater treatment facilities.
5) Social service grant
The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) provides money to places to develop economic self-sufficiency, avoid or address neglect, abuse, or the exploitation of children and adults as well as inappropriate institutionalization.
6) Independent assets
The Asset Facility Independence (AFI) program is proving and testing the effectiveness of matching savings accounts (Personal Development Accounts or IDAs) as a tool to enable low-income individuals and families to be financially self-sufficient.