Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), providing local governments with resources to implement programs and services that benefit lower income persons, and neighborhoods, remove slum and blight, and address community development needs.

Improving Our Community

Children playing on a teeter totter

The Alameda County Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) is the grant recipient for the “Urban County” CDBG Grant, which includes the five small cities in the County and the Unincorporated County. HCD receives the grant funds, and then contracts with the cities of AlbanyDublin, EmeryvillePiedmont, and Newark for a fair share of CDBG funds. Each city in the Urban County administers its funds locally. HCD administers the portion of the grant for the Unincorporated County. Each year, HCD issues a Request for Proposals to identify projects for the Unincorporated County’s CDBG funds.

In addition to the local funds distributed to each jurisdiction in the Urban County for locally approved projects, HCD also funds a housing rehabilitation program, fair housing, and tenant landlord information for the entire Urban County.

For more information, please contact the CDBG Program at 510-670-5971 or by email at

HUD Exchange logo

This federally funded flexible program provides communities with resources to address a wide range of housing and community development needs. Through a formula allocation process, funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are distributed annually to local governments in Alameda County participating in the CDBG Entitlement Program. Alameda County HCD is an entitlement grantee for the “Alameda County Urban County CDBG Grant” composed of the Unincorporated County and the Cities of Albany, Dublin, Emeryville, Newark and Piedmont, collectively called the Urban County.

What is the purpose of the program?

Group of people cutting a ribbon for the opening of Spectrum Senior Nutrition Program
  • Benefit very low income and low income persons;
  • Prevent or eliminate slums or blight, as defined by HUD; or
  • Meet urgent needs that are federally declared disasters such as earthquakes or floods.

In order to qualify as an activity benefiting very low and low income person, at least 51% of the people benefiting from the program must be low-or very low-income families or individuals. For activities that benefit specific individuals or families, e.g. childcare centers, 51% or more of the people or families using the center must be low or very low income. Data from the recipient of funds is collected to prove that the National Objective is met. For activities that benefit an area, e.g. roads or sidewalks, 51% or more of the area residents must be low or very low income.

Types of Use

Activities funded with CDBG funds must meet the needs of their communities, in accordance with the National Objectives, requirements of the CDBG Program and local plans. The following types of activities have been funded under the Alameda County Program:

Outdoor bathrooms being installed in a park
  • Sidewalk curb cuts for handicap accessibility or the creation of new sidewalks in an area where none previously existed;
  • Community, Senior, and Youth Centers;
  • Food Banks and Meals on Wheels type programs;
  • Homeless shelter improvements;
  • Code Compliance in substandard housing;
  • Single Family Home Rehabilitation programs, including Minor Home Repair and Emergency grants for small repairs;
  • Park and facility improvements;
  • New sidewalks, street trees and traffic calming;
  • Public facilities and improvements, such as water and sewer facilities, streets, neighborhood centers, and the conversion of school buildings for eligible purposes;
  • Energy efficiency improvements to housing and public facilities;
  • Childcare training and construction of new childcare facilities.

Consolidated Plan and HOME Consortium

Logo of the Housing Consortium of the East Bay

HUD requires that each jurisdiction receiving CDBG funds develop a five-year Consolidated Plan (Con Plan) (pdf – 47MB). Because the CDBG Urban County is a member of the Alameda County HOME Consortium, the Urban County Five Year Strategic Plan is contained within the Consolidated Plan for the Alameda County HOME Consortium (pdf), covering all of the cities in the County except for Berkeley and Oakland as well as the unincorporated county. The current Five Year Plan covers the period July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020. The Urban County Five Year Strategic Plan contains the following priorities:

Asian family sitting on porch
  • Increase the availability of affordable rental housing for extremely low income (30% of Area Median Income), low income (50% of Area Median Income) and low income households (80% of Area Median Income).
  • Preserve existing affordable rental housing and ownership for low households at or below 80% of Area Median Income.
  • Assist low and moderate income first-time homebuyers.
  • Reduce housing discrimination.
  • Maintain, improve and expand (as needed) the capacity of housing, shelter and services for homeless individuals and families including integrated healthcare, employment services and other services.
  • Maintain and expand activities designed to prevent those currently housed from becoming homeless.
  • Build on inter-jurisdictional cooperation to achieve housing and homeless needs.
  • Increase the availability of service enriched housing for persons with special needs.

Application Process

Each jurisdiction in the Urban County administers its portion of the Urban County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Grant, except for the unincorporated areas which Alameda County administers.

Urban County City Programs

For each of the city members, please use the following links to determine how their Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs work:

Albany | Dublin | Emeryville | Newark | Piedmont

Unincorporated County Application Process

Within the Unincorporated Alameda County, the CDBG program uses the five-year Neighborhood Plan to set priorities for funding community projects.

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are generally released in December or January, with applications due in March or April of each year. Applications are reviewed and rated against published criteria set forth in the RFP, and then ranked in order of their scores.

The Unincorporated County CDBG Program emphasizes improvements to the built environment (capital projects) and typically does not fund ongoing social services. Proposals are presented to the Housing and Community Development Advisory Committee in May of each year, with contracts going before the Board of Supervisors in June for a July 1st start date.

The Neighborhood Plan sets forth priority areas and goals for the Unincorporated County Areas:

Senior in blue shirt and black apron barbequing
  1. Target funds geographically to revitalize lower income neighborhoods in the Ashland and Cherryland unincorporated areas of Alameda County. Annual consideration will be given to mobility improvement projects proposed for other unincorporated areas.
    • Examples of revitalization projects include, but are not limited to, development of new community serving facilities such as day care centers, youth centers, or senior centers; park and community center construction or expansion; and handicapped accessibility improvements.
      Funding will be limited to projects that are not funded under another plan or program unless gap financing is needed.

  2. Creatively link CDBG activities and projects with other County programs and activities.
    • Unincorporated County CDBG funding decisions will consider the overlapping of other County programs having an impact in the Unincorporated areas as having a high priority.

  3. Create project selection criteria for evaluating competitive proposals which range from public works to public services.
    • Create flexibility to fund good proposals that are outside of the established criteria when necessary. This can include infrastructure and non-traditional projects.

  4. Utilize the goals and objectives of the Urban County Citizen Participation Plan to promote citizen participation in the CDBG process.

  5. Participate in other inter-agency policy planning efforts which affect the CDBG Program.