Federal Grants

Community Development Agency
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The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program is a federal program of grants to local governments, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 established CDBG as a replacement for a variety of federal urban renewal, housing, and neighborhood development programs. CDBG was the first of the federal block grant programs.

In Marin County, all eleven cities have signed cooperation agreements to participate with the County government in a single joint CDBG program. This qualifies Marin County as an "urban county," giving us an annual grant allocation established by formula. Marin County administers the CDBG program for all eleven cities, as well as the unincorporated parts of the County. Both government agencies and nonprofit organizations are eligible for funding.


Newest Information

General Information

  • The Marin County Community Development Agency makes grant funds available only to nonprofit agencies and local governments. We do not fund individuals or families.
  • There are many other block grants established by various state and federal agencies. To track down information about other block grants, try calling a local agency which provides services in that category.
  • The grants we administer in the Federal Grants Division of the Marin County Community Development Agency are the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. Both are funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Mailing List
  • 2017 Annual Action Plan (Draft)

Community Development Block Grant and HOME 2017-18 Applications by Planning Area

Completed applications for the 2017-18 grant year, which begins on July 1, 2017, are available for viewing by Planning Area by clicking on the links shown below. Please review county notices in regards to our Planning Area Meeting Schedule: English / Español

Priority Setting Committee Community Member Applications

Priority Setting Committee applications are now available for community members. Please complete and return by September 30th at 4:00pm.

*Please email Jared Stalling at jstalling@marincounty.org for any questions.

Priority Setting Committee and Planning Area Public Meetings

Staff reports will be made available prior to each hearing. Check this website for more information. The list of applications received is posted above.

Application Information and Workshops


2016-17 CDBG and HOME Grant Application forms (download as a Word document):


Two Workshops will be held:

Staff Recommendations and Funding Reports

One staff report will be issued for each of the six geographic areas, called "planning areas," and one staff report will be issued for countywide housing projects, which include projects in the CDBG Countywide Housing category and projects recommended for HOME Program funds. Staff reports will be added as they become available. All staff reports are in PDF file format.

Previous Year Announcements, Meetings and Reports

Previous announcements, meeting agendas and reports are available for prior years back to 2012. You may access these by visiting the Prior Year Meetings and Reports panel on this page.

CDBG and HOME Application Information and Allocation Process

The Marin County's Community Development Agency makes grant funds available only to eligible nonprofit agencies and local governments. We do not fund individuals or families.

Marin County will receive about $1.3 million in CDBG funds this year. After subtracting administrative expenses, the funds are divided so that 40% goes to housing on a countywide basis and the remaining 60% goes to six local planning areas for housing, capital, and public service projects. At least 30% of each planning area's funds must be used for housing.

Staff holds a workshop during which we explain the CDBG regulations, talk to potential applicants, and learn what the public sees as priorities.

Applications for 2017-18 are due at the Marin County Community Development Agency at 5:00 pm, on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The address for mailing or hand delivery of applications is:

3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 308
San Rafael, CA 94903

Digital applications will be accepted as well and must be received by the before mentioned time to Jared Stalling, Planner at jstalling@marincounty.org.

For more information on the application process, please attend one of the workshops listed at the date and location below:

  • Wednesday, October 19th at Albert J Boro Center in San Rafael from 10am -12pm
  • Wednesday, October 26th at Marguerita Johnson Center in Marin City from 1-3pm

In late December, CDBG staff begins reviewing applications, requesting additional information if needed, and making staff recommendations about which projects should be funded. (City of San Rafael staff will review applications for San Rafael Planning Area funds.)

Typically, the requests for CDBG assistance total more than three times the amount of funds available. Because of the competition for limited funds, many applicants cannot be recommended for funding and many are recommended for funding at less than the amounts they requested. Competition is most intense in the public service category.

Most planning areas have a Local Area Committee, consisting of a County Supervisor from that area and one City or Town Council member from each of the cities and towns within the area. During January and February, each of the Local Area Committees holds a hearing to make recommendations for the use of planning area funds. The San Rafael and the Novato City Councils now serve as the Local Area Committees for the their Planning Areas, and San Rafael and Novato Planning Area funds now include their share of CDBG Countywide Housing funds.

The Countywide Priority Setting Committee, consists of one County Supervisor, a representative from each of the City and Town Councils and community members.  A hearing is then held to consider the recommendations made for the local planning area funds, and to make the initial recommendations for Countywide Housing funds.

Then, in early May, the Board of Supervisors holds a final public hearing on all the recommendations of the Countywide Priority Setting Committee for both planning area and countywide housing funds. In mid-May, the County sends its annual list of projects to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Please review all supplemental documents:

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to see the answer, or Open All Questions.

  • What types of projects can get CDBG funds?

    CDBG funds can be used for three general types of projects that assist low-income people: housing, capital, and public service projects.


    Eligible housing activities include housing rehabilitation, acquisition of existing housing, acquisition of sites for housing construction, off-site improvements needed for housing development, and fair housing services, and housing planning and predevelopment costs. While CDBG funds can support housing development by paying for property acquisition, or off-site improvements, or for predevelopment expense. CDBG funds cannot ordinarily be used directly for housing construction itself or for predevelopment expenses. Types of housing projects we've funded include low-cost rental and ownership housing, senior housing, group homes, housing for people with physical and mental disabilities, homeless shelters, owner-built housing, and shared housing.


    Eligible capital projects include most types of public facilities and community facilities, such as community centers, senior centers, centers for people with disabilities, day care centers, parks, recreation facilities, public works, buildings that house public services, and removal of architectural barriers which limit accessibility. This category also includes economic development activities.

    Public Services

    We are permitted to spend up to 15% of our CDBG funds on public services, which are very broadly defined. Some of the public service projects we've funded include day care programs for children and seniors, transportation for special needs groups, counseling programs, social service referrals, senior services, employment assistance, emergency food, educational services, and medical services. However, CDBG funds may not be used to replace cutbacks in local government support for public services. CDBG public service funds should be used for the direct delivery of services, and not for overhead or administration.

  • But isn't this a program for low-income people?

    Yes, even if a project fits one of the eligible categories, it must also pass the low-income benefit test. Most projects qualify if at least 51% of the users will be low-income, as defined by HUD. The income limit for a single-person household is $62,050, and for a family of four it is $88,600. A project meets the standard if at least 51% of the beneficiaries have incomes below the limit, or if it benefits a neighborhood with a high percentage of low-income people.

    For housing, if a structure contains two dwelling units, at least one must be occupied by a low-income household. If a structure contains more than two units, at least 51% of the units must be occupied by low-income households. For example, a four-unit building must have three units occupied by low-income households. For this calculation, adjacent rental (not owner-occupied) buildings under common ownership and management may be treated as a single structure. For new construction of multi-family non-elderly rental housing, the requirement is reduced to 20%. Rents for low-income units may not exceed 30% of the tenant's income.

    If a project gives scholarship assistance to low-income people, we count only those who actually receive assistance. Facilities and accessibility improvements for the elderly or for people with disabilities are automatically eligible. As a substitute for low-income benefit, projects may also qualify if they eliminate slums or blight or meet emergency needs, but the regulations make it extremely difficult to qualify under these categories.

    CDBG Income Limits
    Persons in Household Income
    1 $62,050
    2 $70,900
    3 $79,750
    4 $88,600
    5 $95,700
    6 $102,800
    7 $109,900
    8 $117,000
  • I'm still not sure if my project is eligible.

    Call us! We encourage all potential applicants to contact the CDBG staff before submitting an application. There are many more eligibility requirements than we could summarize here. Generally, construction expenses for new housing, predevelopment costs for housing, furnishings, maintenance, and income payments are ineligible, but there are exceptions. Staff can tell you whether your project, or a part of your project, is eligible.

Prior Year Meetings and Reports


Submission to the Board of Supervisors

Priority Setting Committee Meeting


Community Development Block Grant 2015-16 Applications by Planning Area

Completed applications for the 2015-16 grant year are available for viewing by Planning Area by clicking on the links shown below. A list of all 2015-16 CDBG and HOME applications can be viewed by clicking here: List of 2015-16 applications received.

HOME Program applications


Earlier Meetings and Workshops

2014-15 Workshops

Priority Setting Committee Meetings (2014)

Schedule of Public Hearings for Program Year 2014-15 (posted 2/19/2014)

Priority Setting Committee to meet Monday March 24, 2014

Priority Setting Committee to meet Monday February 24, 2014

Completed applications for the 2014-15 Grant year are available for viewing by Planning area (posted 2/19/2014)

Planning Area Public Hearings (2014)


Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2014-15 applications by Planning Area:

HOME Program 2014-15 applications:

Marin County HOME Program applications 2014-15 Part 1,

Marin County HOME Program applications 2014-15 Part 2

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Staff Reports (2013-14)

Priority Setting Committee Meeting

Completed applications for the 2013-14 grant year are available for viewing by Planning Area (posted 1/3/2013):

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2013-14 Applications

HOME Program 2013-14 Applications

2013-14 Application Forms and Instructions - Application DEADLINE is Thursday, December 13, 2012, 5:00 PM

July 9, 2012 Priority Setting Committee meeting (posted 7/3/2012)

2011-12 Announcements

2011-12 Staff Reports and Plans

Annual Funding Recommendation Reports

Other Marin County Housing Resources

Housing Information

There are many sources of assistance for people who need affordable housing in Marin County. The programs include public housing, apartments for seniors and people with disabilities, nonprofit rental housing, shared rental housing, rental assistance you can use in a private apartment, emergency rent or security deposit assistance, and even affordable homeownership. Many programs are small, have long waiting lists, or have special eligibility requirements, but it's a good idea to apply and get yourself on the waiting list. Since there is not enough affordable housing available to meet the need, getting into affordable housing takes time.

Some programs give preference to special categories of people. Some of the categories that qualify for special assistance in some programs are:

  • people with disabilities, including mental illness
  • people with substance abuse problems
  • seniors
  • single parents
  • people who have lost their housing through no fault of their own
  • homeless people
  • people living in substandard housing, a homeless shelter, or transitional housing
  • people paying more than half their income for rent and utilities
  • victims of domestic violence, and
  • people living with HIV or AIDS

For further information, download the Housing Resource Guide or call the Marin Housing Authority at (415) 491-2525, TDD (800) 735-2929. Tell them if you fall into any of the special categories. The Assistline can send you a list of affordable housing developments in Marin. Call any affordable project in which you are interested at the end of the month to see if the waiting list is open. Finding housing will take time! You will need to keep making phone calls to get on waiting lists. This won't be fun, but it's worth a try. It will take time to find the right program for you, and you may have to wait until there is a vacancy. Be patient, be flexible, and be persistent.

For information on below-market-rate homeownership, please call the Marin Housing Authority at (415) 491-2550.

Fair Housing Protection

Housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, the presence of children in your family, age, sexual orientation, or disability is illegal. If you think that you may be a victim of housing discrimination, please call Fair Housing of Marin at (415) 457-5025. Fair Housing of Marin is a nonprofit agency which processes fair housing complaints. Their services include counseling, investigation, mediation, and referral to enforcement agencies.

Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program

The Residential Rehabilitation Loan Program makes low-interest housing improvement loans of up to $25,000 to qualified low-income homeowners for correction of substandard housing conditions and elimination of health and safety hazards. Examples of eligible work include:

  • foundation, termite damage, and dry rot repairs
  • plumbing, electrical, and heating system repairs
  • roof work
  • door and window repair
  • stairs, deck, and railing repair
  • disaster-related repairs
  • energy conservation measures
  • remodeling for wheelchair accessibility

Loans may be made for the rehabilitation of owner-occupied single-family houses or for approved "second units" within these homes. Loans are also available for houseboats in approved berths. The program operates throughout Marin County. For further information, please call the Marin Housing Authority at (415) 491-2550.