The history of the Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) began with founding of the State Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) in 1964. The state OEO was created following the passage of federal Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 under the direction of Sargent Shriver.
In 1964, during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, Congress enacted Public Law 88-452, an omnibus bill titled the "Economic Opportunity Act of 1964." The Act established the Office of Economic Opportunity in the Executive Office of the President to direct and coordinate the mobilization of the "human and financial resources of the nation to combat poverty in the United States." The effort quickly became known as the “war on poverty.” In part, the Act stated: "It is the policy of the United States to eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty in this nation by opening, to everyone, the opportunity for education and training, the opportunity to work, and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity."
The Act provided funding for Community Action Agencies, which are local private non-profit and government organizations that have directly served the needs of the low-income. In 1996, the California Legislature renamed the OEO to more accurately reflect its purpose as the Department of Community Services and Development.
As a Department under the California Health and Human Services Agency, CSD partners with private non-profit and local government organizations dedicated to helping low-income families achieve and maintain economic security, meet their home energy needs, and reduce their utility costs through energy efficiency upgrades and access to clean renewable energy