By Hector Gama |Staff Writer|
The Obama Administration has proposed new budget cuts that will leave the poor pleading for help.
On February 14, 2011, the President released his FY 2012 Budget which contained a 50% cut to Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), the core funding for community action agencies.
In addition to this, as much as 49% may be cut from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the primary funding for low income home heating.
There are also other proposed cuts that would affect the programs and services we provide to San Bernardino County’s most vulnerable residents.
The House Appropriations Committee has recommended cuts for 2011 that would slash CSBG, LIHEAP, Community Supplemental Food Program, jobs programs, affordable housing, Head Start, heating assistance, community health centers, and many other vital community services programs.
These extreme and damaging cuts would disproportionately hurt the jobless and low-income families that are served.
House Republicans are targeting the Community Services Block Grant for virtual elimination as part of the reauthorizing of the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution.
Why is this a problem?
CSBG is the only federal program focused on comprehensive services to people in need. If eliminated, the 1,100 Community Action Agencies across the country will be forced to slash programs, or close their doors.
Community Action Agencies are locally focused organizations designed to offer programs that are specifically based on local community assessment of needs.
According to the CAAP, this would mean that Community Action Agencies deliver programs that are of the most need to the community and its citizens, thus reducing duplication of services offered by other organizations and maximizing efficiencies of delivery of service.
The agencies help people get education, training, employment, food, child care, shelter, housing, transportation, and home energy and weatherization assistance.
This would include Head Start for preschool children, centers for seniors, and others that offer summer feeding for children, home care for the elderly, alcohol and drug rehabilitation, dental care, and the teaching of values to young people.
In addition, in all states, CSBG is a program designed to provide a range of services to assist low-income people in attaining the skills, knowledge, and motivation necessary to achieve self-sufficiency.
According to csd.ca.gov, services are provided to local communities for the revitalization of low-income communities, the reduction of poverty and to help provider agencies to improve and increase their capacity at achieving results and to develop community resources with whom to link services and funding.
The Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino (CAPSBC) is very concerned with the impact that these reductions will have on our communities’ service levels.
They are working with our state association and national agencies to develop a strategy to convey the importance and merits of CSBG and other funding streams.
Over the next month, their Board of Directors will be meeting with San Bernardino’s elected officials to inform them on the impact these cuts will have on the county.
The CAPSBC were unavailable to comment on the effects that the proposed cuts would have on CSBG.