Understanding the Impact
The budget proposed by the Trump administration is a cruel one, especially in light of the new tax law that in almost every way favors the rich. President Trump’s budget adds insult to injury by eliminating the very programs that have helped millions of people leave poverty.
Cutting the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) program will not only adversely affect thousands of residents of Massachusetts, but will also remove millions of dollars from communities across the Commonwealth. It will devastate vulnerable individuals, families, and seniors while also weakening communities as a whole.
Similarly, eliminating the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and weatherization programs (WAP) will hurt low income families struggling through winters in New England. This will cause people to have to make terrible choices between heating, eating, food, clothes, and medicine, and will create a public health hazard in cities and towns across Massachusetts.
The economy currently does not work for everyone, and until it does, programs like fuel assistance, CSBG, and WAP are critical. The President’s budget eviscerates the social safety net, the very programs that are necessary to counter the effects of his tax package. Community Action Agencies are on the front lines, and we see the struggles that low income families face. We very much appreciate the tireless work of our congressional delegation who continue their efforts to protect the programs that help hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Massachusetts residents living with low incomes become economically stable and mobile.
If passed, this budget will have severe impact on thousands of residents of Massachusetts and the communities they live in. In all likelihood, many Community Action Agencies may have to shut their doors, stranding the thousands of individuals, families, seniors and veterans who rely on our services for basic needs. As importantly, we help thousands of individuals access the kinds of services that allow them financial self-sufficiency. Gutting the programs that help Community Action Agencies will not eliminate poverty – it will only make the challenges that low income families face worse.
The President’s budget would have a devastating impact on the people we serve. Here is information about how many people we serve in several different ways now – people we would not be able to serve under the President’s budget.
- CAAs serve approximately 600,000 individuals, more than 330,000 families in Massachusetts, including more than 180,000 children
- A majority of the families that CAAs serve have an income but still need assistance
- More than 3,000 of the individuals we serve were unemployed but obtained a job
- More than 5,000 of the individuals served obtained the skills that they needed to get a job
- Approximately 30,000 parents from across the Commonwealth obtained child care including before/after school care
- More than 8,500 children were served in a Head Start child care program
- More than 48,000 men, women, and children received emergency food assistance
- More than 48,000 men, women, and children received food or utility payments
- Approximately 160,000 individuals received emergency fuel assistance
- More than 17,000 tax payers received free tax prep accessing tax credits, bringing back more than $32M
- More than 720,000 volunteer hours are donated annually, including 605,000 hours donated by the people we serve
- CAAs distributed more than 3.3 million pounds of food
In short, thousands of people across the state will not only lose access to basic necessities, like fuel assistance during the winter and emergency food when they are hungry, but will also lose services – like free tax preparation, child care and job training – that will help them achieve economic self-sufficiency. Such actions would be catastrophic for thousands of people in Massachusetts and the towns and cities they live in.
Statement from Denise Harlow, National Community Action Partnership CEO:
“Everyday, Community Action connects individuals and families to programs that help them succeed. We bring community-wide solutions to seemingly stubborn challenges. CSBG, Weatherization, and LIHEAP are programs in our local agencies’ toolbox that help families and communities be stronger during these challenging times. Congress counts on what works at the local level and that is Community Action. We know that Congress will reject these cuts and support these programs at it moves through its FY2019 budget process.”