The following is a guest post from Steven Martinez, Communications Director at the Community Action Association of Pennsylvania:
Today the Trump Administration released its FY 2019 budget proposal, doubling down on last year’s unprecedented proposed cuts. The budget calls for the elimination of three programs critical to America’s working families – the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) which helps fund your local Community Action Agency, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). CAAP CEO, Susan Moore, said:
“While we are not surprised by the budget put forth today, we are profoundly disappointed that the Administration has once again chosen to turn its back on the nearly 1.6 million Pennsylvanians (507 thousand children) living in poverty. We are confident that Congress will reject these cuts and provide robust funding for programs proven to lift families out of poverty.”
CSBG continues to serve over 15 million Americans each year (nearly 900 thousand Pennsylvanians) through a delivery network of over 1,000 Community Action Agencies in 99% of U.S. counties. 43 of those agencies are located right here in Pennsylvania. CSBG allows states and local communities to take the lead on combating poverty, tailoring programs and solutions to meet locally determined needs. Community Action Agencies provide workforce development, education, health services, housing support, and other critical bridges out of poverty.
Seth and Rachael Fredericks, from the Lycoming-Clinton Counties Commission for Community Action (STEP) and CAAP 2017 Self-Sufficiency Award winners, were one of the many families affected by the opioid epidemic sweeping across Pennsylvania. Their local Community Action Agency supported their path to sobriety and to financial self-sufficiency. Seth said, “I believe that there are other people like us who really have a desire to change but are held back. If it wasn’t for programs like this, we might never have had a fighting chance.” CLICK HERE to hear directly from Seth and Rachael about the impact their local Community Action Agency had in their lives.
Community Action Agencies are unique agencies in their communities, each overseen by a governing board that represents public and private stakeholders and low-income community residents. While each agency may vary in size and scope, they all share a common mission of fighting poverty and promoting self-sufficiency at the community level. Local agencies respond to short-term crises that can topple a working family into poverty and address chronic conditions that can trap multiple generations in dependency.
CAAP is committed to working with our partners both in and outside of Washington, D.C. to defend low-income Americans. Members of Congress have demonstrated strong, bipartisan support for these vital programs. We are confident that Congress will craft a sensible budget that preserves critical funding and prioritizes America’s working families.
Too many low-income families would suffer if our communities lost their local Community Action Agency. Go HERE to hear directly from just a few of the families PA Community Action supported in 2017 and to meet a few of the leaders who run Community Action Agencies throughout the Commonwealth.