Community Action Agencies (CAAs) like Action Inc. serve more than 16 million low-income individuals across the country each year. CAAs help people stay warm in their homes, get a job, or find a safe and secure place to stay – they give them hope that opportunity is for people like them.
The President’s proposed budget eliminates the key federal funding that supports Action Inc. and more than 1,000 CAAs nationwide – the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). CSBG are vital flexible funds that allow us to do things that would otherwise be hard to find funding for. In the case of Action Inc. that funding helps support things like our Client Services program, the front door program serving hundreds of struggling families each year. It also funds a portion of our Adult Education program, helping people achieve their high school equivalency and improve life for themselves and their families, and our innovative Housing First Program, which houses and provides support services for hard-to-house individuals. Through these CSBG-funded services, 907 local residents benefited directly from these funds in 2017.
Like hundreds of our sister agencies, Action Inc. works hard to leverage the funding we get from the federal government into cash to fund our wide range of important programs. CSBG makes up just a small portion of our budget, but it allows us to do extraordinarily important things. For every dollar received in CSBG funding, we are able to leverage more than $100 in non-federal funds. Losing this base funding would put so much of what we do at risk. These leveraged CSBG funds allowed us to serve 5,519 people in 2017.
The proposed budget also zeros out funding for fuel assistance (LIHEAP) and weatherization (WAP) programs. The majority of people benefiting from these programs are seniors, people with disabilities and children. This past winter shows how important it is to provide some extra help during the long cold months. In 2017, our LIHEAP program provided emergency energy assistance to 1,686 local residents and 419 households received upgrades through WAP, keeping residents safe and warm. Eliminating these programs would immediately make life harder for thousands of households in our community and force vulnerable people to choose between things like food and medicine, or heating their homes.
What can you do?
If you feel strongly that the programs that Action Inc. provides are important to our community, and that the people we serve should not be forgotten by this administration, please contact Senator Warren, Senator Markey, and Congressman Moulton asking them to oppose these cuts. You can also stop by our offices and sign a postcard which will be mailed to our congressional delegation.