Proposed Budget Would Shut Down Community Action
Donald Trump’s first demonstration of his priorities through his proposed budget makes it very clear that the billionaire whose father set him up in business doesn’t understand how much a few friends can make a difference. As expected, his budget seeks huge cuts in domestic discretionary spending in order to fund massive increases in military spending. Today, details emerged and the nation’s attempt to reduce poverty through Community Action Agencies like the Community Action Lehigh Valley has been surrendered to “an ugly willingness to abandon the weakest among us,” according to Alan Jennings, Executive Director of Community Action, whose key funding sources would be eliminated. The cuts, if enacted, would force the closing of an award-winning agency that serves tens of thousands of low-income people and their neighborhoods in the Lehigh Valley.
Trump’s proposed elimination of the Community Services Block Grant, which is just 6 percent of Community Action’s total budget but is the core of the agency’s funding that enables it to leverage millions more, would kill the agency. Neighborhood revitalization efforts in the Lehigh Valley’s cities and the Slate Belt would be without an administrator. Prospective entrepreneurs would lose technical assistance and access to credit. Elimination of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and Weatherization Assistance Program would mean hundreds of area families would be forced to make a “heat or eat” decision. Dozens of families would not have their homes weatherized and scores would not get their malfunctioning heating systems repaired or replaced. The Sixth Street Shelter’s ability to serve over 100 homeless families with children each year would be jeopardized.
“Great countries don’t turn their backs on the poor, the disabled, those whose skills have little value in the labor force,” Jennings said. “Our president’s vision for America lacks an understanding of how weak our country will be if only a handful of us are strong. Thankfully, we still have the right to fight back. And that we will do with every ounce of our energy.”
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