We dodged yet another bullet this Spring. Despite being abandoned by the President, and the House Republican leadership proposing elimination of the Community Services Block Grant, our many friends in Congress, including our own Charlie Dent, prevented a calamity, with the result being a 3% cut in CSBG, our core funding. However, years of stretching, stretching and more stretching meant that even that 3% cut snapped our ability to sustain all of Community Action’s programming.
The Board of Directors just adopted a budget that will result in the elimination of 20 employees and hours cut on three others. Community Action is still a $20 million organization with 100 employees, but this is the first time in 28 years that we did not grow services to our community; indeed, deep cuts were made, affecting services.
Most devastating of all was our decision to either transition Safe Harbor Easton to another agency or to close it by September 30. All of us are stunned by what we had to do. As the agency that created the organizational structure, ran the $435,000 capital campaign to retrofit the building donated by the City of Easton during Sal Panto’s mid-eighties tenure, hired the architect, oversaw the construction, helped raise the funds for the Salvation Army to run the shelter, then rescued the program when the Salvation Army dropped out, sustaining it since 1993, this is painful.
We also will stop offering seminars on tenant rights and responsibilities. Unless new funds are made available, we will no longer open Family Savings Accounts, which match savers’ deposits if the savings are used to buy a home, start a business or make other progress toward self-sufficiency.
We anticipated funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for weatherizing homes to run out in March, 2012. The program helps people save energy while reducing our carbon footprint. We expect, though, additional cuts to the regular federal funding we receive for weatherization. And the utility companies may cut their programs, as well.
Friends, this is a slender organization, putting as much as we can into services. We are, frankly, too stretched administratively, spending in 2010-2011 just 7.6% of our revenue on administration. Feel free to compare that to any other non-profit. This new, 2011-2012 budget drops administrative costs to 7.2%!
You can see what this year’s budget will produce in our community by clicking here. Be prepared for 40+ pages of details about the difference we will make with your tax dollars and donations.
We won (in relative terms) our funding battle on the Continuing Resolution because we’re good at what we do. We also won because hundreds of our friends and people we serve sent letters and emails and made phone calls to our representatives in Congress.
We may need you again. Stick with us.