Community Action Agencies Rally to Defeat Cuts, Protect Communities
Proposed federal budget slashes funding for crucial program by 50 percent
Press Release Source: Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies On Wednesday April 20, 2011, 3:23 pm EDT
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., April 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- During the past three days hundreds gathered at rallies throughout Illinois to urge federal lawmakers to save Community Action funding. While Congress has been deliberating over the FY 2011 and FY 2012 budgets, there have been proposals aimed at cutting the core funding for Community Action Agencies by 50 percent. The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) is the vital lifeline for Community Action Agencies to provide services, such as emergency food and housing assistance, child care and job training.
"CSBG is one of the most important funding sources for our members," said Dalitso Sulamoyo, president and CEO of the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies (IACAA), which hosted the rallies. "If this cut is approved, Illinois will lose $15 million and will be unable to serve 390,000 people, who are struggling in this economy. This is the last thing the people of Illinois need considering the poor condition of our state budget."
The CSBG funding, which has received bipartisan support since it was authorized by President Reagan in 1981, provides a range of safety net services. Its goal is to help people with low incomes attain the skills, knowledge and motivation necessary to achieve self-sufficiency. For example, a Community Action Agency (CAA) might know that many residents are facing foreclosure. That CAA may use CSBG funds to create a foreclosure prevention program that includes classes and is led by a case manager who works with families.
Other CAAs might use CSBG funds to:
•Provide child care for working families who can't afford it.
•Help people meet basic needs, such as gas for their car, new shoes for kids and furniture for their home.
•Support a father who is trying to keep his family of 10 from being assigned to different shelters while searching for a new home after a fire.
"President Obama declared in his State of the Union Address that we shouldn't eliminate programs that help our most vulnerable citizens," Sulamoyo said. "Community Action Agencies serve people who earn up to 125 percent of federal poverty guidelines – the definition of the nation's most vulnerable. Now is the time for us – all of us – to tell our U.S. representatives and senators how vital CSBG funding is to the work of Community Action."
An additional program many Community Action Agencies provide also will be hurt in the proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) would be reduced by $2.5 billion nationally. If this budget passes, Illinois would lose $74 million in funding and 140,000 fewer households – almost all of which have at least one senior, person living with a disability or child in the home – would be served in 2012.
The Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies is a membership organization which serves as the network for Illinois not-for-profit corporations and units of government which strive to raise the health, education and economic standards of Illinois low income population. Visit the website at www.iacaanet.org.