In a time when hard-working people are attempting to stay afloat in an economic recession, funding is being slashed for programs that have tangible, beneficial outcomes for thousands in our community. The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) comprises a significant portion of the budget for Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area (CAP). The counties the agency serves—Montgomery, Preble, Darke, and Greene—will face critical social service voids if CSBG funds are reduced. The agency would no longer be able to provide the vital services needed in this community for those individuals simply wanting to survive.
The President’s Budget Request includes changes in funding for Community Action that will reduce the CSBG by 50 percent and allow the remaining funding to move to other communities or organizations.
“CSBG creates opportunities for all members of our community,” said Tim Donnellan, President & CEO of the Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area. “CSBG helps people find jobs, get educated and become secure. However, a cut of this magnitude will mean severe losses to those in need in our community at a time when the need for our services has never been greater.”
By county, here is a list of some of the impact the proposed CSBG cuts will have on the region:
Montgomery County
Community Action Partnership’s reach within Montgomery County is extensive. It operates four locations to serve the community. A reduction in funding would mean that our primary location, the Main Street Office would face a reduction in hours and services. The three satellite facilities—offices at the Jobs Center and Towne Center and the Youth Empowerment Center—would have to close their doors. That means 75 percent of the current Montgomery County facilities would close. The Youth Empowerment Center (YEC) provides unique services for children and youth in our community. A facility that houses programs that provide beneficial enrichment activities for youth would be a casualty if CSBG funding were reduced.
Rental Assistance: Tenants facing eviction would no longer have access to receive rental assistance and alternative housing counseling, and may have no place to live. In 2010, CAP helped 376 people maintain rental housing. Without this program, such people would be forced out of their current living situation.
Volunteer Income Tax Preparation Assistance (VITA): This program fully funded by CSBG would no longer be available to low-income wage earners in our community. VITA returns thousands of dollars to our local economy. The people using this program would probably go back to pricey tax preparation services for a cost they could little afford. Last year, 1,627 had their taxes fully completed, and on average a person received $1,163 in payments, credits or savings.
Free Computer Training Classes: The classes have helped numerous displaced workers increase their job skills. This program has shown seniors how to stay connected with family and friends, and increase their quality of life. With this program gone, displaced workers and seniors would not have the access to this free learning experience. In 2010, 277 people obtained computer literacy skills.
Preble County
Home Delivered Meals: This service to our most frail seniors would be reduced or stopped. In most instances, the driver that delivers the meals is these seniors’ only contact to the outside world. In the past, drivers have found seniors who had fallen and were waiting to be found. Many seniors anxiously await their daily contact with their driver. These are isolated individuals, some without family, who desperately the meal and the human contact.
Emergency Homeless Shelter: CSBG funds are required match monies to operate the only homeless shelter within Preble County. This program could not continue without the required leverage, so individuals and families would be living on the streets, doubled up with friends, or living in their cars.
Head Start Referral Services: CAP could no longer provide the additional family referral services that are available through CSBG funding. Not only would these services be affected, but the services and locations of facilities would be affected, as the number of referrals would diminish.
Darke County
Clothing Bank: Low-income families shop at the Clothing Bank on Wednesdays and Fridays for reasonable prices. Some families qualify for vouchers to obtain clothing, shoes, blankets, kitchen supplies and household goods. CSBG supports this endeavor for the community and a reduction in funding would likely mean the Clothing Bank could only be open one day a week.
Bridge the Gap: A program partnership with United Way in Darke County to assist people with emergencies who otherwise do not qualify for certain services. These people may just be on the edge of income guidelines or suffer a family or personal crisis that changes their personal circumstances for the future.
Senior Transportation: Medical transportation is provided for persons age 60 or over who have no assistance from family or friends and cannot book transportation through any other program or agency in Darke County. The program seeks to “fill the gap” for persons who otherwise may not be able to receive necessary medical treatment due to lack to transportation to a medical facility. CSBG fully funds this program and it would be eliminated in order to shift funds and keep other programs operational.
Greene County
Harding Place: This is a transitional housing program for individuals who are homeless, unemployed or underemployed. Persons may stay at Harding Place for up to 18 months. Participants housed at this facility not only receive temporary housing, they also benefit from comprehensive case management and other support services on their pathway to achieving self-sufficiency. Residents of Harding Place are given specific daily responsibilities to develop core life skills that promote their personal and professional growth. CSBG supports this important initiative and matching funds are critical to its action plan.
Work Ready: This employment assistance program provides case management and limited financial assistance to eligible individuals to secure or maintain employment. The goal of the program is to remove identified barriers that prevent working and maintaining self-sufficiency. This program is solely CSBG funded and would be eliminated.
HOPE Café: This program works with homeless individuals in Greene County to train them in the food service field. The program is not all about cooking food; it is about giving people a second chance to learn a skill to enable them to find full-time employment that could lead them to moving into permanent housing. Without CSBG funds, the program will cease to exist.
“CSBG is an intricate part of keeping all programs alive and well,” said Donnellan. “But for CSBG, we would not have many of the services we offer today. CSBG supports new and emerging community projects and helps with necessary research to bring additional funds to the community. CSBG is the building block for innovative programs and provides a firm foundation for those programs that already exist.”