Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - December 14, 2017 


GOP leaders reach an agreement on their tax bill, we have a report on the likely squeeze on state and local revenues; also on our nationwide rundown; should ex-felons have the right to vote or own guns? And we will clue you in on the most dangerous place to drive this holiday season.

Daily Newscasts

CT Agencies Call for Full Funding of Anti-Poverty Programs

Proposed federal and state budget cuts are jeopardizing programs such as Meals on Wheels, in Connecticut and across the country. (Dwight Burdette/Wikimedia Commons)
Proposed federal and state budget cuts are jeopardizing programs such as Meals on Wheels, in Connecticut and across the country. (Dwight Burdette/Wikimedia Commons)
March 24, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. - Proposed state and federal budget cuts threaten Connecticut's most vulnerable residents. That's the message service providers and customers took to Harford on Thursday.

Gov. Dannel Malloy wants to cut funding for the Human Services Infrastructure Community Action Program by 20 percent. Individuals and families with limited income depend on the agencies for help and referrals for child care, senior services, food, housing and home-heating assistance.

Deborah Monahan, executive director of the Thames Valley Council for Community Action, said that would mean staffing reductions and delays at anti-poverty agencies throughout the state.

"When people are coming in to us, it's usually because they're in critical need, or an emergency or a crisis," she said. "So, if that HSI line is significantly cut, it's going to really hamper our ability to see clients immediately and help them."

Community Action Agencies also receive funding through the federal Community Services Block Grant, which could be eliminated under President Trump's proposed budget.

Michelle James, executive director of the Community Action Center of Western Connecticut, said cutting the block grant, which funds services such as Meals on Wheels and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program, would be a disaster.

"If the funding was cut at the federal level," she said, "we would have to close our doors and we would not be able to provide services to our 25 communities that we service."

James said her agency served about 16,000 people last year and anticipates as many as 20,000 requests for assistance this year. Overall, Community Action Agencies helped more than 357,000 people in Connecticut last year.

Monahan said eliminating those services would have a ripple effect.

"If you do away with that funding, we're not going to be purchasing the food or the weatherization material from our local businesses," she said. "So, there's serious economic impacts on communities if these dollars go away, as well."

Monahan estimated that the state's Community Action Agency Network leverages $140 of additional funding for every dollar of HSI Community Action Program funds.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT