I write today about an issue of great concern to the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc., which last year helped more than 31,000 low-income individuals.
President Trump is recommending a federal budget for next year that would cut or eliminate critical programs such as fuel assistance, weatherization, and services for seniors.
Also on the chopping block are the Community Service Block Grant and Community Development Block Grant programs, both of which are used for local emergency housing, fuel costs, financial education, job training and education.
The impact of these cuts on the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc. and our community’s most vulnerable citizens could be devastating and costlier in the long run. The loss of these programs will stall efforts to help families and individuals become self-sufficient, drive people out of their homes and lead to an increase in homelessness. Families will be forced to choose between a warm home or food on the table.
GLCAC’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the weatherization programs serve over 9,000 households in Lawrence, Methuen, Andover and North Andover. Forty-two percent of those clients are elderly and 41 percent are children.
Our block grant programs allow us to provide an English for Speakers of Other Languages program for 250 people per year, and immigration and naturalization services to 500 people. There is a proposed cut to the Women, Infants and Children food and nutrition program from $6.4 billion to $6.2 billion. If this passes, it will certainly affect the scope of our program, which now serves 6,700 people.
There are also cuts to Meals-on-Wheels and housing programs. While GLCAC does not provide these services, many of our clients use them.
These short-sighted recommendations are wrong for our communities. We will be working hard over the next few months with our Congressional delegation and other stakeholders to ensure that these essential programs are funded.
We will continue to update the community as we work together to keep our clients healthy and safe.