CSBG May Be on the Chopping Block

February 10, 2011
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It’s something that is always threatened under Republican presidential administrations so it came as a surprise to many in Chelsea when President Barack Obama singled out Community Service Block Grants (CSBG) as something to cut in his State of the Union address.

The proposed cut by Obama sent shock waves through Chelsea and non-profits here like CAPIC who rely heavily on CSBGs to fund widely successful programs like fuel assistance, job training programs, Head Start and other essential programs for low income families and the elderly here.

“I must tell you I’m shocked,” said CAPIC Executive Director Bob Repucci. “He (Obama) has certainly been aware of these programs and understands the important role we (CAPIC) play in helping low-income families. Knowing he understands this is really a shock.”

Repucci added that the cuts proposed just go too deep.

“It is such a devastating decrease,” said Repucci. “We all bear the responsibility to make sacrifices and contribution and if a decrease is needed we would look at the numbers and make the necessary adjustments but at a 50 percent reduction would really mean a drastic change the programming we do in Chelsea, Winthrop and Revere.”

Repucci said he and CAPIC will fight very hard to see these proposed cuts reversed.

CAPIC currently receives CSBG funding that primarily supports the activities of all its programs.

Some fear the proposed cuts to CSBG funding are an attempt by Obama to placate Republicans in the now Republican-run House who have attacked the President’s administration on spending.

Right now Chelsea’s CAPIC office is helping thousands of low-income families survive a bitter Northeast winter with its Fuel Assistance program, providing Head Start and child care services for hundreds of children and their families, and beginning recruitment for youth and adults for the agency’s work education program.

U.S. Senator John Kerry said CAPIC are leading local efforts in Massachusetts that help struggling families, kids, and senior citizens keep their heads above water.

“I’m ready to make tough budget choices and real cuts, but I don’t think community action programs are the place to slash just as we’re pulling the country out of the economic ditch,” said Kerry.

“I’m ready to make tough budget choices and real cuts, but I don’t think community action programs are the place to slash just as we’re pulling the country out of the economic ditch,” said Kerry.

Kerry’s colleague in the House, U.S. Congressman Michael Capuano said the government must tackle our huge deficit, but not at the expense of some of our most vulnerable citizens.

“These proposed cuts are just too steep and will result in significant funding challenges for organizations like CAPIC that help families who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Capuano.


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