Community Action Faces Budget Cuts

By: Ryan Dearbone
By: Ryan Dearbone

Community Action of Southern Kentucky may be in danger of having to make cuts to their operation because the federal government has to use some of its alloted money for continued hurricane relief and other projects.

President George W. Bush initially wanted to get rid of the community service block grant because he felt it's impact wasn't being properly tracked.

"Early on, the President believed that there were no strong measurements being taken to analyze the impact of the services," says Community Action of SOKY Executive Director, Cheryl Allen.

But she says this isn't true.

While the federal government has voted to save the grant from total extinction, they are proposing a 29 percent cut in funding for community action offices around the country.

In South Central Kentucky that would mean that the ten offices in the ten counties in the barren river region would suffer...along with the community.

"That would impact the staffing of those offices where people will come when they need help with food or heating assistance or finding out where other service providers can help them."

Community Action Assistant Director, Ellie Harbaugh agrees,"This year we saw a lot of people for the first time that we helped maintain energy in their homes so they could stay warm during the winter months."

Allen says she's optimistic that those on Capital Hill won't cut their budget so severely, but she realizes it could be hard if they do.

"We operate on a tight belt anyway. So we would work to see how we could collaborate but yes things will have to be cut."

In 2005, the group also aided 803 homeless people and gave heating assistance to more than 8,000 homes.

According to Allen, Community Action's budget was 12 million dollars last year.

But the grant pays for most of the staffing which allows the core money received from the federal government to attract more grants that complete the budget.

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