Community action agencies urge governor, legislature to restore $3.4 million in critical anti-poverty funds

CAFCA | March 04, 2015 |

 The Connecticut Association for Community Action (CAFCA) today will call on Governor Malloy and the state legislature to restore $3.4 million in critical Human Services Infrastructure (HSI)-Community Action Program funds to the state budget?funds which help hundreds of thousands of those in need in Connecticut receive essential, basic human services.

 

CAFCA represents the state’s Community Action Agencies (CAAs), which cover every town in Connecticut and serve as the front line statewide in providing anti-poverty services to low-income individuals and families including food, home heating assistance, rental assistance, job training, housing, child care and senior services, among others. More than 365,000 people in Connecticut are served by various CAA-run programs every year.

 “We are here today because we want to work with the Governor and the legislature to restore these funds and ensure that Connecticut’s most vulnerable population can continue to receive these critical state services,” Dr. James Gatling, President of New Opportunities, Inc., the CAA covering the Greater Waterbury area and Chairman of CAFCA’s Board of  Directors, said today. “For decades now the state and our agencies have been consistent partners in helping to provide services that help people move toward self-sufficiency, and it is our hope we can work together to keep this partnership going.”

 If the Governor’s initial recommendation to the legislature to cut $3.4 million in HSI funds were to go through, it would actually mean a direct cut of nearly $5 million because these funds are used as a match for federal funds.  Last year alone, CAAs leveraged $100 of additional federal, philanthropic and private funds for every $1 of HSI funds. CAAs would also be forced to cut roughly 100 jobs statewide.

Last year, HSI funds allowed CAAs to provide many programs and services, including:

Providing energy assistance to more than 141,000 households;

  • Returning more than $11.7 million in federal income tax refunds to communities through free tax preparation assistance;
  • Providing safe and affordable housing for more than 6,100 people;
  • Making emergency rental/mortgage payments to prevent homelessness for more than 3,100 individuals;
  • Removing, reducing or eliminating more than 50,000 barriers to employment through job training, childcare and other employment support services; and,
  • Allowing more than 16,800 seniors to maintain independent living through support services including home meal delivery, home health or homemaker services.

 CAFCA, its member agencies, and more than 100 CAA customers, staff, and board members throughout the state will hold an event today – called “Community Action Day-Save HSI!” – at the LegislativeOfficeBuilding in from 9:30-10:30 a.m. in Room 1B.  Representative Catherine Abercrombie, Chair of the Human Services Committee, Representative Larry Butler, Chair of Housing Committee, Representative Robert Sanchez, and other invited state leaders will discuss the importance of restoring HSI funding to the budget.  Customers from several CAAs will also share their story and talk about how HSI and community action have impacted their lives.