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Letter to Jim Nussle, Chairman of the Committee on the Budget

Date: March 6, 2006
Location: Peabody, MA

Rep. Tierney Calls for CSBG Program Funding


President's FY07 Budget Eliminates Funding for Program

Peabody, MA - U.S. Congressman John F. Tierney (D-Salem) today said that President Bush is ignoring the interests of local communities by eliminating all funding for the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) program in his budget for Fiscal Year 2007. Advocating for his local communities and others, Congressman Tierney led an effort, joined by 140 of his colleagues, in sending a bipartisan letter to the U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle (R-IA) calling for the preservation of $603 million of funding for this crucial program in FY 2007.

"Our local communities need CSBG funds to provide vital services for families, including fuel assistance and home health care. I am outraged that the President has again decided to eliminate all funds for this critical program. My efforts to push for CSBG funds will be ongoing as the budget process continues," said Congressman Tierney.
Across Massachusetts, CSBG provide funds to Community Action Agencies (CAAs), which in Fiscal Year 2004 (the most recent year for which that these figures are available) served 472,000 individuals, which includes nearly 110,000 families with children.

In Congressman Tierney's district, CSBG funds enable CAAs such as Action, Inc. (Gloucester), Lynn Economic Opportunity, Inc (LEO) (Lynn) and North Shore Community Action Project, Inc. (NSCAP) (Peabody), to provide invaluable services that not only help families and individuals become self-sufficient and economically independent, but also strengthen communities.

Last year, North Shore Community Action Programs served more than 13,500 individuals and none of this work could have been accomplished without the core funding that Community Service Block Grant provides. For every dollar of CSBG funding they receive, they leverage an additional $16 in other funding. Last year, for example, the Advocacy Program was nearly 100% funded by CSBG and helped 3,656 individuals with housing issues, immigration questions, problems with Social Security, Food Stamps, TANF, Unemployment Assistance, Health Insurance applications and much more.

"Nearly all of the people served by this program were either immigrants or elderly, disabled individuals or families struggling to maintain their housing. We are a critical support for the most vulnerable in our community. Without CSBG funding, NSCAP could not continue in its present capacity and would probably need to be dismantled," said Beth Hogan, Executive Director of NSCAP.

"This federal funding is the umbrella for all of the Action, Inc. programs. Without this funding, the program would cease to exist and low-income people would not have access to the services that they need," said William Rochford, Executive Director of Action, Inc. in Gloucester.
Action, Inc. provides emergency homeless shelter, self-sufficiency and stabilization programs, fuel assistance and other services to low-income individuals.
Community Service Block Grant funding is the rope that mends the somewhat tattered safety net for millions of low income citizens. In the Lynn area alone over ten thousand individuals, have vastly more bearable lives because Lynn Economic Opportunity (LEO) receives a very modest amount of CSBG funding. CSBG funding costs the federal government approximately forty one dollars per year per low income Lynn area individual. Forty one dollars seems a reasonable price for these services," said Jack Mogielnicki, Executive Direct of LEO.

For LEO, CSBG money is the only gateway to emergency services, self-sufficiency case management, allowing access to utility, rent and fuel assistance payments, access to an emergency service network, eviction assistance, tenant landlord mediation and food stamp applications. The funds help families access child care and related services and also lets anti poverty agencies like LEO provide a comprehensive program approach to the growing number of people living in poverty.

Below is a copy of the bipartisan letter:

March 2, 2006

The Honorable Jim Nussle
Committee on the Budget
309 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Nussle,

As you work to finalize the Fiscal Year 2007 House Budget Resolution, we request that you preserve funding for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program. Despite being appropriated at $630.4 million in FY 2006, the President?s FY07 Budget eliminates CSBG funding.

The CSBG program is vital to the efforts of Community Action Agencies (CAAs) nationwide to help the growing population in poverty. The flexible funding from the CSBG program allows CAAs to provide many tailored services and initiatives that not only help low-income families and individuals become self-sufficient and economically independent, but also strengthen low-income communities.

The successes of the CSBG program include 2,011,940 new service opportunities created for low-income families like affordable and expanded public and private transportation, medical care, child care, community centers and youth programs; improved housing for 22,706 low-income families; increased annual income for 53,689 participants; education or job training for 109,127 participants; involvement in community advocacy for 133,431 low income individuals; and continued independent living for 783,005 low-income senior citizens and 28,260 disabled or medically-challenged individuals.

Accordingly, we strongly urge you to adequately fund the CSBG program. We understand the challenges Congress faces and appreciate the difficult task of developing a budget that meets our shared objectives of fiscal discipline. We would like to thank you in advance for your consideration of this request. If you have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Reps. John F. Tierney, Michael G. Fitzpatrick, Phil English, Chris Van Hollen, Charles Dent, Rob Simmons, Leonard Boswell, Jim McDermott, Darlene Hooley, Jay Inslee, Ellen Tauscher, Brian Higgins, Tammy Baldwin, Ben Chandler, Lloyd Doggett, Tom Petri, Sherwood Boehlert, Michael H. Michaud, Lane Evans , Curt Weldon, Betty McCollum, Ted Strickland, Adam Smith, Michael Doyle, William Delahunt , Carolyn McCarthy, James Leach, Todd Platts, Sandy Levin, Earl Blumenauer, John B. Larson, James L. Oberstar, Ike Skelton, Bart Stupak, Ruben Hinojosa, Collin Peterson, Ed Case, Bernie Sanders, John Lewis, Sherrod Brown, Dale E. Kildee, Rick Larsen, John Peterson, Randy Kuhl, Barney Frank, Bobby Scott, John Conyers, Jr., Eddie Bernice Johnson, William L. Jenkins, Juanita Millender-McDonald, Joe Schwarz, Bob Ney, Martin T. Meehan, Mike Ross, Stephen F. Lynch, Jerrold Nadler, Tom Osbourne, Peter DeFazio, Wm. Lacy Clay, Jim Davis, Rick Boucher, Al Green, Norm Dicks, Richard E. Neal, Christopher Shays, Michael Honda, Neil Abercrombie, Stephanie Herseth , Tim Holden, Maurice Hinchey, Mike Thompson , George Miller, John Olver , Bob Goodlatte, Bob Filner, James Langevin, Artur Davis, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, James P. McGovern, Charles F. Bass, Frank LoBiondo, Earl Pomeroy, Patrick Kennedy, Tom Allen , John Boozman, Raul Grijalva, Doris O. Matsui, Gwen Moore, Mike McIntyre, Michael Capuano, Jim Marshall, Emanuel Cleaver, Henry Waxman, Solomon Ortiz, Steve Israel, Russ Carnahan, John Barrow, John Dingell, Paul Kanjorski, Nancy Johnson, Susan Davis, Sam Farr, Virgil Goode, Ed Whitfield, David Wu, Jim Matheson, Bill Schuster, Dave Camp, Michael McNulty, David Price, Fred Upton, Hilda Solis, John Duncan, Edward Markey, Elijah Cummings, Robert Wexler, Diane DeGette, Tom Udall, Dennis Moore, Nick Rahall, Chris Cannon, Janice Schakowsky, Timothy H. Bishop, Don Sherwood, Melissa Hart, Luis Fortuno, Heather Wilson, Michael Turner, Dutch Ruppersberger, Anthony Weiner, Henry Cuellar, Jerry Costello, Harold Ford, John Shimkus, Anna Eshoo, Lynn Woolsey, Tim Murphy, Bob Etheridge, Shelley Berkley, Jim Gerlach, Ralph Hall.