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Proposed Fed Cuts: MA Community Action Agencies on Chopping Block

March 14, 2011

BOSTON - As Congress debates budget proposals, including $66 billion in cuts to non-discretionary spending, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center is looking at how residents in the Bay State could be affected. One of several items it has found on the chopping block is the Community Service Block Grant, which provides funds to hundreds of community action agencies around the country, including 24 in Massachusetts.

Joe Diamond, executive director of the Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP), the statewide association of community action agencies, says that is an important item.

"Community Services Block Grant is a very flexible resource that community action agencies rely on so that they can provide effective, innovative services that address local needs."


Diamond says community action agencies use a variety of funding sources, including federal, state and private funds. Without the grant money, he says many of their anti-poverty efforts - even such programs as free tax filing assistance - will be compromised.

"Most agencies, if they were to lose Community Services Block Grant, would have to curtail or stop their Earned Income Tax Program Credit Program. That program, through community action agencies, brings in about $22 million to about 15,000 individuals and families across Massachusetts."

Diamond says the grant is critical to such programs as job training, adult education, and foreclosure assistance. If the federal budget cuts are approved, funding for the Community Services Block Grant would be eliminated for the remainder of this fiscal year (FY2011).

Facts At A Glance: Impact of Proposed Federal Budget Cuts on Massachusetts' Residents is online at
www.massbudget.org


Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA