Cutting Community Development Block Grants would further impact jobs and programs that provide services in: health, education and youth services to the underserved. These people are low- to moderate-income and usually can’t afford day to day services that most of us take for granted.
Tutoring service for example, is vital to children who are having difficulty in school who can’t keep up with the other students. When this happens, students will more than likely dropout rather than deal with the embarrassment of not being able to keep up with their peers. Programs funded through Community Block Grants works to prevent increased dropout rates by providing tutoring services and other educational enhancement programs.
We as concerned citizens must voice our concern to our congressmen and governor to stop the expected 63 percent cut of funding for community block grants. Such a reduction would abolish CDBG in Albany, and many other communities. CDBG funds assist the private sector by providing matching dollars to provide many social services. Some of these community services are actually located within neighborhoods populated by elderly and low-income citizens, thereby addressing the need of services being accessible to citizens.
A June 2010 Poverty Report indicates 35 percent of Albany’s African American citizens live under poverty while white Albanians represent approximately 5 percent. CDBG funding represents a crucial component in the city’s ability to provide services to this segment of the population. Therefore, it is important that our congressional representatives and the governor strongly object to the House majority’s proposal, which would almost eliminate the 20 or more programs in Albany currently funded by community block grant funds.
(Modeste chairs the City of Albany’s Community Development Block Grant Council.)