New Census Data on Poverty Demonstrates the Critical Need for Community Action Programs

Sep 14, 2011, 16:02 ET from National Community Action Foundation

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The folly of the Administration's proposed budget cuts to Community Action Agencies' (CAAs) core funding is more evident than ever in light of the Poverty and Income statistics released by the US Census Bureau on September 13.  From 2009 to 2010, the poverty level increased from 14.3 percent to 15.1 percent and the share of children living in poverty was 22 percent.  These figures are the highest in 17 years.  Though not surprising given the nation's difficult job market, the data emphasize that more than ever we need support for the neediest among us.


Even more remarkable given these devastating statistics is the Administration's desire to cut the funding that supports CAAs in half, taking the ability to create solutions to poverty away from local communities.  When federal spending and the deficit is a top issue in Washington and other programs for low-income families will be slashed, continuing to fund Community Action agencies is essential.  CAAs receive federal funding through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) which allocates formula funding to states who then distribute the funds to local CAAs.  

National Community Action Foundation Executive Director David Bradley said, "At such a critical time for the nation's poor, it does not make sense to cut effective programs that directly serve the country's poorest individuals, particularly programs that have protected low-income individuals for so long and programs that local government relies on for innovative solutions.  The Administration's desire to potentially defund half of CAAs and place funding decisions in the hands of bureaucrats is not only irresponsible, but will devastate local communities throughout America at a time when they need help most."

By promoting self-sufficiency, not dependency, the nation's 1,060 Community Action Agencies manage more than $15 billion in public and private resources annually, serving millions of low-income people.  In 2010, they created nearly 20,000 jobs and provided support to struggling homeowners, recently unemployed workers and to more than 5.3 million children.  CAA leadership, whose board consists of local government, non-profit and private-sector local businesses as well as representatives of the low-income community, make the hard choices daily about how to allocate strained resources to meet the specific and most urgent local needs.

Contact:  Caitrin McCarron
(202) 842-2092

SOURCE National Community Action Foundation