10 million More in Poverty, 50% less Support

Community Service Block Grants facing cuts in FY13 despite the highest increase of poverty since World War II.

Since “The Great Recession” in 2006, 10 million more Americans have become impoverished. A study by Indiana University, At Risk: America’s Poor During and After the Great Recession concluded that poverty will continue to rise because, despite the recession technically being over, it continues to impact budget cuts to public assistance, employment and preventative and supportive services fighting against poverty. All of these ramifications will surely force many more people into poverty.

In spite of these frightening facts and predictions, President Obama has once again proposed a 50 percent cut to Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) in his FY13 Preliminary Budget.

What is CSBG? CBSG supports a diverse array of community-based programs that work towards eliminating poverty, revitalize low-income communities and in turn aid individuals in attaining self-sufficiency. The grants target the eradication of poverty across the nation by supporting thousands of organizations across the country that work on the local, person to person level. Furthermore, CSBG is the ONLY federal initiative focused on services to fight poverty.

Last year, in our post entitled, Communities Face Crisis: The loss of CSBG funding, CSBG was undergoing the same threat. By cutting 50 percent of CSBG, funds would become administered on a competitive basis, “This will leave municipalities in the dark as to what they will be awarded and when they will receive it. This uncertainty leaves New York City with insufficient information to plan for the future of its social services. The consequences of these potential cuts, on the other hand, are easily foreseen.”

New York without CSBG

Without CSBG funding, each of New York’s Congressional District will lose thousands to millions of dollars in funding for critical social services, along with a high number of constituents and community based organizations. See down below how your district will be impacted.


An Example of One amongst Many
From this table we can summarize that CSBG of NY State faces the threat of losing 6,400 constituents, over $8.6 million and 41 community based organizations.

SoBRO is an organization located in the South Bronx that focuses on community ties and quality of life “by strengthening businesses and creating innovative economic, housing, educational, and career development programs for youth and adults.”

75 percent of SoBRO’s $12 million dollar annual budget is devoted to direct program services. Approximately two-thirds of SoBRO’s funding is derived from local, city, state, and federal government sources, including CSBG.

Jason Garcia, Program Manager at SoBRO states that the CSBG cuts directly impact our communities, kids, and parents. Garcia works with kids from PSMS3 middle school; the kids have come up with tagline, asking, ‘What politician is going to help us with our homework after school? Where will we go after school?’ The question speaks to the larger concern of who will be responsible for the ramifications if CSBG funding is cut and programs, such as after school programs, no longer have the funding to exist.

What Can You Do?

To add your voice, please send letters and make calls to your members of Congress. You can also make calls locally to your State elected officials and New York City Council Members. Learn more about CSBG from the National Community Action Foundation.

Join the cause with the groups Save CSBG by coming to regular meetings that take place all across NYC. Like Save CSBG NYC on Facebook and follow Save CSBG on Twitter. And don’t forget to spread the word!

Contributed by Elise Stukenberg of the Human Services Council.

Other Sources:

Chris McGreal, “Poverty in America likely to get worse, report finds” The Guardian. January 11, 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jan/11/poverty-america-likely-worse-report

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About Human Services Council

The Human Services Council strengthens New York's nonprofit human services sector, ensuring all New Yorkers across diverse neighborhoods, cultures, and generations reach their full potential.
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