Federal and State Cuts Threaten Community Action Programs

Minnesota’s Community Action Programs (CAPs) provide important housing-related services such as energy assistance and weatherization to low-income families, among many other services, but both state and federal funding cuts threaten the vital services that these agencies provide.

In 2010, Minnesota community action agencies served more than 616,000 people and nearly 222,000 poor or low-income families. Nearly 110,000 Minnesotans received housing related services through CAPs.

 

State Woes
Before the new budget forecast reduced the state’s budget deficit from $6 billion to $5 billion last week, Community Action Agencies had been slated for complete elimination of state funding in Dayton’s proposed budget. Fortunately, with the revised budget, Dayton reinstated the $7.8 million for the biennium in his proposal for the CAPs. This positive development notwithstanding, Republican proposals are likely to target the CAPs for state funding cuts.

 

Federal Woes
In February, the Obama Administration requested that funding for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), which funds Community Action, be cut in half compared to the FY 2010 level for regular funding. This $350 million federal reduction would result in a loss of $3.5 million to Minnesota. Meanwhile, House Republicans are also targeting the Community Services Block Grant for deep cuts.

  

What does this all mean for Minnesota?

The statewide network of 39 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) provide job training, energy assistance, weatherization, food shelves, Head Start, child care, emergency assistance and crisis nursery services to promote economic self-sufficiency to low-income families and individuals. 

  • In 2010, Minnesota community action agencies served more than 616,000 people and nearly 222,000 poor or low-income families.
  • Community Action Agencies provide a range of housing-related services addressing needs from homelessness to home ownership including:  emergency homelessness assistance, transitional housing services, rental housing assistance, weatherization and audits, conservation services, energy related repairs, housing purchase grants and loans, home repair and rehabilitation services, administration of Small Cities Development Grants, Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM), affordable housing development, and homeownership education. 
  • In 2010, 107,437 Minnesotans received housing related services.
  • Without this funding thousands of low income households would not receive services and a complex array of local collaborations would be significantly disrupted–especially in Greater Minnesota.

What can you do? 

Please contact your federal and state representatives to encourage strong support of Community Action funding through the federal Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) or state Community Action Program grant.

Contact the Minnesota Community Action Partnership to find out more about what CAPs do in Minnesota or to locate the CAP agency that serves your area.