Proposed cuts to grants draw concerns
MILFORD >> U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and city leaders joined forces to urge Congress to save the Community Development Block Grant Program from being chopped.
President Donald Trump is proposing to eliminate the CDBG program by cutting $3 billion in federal funding.
Those gathered at City Hall said the $3 billion is essential to services that touch people every day, including emergency home repair, mental health, kids’ programs, rape crisis and handicapped accessibility.
Trump’s budget proposal says that “the program is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results,” according to DeLauro.
But that’s not true, she said, and many organizations and individuals in Milford and other municipalities rely on the program for critical services.
Calling the cuts “deeply troubling,” DeLauro spoke alongside Mayor Benjamin G. Blake, state Rep. Kim Rose, D-118, leaders of nonprofits, and even a homeowner who received critical help through the program during tough times.
“In a negative way, this demonstrates the values of this administration,” DeLauro said.
The program serves millions of Americans, DeLauro said, and last year, Connecticut and its municipalities received $35 million in CDBG funding, and over the last 10 years, more than $385 million, she said.
Each year, Milford receives $400,000-$500,000 in CDBG funds, which goes to support nonprofits, update public facilities such as parks and recreation centers, and help residents make home improvements.
Blake said 33 percent of the city’s population is of low- to moderate-income and funds are essential for the kind of “social safety” that allows Milford to live up to its nickname as “The small city with the big heart.”
An official from Beth El Center, which serves the city’s homeless and hungry, said it’s an “understatement,” to say the CDBG funding is “vital to the work we do.” Last year, the soup kitchen served 26,000 meals, she said.
CDBG also helped with Beth El’s no-freeze shelter, remodeling and other endeavors.
Marcy Hotchkiss, director of fund development and communications for Bridges Healthcare, which serves the mental health needs of the community, said CDBG funding has provided safety and security upgrades, which is reassuring for the population Bridges serves.
DeLauro said people are already being asked to do more with less.
“This is a bad decision, I hope we can turn it around,” DeLauro said.