Local Community Service Providers Warn About Impacts of Federal Budget Cuts
With the deadline approaching for the enactment of across the board federal spending cuts known as sequestration, local human service agency representatives and Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin held a press conference yesterday to put a real face on the proposed reductions.
Among the agencies represented at the meeting was the Cortland YWCA, CAPCO, the local faith community, and the City of Cortland.
Under the federal budget deficit reduction plan, New York State stands to lose millions of dollars that help fund programs like Head Start, special education, child care assistance, H-I-V testing, childhood vaccinations, breast and cervical cancer screening, family violence and prevention services, nutrition programs for women infants and children, as well as senior nutrient programs like meals on wheels.
Local leaders pointed out that these programs support some of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community children and the elderly.
Lindy Glennon Executive Director of CAPCO says if the federal cuts go forward as expected 12 to 15 children will be cut from the local Head Start program, at the same time there is waiting list of income qualified people waiting to get there children into the program which provides low income parents with childcare so they can hold down a job.
Glennon went on to say that right now there are 2400 families’ receiving W-I-C assistance in the county which milk, cheese, and other wholesome foods to mothers and children. With these cuts some of those people will be dropped from the program.
Another service under fire from these cuts will be the home weatherization program which helps low income people often the elderly make energy and life safety improvements to their homes potentially keeping them out of costly nursing homes.
The Home Energy Assistance Program which helps low income people pay their heating bills also faces a substantial reduction; the program is already underfunded based on the number of people seeking help.
Reverend Dr. Janet Adair Hansen is concerned with cuts to senior nutrition programs more seniors may wind up eating pet food because they do not have the funds to pay for groceries.
City Mayor Brian Tobin says the city has been the recipient of federal grants to help purchase new fire trucks and other life saving equipment, these cuts place that assistance in jeopardy and could further burden city taxpayers.
The YWCA’s Aid to Victims of Violence program which helps victims of domestic violence, many of them women escape from their abuser is also targeted for cuts.
The President and Congressional leaders are expected to meet ahead of Fridays sequestration deadline but leaders have said they are no confident that a compromise can be reached to avoid the cuts.