Nineteen organizations that serve Missourians in poverty are getting set to deal the disappearance of half of their money. Community Action Agencies are involved in such thing as energy assistance, back to school fairs, tax help, utility assistance and other services. They served 350-thousand Missourians last year. State offices that funnel the federal grants to the agencies have told the agencies to be ready for 50 percent cuts in federal funding.
Executive Director Elaine West heads the Missouri Association for Community Action, which represents the 19 area agencies. She says President Obama started the cuts rolling when he mentioned in his State of the Union speech that cuts in community action funding would have to be made…
But she says cutting the budget doesn’t cut the need. “We have 926,000 people that are labeled as living in poverty,” she says, “They may identify many needs but they’re going to have less funding to address them.”
The 50% cuts will go into effect on October first, the start of the new federal fiscal year. But West says things might get worse. She calls the discussions of the special congressional budget cutting committee “very scary.”