As part of President Trump’s proposals to eliminate all funding for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), services to millions of low-income people will be affected, including Knox County’s own KCEOC.
Paul D. Dole, President/CEO of KCEOC Community Action Partnership, stated, “Community Action Block Grant is the only locally controlled and flexible funding available to change people’s lives and allows people to help themselves.”
KCEOC Community Action Partnership is overseen by a governing board that represents public and private stakeholders and low-income community residents. Each year KCEOC helps over 6,000 low-income individuals and families in our service region in Southeastern KY. Their mission is fighting poverty and promoting self-sufficiency at the community level. They respond to short-term crises that can topple a working family into poverty, and address chronic conditions that can trap multiple generations in dependency.
KCEOC uses their CSBG grant to develop extensive community partnerships, identify pressing local needs, and mobilize public and private resources to meet those needs. Some of the KCEOC programs supported by the CSBG grant are the Emergency Support Center (homeless shelter), Homeownership Programs, Homeowner Rehabilitation, Emergency Services, Employment Assistance and Training, Employment Youth Services, Economic Development and Housing Counseling.
Ann Blakely, a participant in KCEOC’s Homeownership Program, said, “This program has changed my life forever. With my age and health it is harder to get around. Now my house is handicap accessible, so I don’t worry about the future, and I can stay warm and cool. I now have a home with a floor and running water. I can now lay my head to rest at night knowing I am safe and have a stable roof over my head.” Without the CSBG grant KCEOC would not be able to give a new start to Ann, and so many others, who have had their life changed through these programs. Without the CSBG grant KCEOC will no longer have the means to operate and offer these critical programs to the community.
David Bradley, CEO of National Community Action Foundation, which represents Community Action Agencies said “Cutting CSBG, flexible local dollars that create opportunity for 16 million people across the country, a program with bipartisan support in Congress, abandons every community in America and burdens local communities. Congress, Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate, will not accept this cut.”