In America, we define basic needs programs as those that enable low-income people to receive help with the necessities of food, health care, housing/utilities and education and support for work. In Howard County, several of these programs are administered by the Community Action Council.
Many budgetary threats have been made to these programs in the past and unfortunately continue today.
When you work directly in administering programs that help feed and shelter families, and when you are the organization that helps families keep their heat during the bitter cold months of winter, then the threats are no longer a matter of percentages or statistics. They are not about the faceless people, they are not just deficit-cutting formulas - they are much more serious. They are about the people, the children, the elderly, the veterans, and the disabled friends and neighbors who live in Columbia, Ellicott City, Laurel, Elkridge, and many other places in our community. They are about our parents, grandparents, children and other family members.
The federal government's proposed FY 2019 budget would slash programs, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, by $1.66 trillion over a decade. Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, which provide aid to low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities, would be cut by $72 billion. From cutting housing assistance, Medicaid, SNAP/food stamps and college work-study to completely eliminating programs like home heating and cooling assistance for low-income people and food packages for low-income seniors, the President's FY19 budget would leave millions of Americans without the assistance they need. At least 35,000 of those Americans live right here in Howard County and come to CAC for assistance. What would happen without these programs and services?
While the President's budget as a whole does not move through Congress or become law, it is a statement of priorities.
I have no doubt that if we were each asked to list the priorities in our lives, we would have our families as one of our top priorities. As servants of our community, CAC understands the importance of continuing to support the most basic needs of our vulnerable residents.
We hope and respectfully request that you partner with us and support us to serve our community as we collectively prepare for a challenging budgetary year ahead.