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Tri-County Community Action at risk of cuts to federal grant

Tri-County Community Action announces that it is at risk of cuts to its Community Services Block Grant following President Barack Obama’s proposed budget released last week.

CSBG is a federal funding stream that provides to the local agency with funding for an array of services, “helping low income families to get on their feet, into affordable housing and jobs, enrolled in career development and education programs, building a future as active, tax-paying citizens and responsible parents,” according to a release from Tri-County Community Action.

“CSBG creates opportunities for all members of our community,” Bob Notestine, Tri-County Community Action board chair, said in the release.

“With CSBG funding, the CAC is a local economic driver for our community by providing 70 local individuals with employment, which often returns with community members spending locally and having a positive effect on community growth and revitalization.

“CSBG helps people find jobs, get educated and become financially secure. CSBG leads to additional income streams that fund our community. Tri-County CAC leverages those dollars and uses them to bring about the changes Champaign, Logan and Shelby Counties need locally.”

According to Mr. Notestine, these initiatives have reinvested more than $23.9 million into the community within the past five years.

With CSBG funding reductions, the agency may not be able to keep its local programs at their current production levels. This may cause reductions in the agency’s past ability to actively respond to disasters, layoffs, community crises and community revitalization projects.

Tri-County Community Action served more than 18,000 people during 2009, according to the release.

With current CSBG funds, Logan County residents benefit from agency programs such as Home Energy Assistance Program for utility and disconnection assistance; low-fare transportation with the Transportation for Logan County program; Home Weatherization Assistance Program to make their homes more energy efficient; Home Repair Assistance to make their homes more safe and accessible; Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program to prevent homelessness.

Also through grant assistance, senior nutrition for Meals on Wheels and local congregate sites served roughly 82,000 meals in 2010. Other programs include financial literacy education, Ohio Benefit Bank tax counseling, and community revitalization opportunities, such as a HUD Section 202 Project that would provide an 11-unit housing community for independent senior citizens.

“For a relatively small federal outlay, CSBG-funded programs pay off many times over as they get people working and paying taxes, prevent expensive emergency shelter placements and keep low-income community residents off the unemployment and welfare rolls, at huge savings to taxpayers,” Mr. Notestine said.

Area residents are urged to contact Rep. Jim Jordan, U.S. Congressman of the 4th District, to ask him to preserve CSBG funding. His Washington address is:1524 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515, phone: (202) 225-2676, fax: (202) 226-0577; or local district office, 3121 W. Elm. Plaza, Lima, OH, 45805, phone (419) 999-6455, or fax: (419) 999-4238.

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