Agency Warns of Trump’s Cuts to Local Fuel, Food, Pre-School

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Community Action Executive Director John Cuneo.

Fuel assistance for local households; school head start; food for Women’s, Infants and Children; emergency shelters; a homeless drop-in center; and other services are at risk if President Donald Trump’s budget is approved by Congress.

That is the warning from Haverhill’s Community Action agency, founded in 1965 as part of then-President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “war on poverty.”

“I am dismayed by the president’s budget and comments. If the line items in his budget that directly affect (Community Action’s) programs pass as written, it will have a detrimental impact on the residents we serve,” said Executive Director John Cuneo in a statement. “There are millions of Americans who are suffering. Cutting their lifeline at this time makes no sense and may prove to be inhumane as well,” he added.

Last year, the agency received about $3.2 million to pay for heating assistance. Cuneo said the program served more than 4,300 families in Greater Haverhill, Amesbury and Newburyport, including nearly 1,600 elderly households and 629 households with children under age 5. Heating assistance staff also responded to 102 emergency no heat calls. Cuneo said eliminating fuel assistance will have “a devastating impact on our local disadvantaged families. Some may have to choose to either pay for heat or food.”

In 2016, Community Action also received $310,000 in federal Community Services Block Grants, which are now at risk. The money was used to leverage $12 million in federal, state, local and private funds for services to 10,000 residents in Haverhill and 14 other communities. The majority of these grants pay for emergency basic services including shelter, food and clothing. Federal cuts would mean laying off all of the agency’s Community Service staff, who provide rental assistance for those who are homeless or facing homelessness, a food pantry, a clothing bank, tenant landlord mediations, basic transportation and more.

Cuts also would remove part of the salary of the director of the Homeless Drop In Center. The center offers day shelter services for more than 90 homeless individuals each weekday, including a hot breakfast, box lunches, on-site medical services, housing/shelter assistance, clothing and case management.

“We shouldn’t be balancing the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable residents.”

Authors

13 Comments

  1. Cee said:

    Some facts.

    If The First Lady and Barron Trump were to move to the White house, rather than live 200 miles away in New York at Trump Tower, it would save U.S. taxpayers $182,500.000.00 a year. That’s a lot of potential money to help our poor and elderly and young and ill U.S citizens. If they don’t relocate for the full four years, U.S taxpayers will foot the bill for approximately $526 million. This is in addition to the regular protection at the White House. Another huge expense for we taxpayers? Trump’s nearly every weekend jaunts to his resort, Mar – A – Lago; because it’s semi-public space it’s extremely difficult and expensive to protect. It costs $3 million each time Trump visits. He’s visited 7 times so far. To put this figure in perspective, Trump wants to cut funding to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. It costs $4 million a year. In other words, we as a nation could take care of our some of our most vulnerable citizens if Trump could bear to stay in Washington on some more weekends and miss his golf and pay-to-play meet and greets. Never before have the American people paid soooo much money to enable a president’s lavish lifestyle. How is this okay with you?

    • Jack Haverhill said:

      Cat…. why no outrage about the $1.9BILLION that the State of Massachusetts pays out in welfare EVERY year to support criminal trespassers in this country illegally living in Massachusetts? And that is JUST what Massachusetts taxpayers pay.
      Massachusetts taxpayers are spending $5.2MILLION EVERY day to support these criminals.
      My guess is that’s completely okay with you, right?

      • cee said:

        Unbiased sources reveal that illegal immigrant use of welfare is very low. Which makes sense. If you’re here illegally, why would you get yourself on the government’s radar? I’m wondering if your figures come from a widely discredited chain email letter?

        Secondly, you don’t answer my question, but deflect to another issue.

        • Captain Napalm said:

          Cee, not only did you hit the nail on the head (Jack using discredited figures) but bear in mind that he gives the impression that he believes every Latino is a “criminal invader”.

          And you are correct: every last statistic shows that illegal immigrants are more likely to NOT use any social services for fear of being reported (this kind of puts paid to the old “illegal immigrants voting” lie).

  2. Jim said:

    Oh yes worship the Pretender to the Throne at all costs. How many people actually read articles on WHAV? Maybe 10 people per day. You would think people in Haverhill would be tired of living in the 19th century. Play those oldies that no one wants to hear and publish an online news source that can’t even be bothered to cover the news. Aren’t you tired of seeing pictures of the police station every time there is an arrest. And yes Jack, Jack in Haverhill, Dannyboy and Duncan. Just big fish in a small pond of detritus formulated by the Pretender to the Throne and Paul Ryan in Drag as Ayn Rand.

      • Captain Napalm said:

        Yet you come across as a mix of LaRouche, Goldwater and that weird neighbor down the street with the guns in the basement and the paranoia. Go figure!

    • Cee said:

      Jim,

      Not sure why you are conflating WHAV with any particular political viewpoint. The comments section is an open forum. Just FYI, WHAV is devoted to unbiased local reporting of stories that focus on Haverhill and surrounding towns. Both the FM station and the news website do an excellent job of original coverage of Greater Merrimack Valley news. Probably why WHAV.net alone grabs 7.2 million page views a month.

    • Captain Napalm said:

      Jack. Jack in Haverhill, Dunky and Dannyboy are just human echoes. If the orange-faced menace in the White House started implying that illegal immigrants from Canada were the real problem we were facing all of them would start spewing anti-Canadian posts. It’s the motivations behind their behavior here that I find intriguing, certainly not the actual garbage they spew; why would they behave as they do on here, and why dedicate so much time to it? No offense to Mr Coco but the comments section on WHAV isn’t exactly a nationally known and widely visited chunk of the Internet where millions of people would read their ramblings on a daily basis.

      So what’s the real motive here?

  3. Dannyboy said:

    Tell them to close their doors and windows when it’s cold.
    Wouldn’t hurt to turn down the heat either.
    But again when your not paying for it who cares!?!?
    Before the bleeding hearts start jumping on my back I only ask that they sit back and think about it.
    And yes I know it’s not everybody that abuses the system.

  4. Jack Haverhill said:

    John Cuneo said in a statement. “There are millions of Americans who are suffering.”

    Yet, the State of Massachusetts spends $1.9BILLION…yes BILLION…a year in social welfare programs and assistance to support criminal trespassers from other countries in this state illegally. Americans are suffering John…you’re right….and we now have a president who is looking out for their interests.

  5. jack said:

    Once again, more propaganda being screamed before anything has been decided. Currently, our country is almost $20 TRILLION IN DEBT. And our economy is growing at an inept 1.5%, the worst decade of growth in almost 100 years. What does Mr Cuneo propose we do ? He should be screaming at his friends on Beacon Hill for their recent pay raises they voted for themselves. Where is his outrage at that I wonder ?? Wouldn’t that money be better spent on the elderly and the children ?

    • Duncan Burns said:

      It’s false outrage because it doesn’t match their ideology and political bias.

      If Mr. Cuneo wants to be fully funded, and then some, instead of blaming The Trump Administration, he should blame the pols on Beacon Hill who support Invaders. Cut those monies off to Invaders, and there won’t be any cuts to his (and others) programs, programs meant for Americans.

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