North Country congresswoman pushing for $750 million in funding for block grants
Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 6:36 am

North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a Republican, says she led a group of colleagues pressing for funding "no less than $750 million" for Community Services Block Grants to localities like St. Lawrence County.

St. Lawrence County Community Development Program, Inc. Executive Director Felicia Dumas was quoted in a press release from Stefanik's office explaining the value of the county's share of CDBG funding to the people of the county.

"The continuation and increase of the Community Services Block Grant funding is integral to our North Country communities. At St. Lawrence County Community Development Program (CDP) we utilize that funding to support neighborhood centers in Massena, Ogdensburg, Gouverneur, Canton, Potsdam, South Colton, Parishville, and Pierrepont. These centers assist members of their communities and surrounding towns with food, emergency assistance, and family development," Dumas said.

"Our Center Directors work on goal setting with participants, often to include employment or educational goals. They provide job training to volunteers and community members who work at the centers. Our Neighborhood Centers also partner with other agencies to provide budgeting and nutrition workshops. In Ogdensburg, the Center Director has partnered with American Red Cross to install smoke alarms for community members. Our Neighborhood Centers would not be able to provide these necessary services without CSBG funding and the support of our local communities," said Dumas.

Stefanik led 15 fellow Republican House members in writing to Tom Cole, chairman of the Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Labor, health and Human Services, and Education "to urge the subcommittee to fund the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) no less than $750 million," an increase, to help "low-income communities address their unique problems, whether it is bringing transportation to these low-income communities or providing critical post-treatment services to individuals, families and communities impacted by the opioid crisis. Communities all across America rely on their CSBG-funded Community Action Agency to help provide opportunities for those most in need."

A letter circulated in March and signed by more than 100 Democrat and Republican House members recommended to the House Labor-HHS Appropriations subcommittee that CSBG funding not be cut in the next appropriation.