CDBG Cuts Would Hobble Human Service Nonprofits

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March 1, 2011; Source: Glendale News-Press | President Obama's proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget would slice 7.5 percent from the Community Development Block Grant program. Conservative Republicans in Congress have called for chopping 62.5 percent from CDBG in the Fiscal Year 2011 continuing resolution, that is, this year's money.

There is little doubt that whatever gets cut from this year's or next year's CDBG dollars, the human service part of most municipalities' block grant programs will be a primary target.

Although largely housing and economic development oriented, CDBG includes provisions for making some funds available to human service nonprofits for social services that complement neighborhood redevelopment strategies and functions. In Glendale, Calif., 24 nonprofit and city-sponsored social service programs are competing for the existing human service share of that city's CDBG allocation. Their applications add up to a requested $1.1 million, though Glendale is only making $515,000 available.

In nearby Burbank, Calif., 15 nonprofits have asked for $630,000, though the human service budget will be only $200,000 total. If the FY11 cuts go through, or if President Obama's FY12 budget sinks under conservative Republican budget-cutting attacks, the Glendale and Burbank human service providers will be looking at big goose-eggs in their program budgets.—Rick Cohen