Battle Trump on CDBG grants

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There's a lot of bluster in Trump world, and among movement conservatives generally, about the failings of the federal government. Inefficient, corrupt, disconnected, etc. That's the basis for the persistent calls to shift federal monies and programs from D.C. out to the states, those great laboratories of innovation.

So explain then how the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) is reportedly on the budget bubble as Trump looks to disembowel all domestic programs to feed the beast of greater military spending. CDBG, which dates all the way back to Gerald Ford and has always garnered bi-partisan support, actually spreads funding beyond state capitals all the way out to individual communities.

Like Oak Park. 

As President Trump prepares to unleash his budget this week, the Washington Post and other outlets report that the Department of Housing and Urban Development faces up to $6 billion in budget cuts. Of that, half could come from ending the CBDG grant program. 

What does that mean to a town like Oak Park if CBDG and its like-minded Emergency Solutions Grant program fall victim to Trump whisperer Steve Bannon's expressed plan for the "deconstruction of the administrative state"?

It means direct and immediate pain for a host of local social service agencies which serve low and moderate income households — the target of all CDBG grants. The roughly $1.65 million designated for Oak Park in the current year would be lost if these programs are axed.

That would drain four buckets of local funding. The village government itself retains a notable portion of CDBG funds for administration of its housing programs which support diversity and also to fund street level capital projects such as alley repairs. A portion of the overall grant is doled out by a hard-working volunteer commission to a raft of nonprofits such as the YMCA's single room occupancy program, the dental program at The Children's Clinic and the drop-in center run by NAMI.

Hit enormously hard would be Housing Forward, the remarkable entity focused on keeping the homeless, and those on the cusp of homelessness, in some form of housing. The agency receives CDBG monies totaling some $300,000 from three sources — Oak Park, Berwyn and Cook County. Lynda Schueler, executive director, said those funds provide care for nearly 1,000 at-risk clients.

Also walloped would be the Oak Park Regional Housing Center, the village's fair housing champion, which would lose $190,000 or 15 percent of its annual budget. 

So much for Trump's promise of shifting resources to the local level, for his promise of support for the "forgotten American."

Remember that these programs remain enormously popular with most members of Congress who benefit from seeing federal dollars flow back to their states and districts. That makes this the moment to amp up the pressure not to step back in resignation.

Reader Comments

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Bill Dwyer  

Posted: March 20th, 2017 6:16 PM

That's right, Ray, you go right on blaming people who have no use for a president who reflexively lies and screws up near everything he's touched his first 60 days, with being "seditionists and anarchists." Don't risk hurting yourself actually thinking it through. Drumpf will be impeachedl, whether you like it or not, because the Republicans are getting more and more concerned about all the damage he's doing to our government and our country, but most importantly, to them, they're not going to let him drag them down in the mid-terms. .

Ray Simpson  

Posted: March 20th, 2017 2:28 PM

@ Dwyer - So put up or shut up about what you suspect congress will react to. You have made this assertion several times with no evidence.I am pleased to see that you know that nothing can happen to put Hillary into the White House - you should let others in Oak Park in on the secret. Being a useful idiot only means you are carrying the water for seditionists and anarchists.

Eric Reeb  

Posted: March 20th, 2017 1:38 PM

@Barbara Joan: Are you accusing Housing Forward and the Oak Park Regional Housing center of corruption? Be specific with your allegations.

Barbara Joan  

Posted: March 20th, 2017 12:53 PM

Impeachment for what? Oprressives on the lunatic fringe are dangerous to the well being of Americans and threatens our basic civil rightss

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: March 20th, 2017 11:46 AM

Oh, Ray. Yo have WOUNDED me. Not only am I an idiot in your opinion, I've also "pa rotted" something? Say it ain't so. The impeachment is coming, sport. And it will be a Republican controlled House that impeaches Drumpf and a Republican Senate that convicts him and makes Mike Pence the next president.

Barbara Joan  

Posted: March 20th, 2017 9:56 AM

Most of these "programs" have been very poorly managed and a lot of money has been wasted with little to show for it."Non-Profits" like PBS & NPR act like a charity while paying Administrators and Personalities $Millions and taking big money from corporations to promote their views & products. Organizations like the Red Cross, American Cancer Society and countless others are very corrupt.Time for this big rip off to end!_

Ray Simpson  

Posted: March 20th, 2017 9:44 AM

@ James Hall - according to the book " Who cares, who really cares" Conservative Republicans donate 20% more than liberal Democrats. There is no constitutional mandate for federal funds to go to charitable causes.

James Hall  

Posted: March 20th, 2017 9:14 AM

If a person feels that these causes are worthy, they can donate their own money to them. Don't force us all to buy into these charities.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: March 20th, 2017 7:24 AM

@ Dwyer - just remember that you were the useful idiot who pa rotted the BuzzFeed Steel dossier, claiming it would lead to impeachment. Now even the Obama head of the CIA & NSA say there is no there there! You pointed a gnarled old finger at President Trump and failed to notice that three of those crooked digits were pointing back in your direction.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: March 19th, 2017 3:46 PM

Yeah, blame the Feds - and the all purpose convenient Trumping bag - for the disparate "impact on low and moderate income households." But at the same time its perfectly alright for D97 - our local school district - to raise taxes so enormously and outrageously high as to ensure that we won't have any low or moderate households in the future of this town.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: March 19th, 2017 11:55 AM

"IDIOCRACY." What a great term for the Drumpf administration. Thanks, Ray!

Ray Simpson  

Posted: March 19th, 2017 8:03 AM

Not one word about Oak Park telling the feds to stuff laws controlling illegal immigrants who are supposed to be deported. Sanctuary city is a feel good ordinance that has no rational reason for existence yet has these real life consequences. "I choose not to follow your laws but give me the money anyway" that looks like a line right out of the movie "IDIOCRACY" 3 cheers for Oak Park - we look foolish again!

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