UCHRA: Programs would be cut under federal budget proposal

COOKEVILLE – Officials with the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) say they will have to eliminate up to four programs – that served nearly 15,000 people last year – under the Trump administration’s recently proposed federal budget.

The agency compiled the list of cuts after receiving “a lot of local questions” since the budget was announced in March. UCHRA says four programs are currently scheduled for elimination, including:

  • LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program), which served 14,454 people in the region in 2016. LIHEAP helps the elderly and low-income people pay their heating and power bills;
  • SCSEP (Senior Community Service Employment Program), which served 82 local people. SCSEP is a job-training program for low-income people 55 and older. The White House says it is “ineffective;”
  • SSBG (Social Services Block Grant), which aided 144; and
  • Weatherization, which helped 49 homeowners make their homes more energy efficient with grants

The proposal also eliminates CSBG (Community Service Block Grant), an anti-poverty program, which contributes significant funding to commodities, Meals on Wheels of the Cumberlands, and the STAR program, which works to lessen dependence on public assistance. Those programs touched 18,638 people last year.

The White House says CSBG duplicates emergency food assistance and employment programs.

Some other programs scheduled for cuts include:

  • Residential Educational Programs. Local funding will have to replace 25 percent of the federal funding it currently receives, and
  • WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act), with a reduction of 21 percent or 201 people.

Potentially, Head Start may be cut, too; it is not confirmed, but Health and Human Services is scheduled for cuts (for UCHRA, that means a reduction of 18 percent, so possibly nine children affect).

“UCHRA has worked through nine Presidential administrations since it was first established in 1973,” officials wrote in a release. It is encouraging supporters to contact their respective representatives.

Sen. Lamar Alexander: (202) 224-4944

Sen. Bob Corker: (202) 224-3344

Congressman Diane Black: (202) 225-4231

Congressman Scott DesJarlais: (202) 225-6831

Trump’s budget says hundreds of programs and agencies would be eliminated.