A Letter: NASCSP Urges President to Emphasize Low-Income Policies in Jobs Bill
Dear Mr. President: When you make your policy recommendations to Congress next month, we strongly urge you to put forward those policies that will have the greatest impact on low-income communities. We represent state administrators of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). The mission of NASCSP is to empower low income families to attain self-sufficiency in its broadest context, and our network successfully combines Federal, State and local investment and involvement to deliver measurable results for low-income Americans in distressed communities across the nation. We believe the following measures, if enacted this fall, will mitigate the effects of the recession on low-income communities:
- Appropriate $3 billion to put Americans back to work rebuilding our infrastructure and creating a modern, energy-saving electric grid. NASCSP members have the network already in place to train low-income Americans with the skills necessary to move into these new jobs quickly.
- Appropriate at least $800 million to expand the Community Services Block Grant, our national anti-poverty strategy. CSBG, a state administered block grant, provides the foundation for 1,060 local agencies, primarily Community Action Agencies (CAAs), in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In the last year, the CSBG helped more than 20 million Americans achieve economic security. It is the only federal program exclusively focused on reducing poverty and its program design empowers the States to address effectively the root causes of poverty on a local level.
- Appropriate at least $750 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program. WAP is the nation?s largest residential energy efficiency program. It reduces the energy costs of low-income families?particularly targeting the elderly, the disabled, and families with children?by an average of 35%, while creating good jobs, investing in local businesses, and advancing technology. The WAP network is fully operational after expanding greatly under ARRA. Moreover, WAP is an ARRA success story: the program is on track to surpass your production target of 650,000 weatherized homes and has created more than 14,450 jobs this spring, more than all but seven other ARRA programs. WAP largely created jobs in areas with the highest unemployment?places that will be unable to sustain efficiency efforts without continued federal support. </spanwap is the nation?s largest residential energy efficiency program. it reduces the energy costs of low-income families?particularly targeting the elderly, the disabled, and families with children?by an average of 35%, while creating good jobs, investing in local businesses, and advancing technology. the wap network is fully operational after expanding greatly under arra. moreover, wap is an arra success story: the program is on track to surpass your production target of 650,000 weatherized homes and has created more than 14,450 jobs this spring, more than all but seven other arra programs. wap largely created jobs in areas with the highest unemployment?places that will be unable to sustain efficiency efforts without continued federal support. >
- Appropriate $2 billion for a national initiative to train unemployed individuals in the construction trades and clean energy technology, and to facilitate the purchase of foreclosed homes. The twin objectives of these linked initiatives are to provide jobs rehabilitating homes to make them more energy efficient and healthy and to provide affordable rental housing for low-income Americans who cannot afford the dream of home ownership. The program can be implemented as a public-private partnership with Community Action Agencies, which are experienced in property management, training, and housing rehabilitation.
- Appropriate Low-Income Home Energy Assistance funding at the FY 2010 level of $5.1 billion. LIHEAP assists low-income households, targeting those that pay a disproportionately high percentage of their income on home energy, using money that would be better spent on food, shelter, and medicine. We are concerned about your recent comment that the States have not been able to spend their full LIHEAP allocation. This is simply not true. They have used the remaining FY 2011 funds to pay for emergency reconnection and cooling this summer for households that cannot afford to pay their utility bills. They expect to serve a record number of households this year, nearly nine million. We believe that demand for service will not decrease during the 2011-2012 heating season and that the need remains great.
We recognize the urgency of controlling federal spending and reducing the national deficit. But we also believe that deficit reduction should not be accomplished disproportionately at the expense of our nation?s neediest citizens who have already borne the brunt of the economic downturn. The fact that more than one in seven Americans now live in poverty underscores the urgency of implementing the policies set forth in this letter to create opportunity for all Americans to achieve economic security. We respectfully urge you to include these policies in your economic package that will be submitted to Congress next month. Very truly yours, Timothy Warfield Executive Director, NASCSP
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