Community Action Agency funding in danger due to proposed cuts

By Crystal Price - bio | email

DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) -  Community action services in southwest Louisiana could be shutting down as a result of proposed cuts for the Community Service Block Grant program.

The Beauregard Community Action Association (BCAA) in Deridder is one agency in southwest Louisiana that would be affected by the proposed cuts.

"We've been told that we would probably face cuts of up to 50%," said Winkie Branch, the Executive Director for the BCAA.

Branch said the facility would be forced to shut down without the Community Services Block Grant's leverage.

"The Community Services Block Grant is the glue that holds our agency together," said Branch. "This seems to be the most dire challenge we've faced."

The BCAA provides assistance for citizens in the community who are 125% below the poverty level. The agency provides local programs which the Christmas Angel Tree, Food for Seniors, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and Medicaid enrollment.

The Community Action Agency in Beauregard Parish assisted 6,051 residents last year. BCAA clients would have no where else to go for help if the agency were to close.

"If this closes we'll be in bad, bad shape," said Robert Moore, a BCAA client from Deridder.

Moore has been receiving help from the program for 15 years now. The BCAA client said he cannot comprehend the idea of the program going away.

"They help us with groceries and other stuff," said Moore. "If it shuts down a lot of us are going to be in a bind because most of my neighborhood is senior citizens."

BCAA is urging all clients of their agency to write a letter to Congress about the issue. The letters can be dropped off at the BCAA's office in Deridder.

More than 1,100 agencies throughout the country will be affected by these cuts if the proposal passes. Other agencies in southwest Louisiana that will be affect include the programs in Calcasieu, Allen, and Cameron parishes.

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