In today’s newspaper, The Bronx Free Press, there was an interesting article about protest being organized in the South Bronx in response to recent cuts to anti-poverty programs in the community. The article highlights the recent displacement of funds by the Obama Administration to various community programs that help sustain local collaboratives that provide needed services to it’s members. The cuts are estimated to save the federal government $350 Million. These collaboratives are sustained by the Community Service Block Grants (CSBG), which are provided by the federal government that help promote financial stability within the South Bronx community.Now, these funds are being dramatically reduce and in response the South Bronx community have come together to protest these cuts that will cause many of its community-organizations to close or stop providing services because of the lack of funding.
The community-based organization SoBRO (The South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation), that provides after-school programs for youth and education development for adults are forced to tell their participants that after June 30th – they will no longer be able to offer those services to the community because of the funding.
This is often the fate of many community-based organizations that are small in stature and are often housed by very minimal number of employees, but serve a large portion of the community. Funding becomes critical in deciding whether these organizations continue to operate or whether they are to limit the amount of services. These community-based programs are influential and create bridges between those who lack in fundamental education and self-development. The majority of the time these centers and programs service the poor, illiterate, the young, the old, and the less informed. When you strip a community of needed resources, you strip the community of future success.
The Obama Administration needs not cut funding to needed services that are provided in the most vulnerable of populations. And this is up to us, to react to policy changes that directly affect the well-being of our communities. Without active community involvement and participation, as members, we have no voice, no say, no action. We need to promote our communities capacities and allow our members to participate in policy making that will provide needed services for them at no expense to community and to federal government.