VENICE (CBSLA.com) — At 57, Diane Burnett is disabled and says she depends Meals on Wheels not just for food, but for much-needed human contact.
“If it wasn’t for meals on wheels, i would go hungry,” Burnett said Wednesday.
Right now, many programs in Los Angeles County that rely on federal funding say they’d have to figure out what to do if that money suddenly disappears. And so could our jails.
President Donald Trump is taking aim at sanctuary cities with a budget proposal to cut $210 million dollars in federal reimbursements to state and local jails that hold undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes.
The proposal would put pressure on sanctuary cities to deport people who are in the nation illegally.
But that’s not all. The budget blueprint also suggests eliminating the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant Program, which provides money for a number of anti-poverty programs, including Meals on Wheels.
“It’s security,” Burnett said. “They knock on your door make sure you’re OK.”
The majority of funding for Meals on Wheels does not come from government grants, so if portions of block grants were eliminated, the program would not suddenly disappear.
But Meals on Wheels says it already cannot keep up with growing demand from seniors who need help, so every dollar matters.
“To have the federal government take away this money is just an unbelievable situation,” Meals on Wheels Executive Director Chris Baca said.
The concern is also felt at Venice Arts, where children from low-income families receive free after-school mentoring and intensive instruction.
“Here it’s more hands on with the nicest cameras, and you actually get to learn about stuff hands-on,” student Colin Francke said.
“So when we grow up, we can have better jobs and better experience, instead of sitting at home doing nothing,” student Braedyn Kozakowski said,
The program is one of several in LA County that depends on funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
But the NEA, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, are among the agencies Trump’s budget blueprint has targeted for elimination.
((sot elysa voshell/associate director, venice arts 26:21
“Every penny counts for every nonprofit arts organization, and we’ll definitely feel the impact of that,” Venice Arts Associate Director Elysa Voshell said.
Trump would use the budget savings in part to ramp up immigration enforcement, including hiring 75 new immigration judges and 60 federal prosecutors to focus on border enforcement.