Lowey Highlights Devastating Local Impacts of the President’s Budget on Vulnerable New Yorkers

March 22, 2017
Press Release

Meals on Wheels Cuts Would Stop Meals for Hundreds of Local Seniors

Cuts Would Gut Programs That Support Housing and Heat for Millions of New Yorkers

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (Westchester/Rockland), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee; Dr. Donald Hammond, CEO and President of Meals on Wheels Programs and Services of Rockland County (MOW Rockland); Dana Levenberg, Ossining Town Supervisor; Gerri Levy, Executive Director of Rockland Housing Action Coalition, and Joseph Guarinello, Vice President of Energy Programs at Heartshare today highlighted the devastating local impacts to vulnerable New Yorkers of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget.

“President Trump’s budget would literally leave older and vulnerable New Yorkers cold and hungry,” said Lowey. “It would eliminate millions of dollars in essential investments supporting nutrition, housing, and heating for Lower Hudson Valley families that need them most. The President continues to show that his promises to help hardworking Americans are nothing more than empty campaign bluster. President Trump’s proposal is dead on arrival, and as Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue fighting to increase federal investments to help ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers.”

President Trump’s budget proposal would eliminate the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program that funds portions of Meals on Wheels programing. For Meals on Wheels Programs and Services of Rockland (MOW Rockland), the CDBG cut would mean a cut of $25,000.  But that is only a small fraction of the problem.  The budget would also make devastating $15.1 billion and $4.7 billion cuts to the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture, respectively. In Rockland, this could result in 24,000 fewer meals delivered to more than 100 homebound seniors, closure of five senior activity centers that provide more than 28,000 meals, and closure of adult day care centers that support seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The CDBG Program also funds a wide range of unique community development needs such as affordable housing, infrastructure investments, and economic development. New York State received nearly $300 million in CDBG grants last year, of which $824,518 went to White Plains and $2,197,424 went to Rockland County.

"These cuts would reduce the number of seniors we can service but we are not going to give in or give up,” said Dr. Don Hammond, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels Rockland. “We are confident that the quality of our services speak for itself and will encourage more people to get involved. With Congresswoman Lowey advocating for us in Washington, we will show the administration that our current results cannot simply be ignored.”

“The Town of Ossining’s senior nutrition program serves over 150 seniors regularly.  We serve meals in our community center and provide programs to those looking to participate with others in activities,” said Dana Levenberg, Ossining Town Supervisor. “As well, we deliver meals daily to the homebound.  We count on federal and state dollars to subsidize our local property taxes to make sure our seniors get reduced cost, healthy meals. Without federal funding, the Town stands to lose about $54,000 annually, which is the equivalent of approximately 13,000 meals.  This would be catastrophic for the senior citizens in our community.”

The President has also proposed to eliminate other vital investments that support housing and heating for older, disabled, and vulnerable New York families including:

  • The HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which provides funding for a wide range of development opportunities like building, buying, and rehabilitating affordable housing for rent or ownership as well as direct rental assistance to low-income individuals. New York State received nearly $93 million in HOME Grants last year, of which $605,037 went to Rockland County.
  • The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provided $364.2 million to help more than 1.2 million vulnerable New York households afford heating and cooling last year.  This program is aimed at assisting seniors, the disabled, and low-income families with children avoid health complications from bitter cold and extreme heat.

Congresswoman Lowey has long been a strong supporter of nutrition, economic security, and safety for older and vulnerable Americans. She has spent her career fighting to protect and expand investments in programs like Medicare and Social Security to ensure that all New Yorkers have a secure future and dignified retirement.