President Trump’s proposed budget cuts will cripple services to Vermont’s most vulnerable populations
(Barre, VT) President Trump’s proposed budget will bring devastating cuts to critical services for some of Vermont’s most vulnerable populations. These services include emergency food, heating and housing assistance and weatherization services that Capstone provides to over 7,000 central Vermonters each year.
The president’s proposed budget specifically calls for eliminating the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and CSBG funding. This amounts to about $1.5M in cuts to Capstone’s services alone.
“These cuts would basically eliminate necessary resources to help people rebound from economic hardship or sustain themselves on fixed incomes, such as seniors and people with disabilities,” states Dan Hoxworth, Capstone’s Executive Director.
Over 60% of individuals Capstone provides emergency heating assistance to are households with seniors or children. Eliminating LIHEAP will force most of the households to choose between food, heat and medication.
“If we take away someone’s heat that means their water is going to have to be turned off too so pipes don’t freeze. We have essentially made that person homeless,” Hoxworth remarks.
CSBG funding is to be eliminated as well. This has been essential to enabling Capstone to be responsive to changing and pressing community needs, such as the opiate crisis. Capstone’s invested these dollars in community economic development, helping launch new businesses and creating jobs, improving individuals’ financial health through financial literacy coaching, and bringing millions of dollars back into our local communities for working households through our Volunteer Tax Assistance program.
Trump’s budget also calls for the elimination of the WAP program. Weatherizing homes, particularly for those who are low-income, not only reduces the energy costs of a home, it mitigates health issues, caused by mold, moisture and cold drafts.
“More and more we understand through the social determinants of health that poverty is a public health issue and by not working to reduce and eliminate it, our nation and its citizens pay a high cost financially to treat the symptoms of poverty,” states Hoxworth. “Poverty destabilizes families, exposing children to trauma and other physical health issues, such as asthma. In the long run, programs that work to reduce the impact of poverty on households are a wise investment in public health, eliminating short-term and long-term medical treatment. These programs the president wants to cut are preventive in nature. If we don’t pay here, we’re going to pay somewhere else down the line and the cost is going to be much greater.”