The US House of Representatives is expected to move forward with a budget resolution soon. As part of this process, the House is considering the budget proposed by the White House this past May. The White House’s proposed elimination of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program could impact people with disabilities in Fredericksburg by eliminating over $150,000 in annual funding for local programs. The CDBG supports things such as housing, homelessness prevention programs, and social services projects, some of which support people with disabilities in our region. To justify nearly $3 billion in cuts nationally, the White House suggests that the program lacks targeted results and impact for people with low-incomes. The regional programs that this cut could impact are specified in the Consolidated Plan for Community Development that the City of Fredericksburg released in 2015. Priorities include housing rehabilitation, increasing affordable/accessible housing, homelessness prevention, home ownership opportunities, rental assistance, and other support services.
One program funded through the CDBG is the Removal of Architectural Barriers (RAB) Program, which provides assistance to low-to-moderate income persons with disabilities who live in Fredericksburg. This program helps people make modifications to their homes that allow them to live independently and/or age in place. It can fund modifications like installing ramps, widening doorways, and increasing the accessibility of kitchens and bathrooms. It also does things for those with hearing impairments, such as adding flashing light alerts in their homes. The ability to age in place and live independently is of great importance to people with disabilities, and programs like the RAB have helped to make that possible for dozens of people over the last few years. Programs like this allow people with disabilities to stay in their homes longer and remain independent, rather than be forced to move into an institution.
Cuts to the CDBG could put the RAB program and others in jeopardy.