BALTIMORE — In a dimly lit church basement, James Gaymon III spent much of Thursday staring at practice questions as he prepared for his high school general equivalency diploma exam. He recently moved into an apartment two blocks from the underpass where he spent 20 years sleeping, and often smoking crack. Now Mr. Gaymon is sober and taking classes at an adult learning center run by Strong City Baltimore, a nonprofit that operates with federal funds from the Community Development Block Grant program — which President Trump’s budget for fiscal 2018 would eliminate.
Mr. Gaymon’s worries echoed across the country’s urban centers on Thursday as city leaders, nonprofits and poverty experts lamented Mr. Trump’s proposed budget, which would make drastic cuts to programs aimed at helping the country’s inner cities and some of its most vulnerable populations. Mr. Trump spent months on the campaign trail promising to fix “broken” inner cities, appealing to African-Americans with the question, “What do you have to lose?
In terms of money, the answer turns out to be: plenty. Mr. Trump would cut the budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 13 percent and eliminate programs like the Community Development Block Grant, which cities have used to fund programs like Meals on Wheels as well as homeless shelters and neighborhood revitalization initiatives. His budget proposal would eliminate the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency, the Education Department’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which run before- and after-school programs, as well as low-income heating assistance, community services block grants and the HOME Investment Partnership, which helps state and local governments build, buy and rehabilitate affordable housing.
It would cut funding for rental assistance and job training. In fact, the budget reaches deep into every agency to cut programs for the urban poor. Even the Department of Energy’s small weatherization program to help insulate the houses of the poor — obscure to even seasoned government watchers — would be eliminated.
MM is deplorable.