By Per Peterson
Does President Donald Trump’s first-ever budget proposal mean the end of Meals on Wheels in Tracy?
Not for now.
Trump released his $1.15 billion spending plan for FY18 Thursday, and among programs targeted to be cut is one that funnels financial aid to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, a $3 billion program that is designed to help combat poverty. Trump’s budget would eliminate CDBG funding, which also helps pay for various senior nutrition programs, among other things.
While Meals on Wheels in Tracy is a beneficiary of both state and federal dollars, the money it receives comes from the Older Americans Act, which is not targeted in Trump’s budget proposal. Instead, that funding — which goes through the Minnesota Board on Aging, and then to the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging — is dispersed on a five-year budgeting cycle, which just began year No. 1 recently.
“Essentially when we apply, they say, ‘Here’s a five-year grant,’” said Andrea Lingl, senior program manager for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s Senior Nutrition Program. “(Trump) is looking to cut Meals on Wheels through block grant programs and that, thankfully, is not us. Our dollars come from the Older Americans Act, which I think was just reauthorized this last year. But even though we have this funding for five years, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be at the capacity that it is at right now.”
For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.