Federal cuts will hurt children, assistance programs

The Northeast Missouri Community Action Agency (NMCAA) helps individuals, families and communities move out of poverty.

The agency is now looking at a five percent cut to their budget because of sequestration.

"It's not just about the money it's about all of those people whom we provide quality of life services for,â?? Heather Rohn with the NMCAA said.

"We serve approximately 1,200 households with our energy assistance or our emergency crisis funding.â??

Rohn said many of those people are now on a waiting list. The NMCAA Executive Director said the five percent cuts to the agency will hurt children as well.

"Northeast Missouri Community Action Agency will likely close another head start center,â?? Penny Miles said.

Because of the sequestration it will lose more than $100,000 after losing almost $300,000 in the past year.

Miles said the community has to urge law makers to stop this.

"They need to let their legislators know that what this means for the five counties in Northeast Missouri,â?? Miles said.

â??Itâ??s putting an undue burden on folks and these are people who are working people. Theyâ??re (probably) working minimum wage jobs. But, making minimum wage and working full time you're not making above the poverty line, and it makes it very difficult when heating bills have risen so high."

Rohn said the weatherization program will also take a massive hit.

â??Itâ??s a very proactive program that seeks to reduce utility bills,â?? Rohn said.

The agency said its one of the largest employers in the area, employing 100 people. It said loss of funding will ultimately mean a reduction in staff.

Miles said she wants to drive home that the majority of the people they serve do work.

The overall lost to the agency is close to $1 million.