NEW BRITAIN - U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty and State Rep. Bobby Sanchez visited the Human Resources Agency of New Britain on Wednesday morning to hear from residents that have been positively impacted by HRA-provided services.
The discussion came on the heels of increased budget discussions - both at the federal and state level.
President Donald Trump’s budget proposal would eliminate funds for numerous programs in the country, including funding for the Community Services Block Grant. HRA’s around the country benefit greatly from these CSBG funds, so the proposal’s full cut could eliminate these service providers in their respective communities.
“We can’t allow these cuts to happen,” Sanchez said of the president’s proposal. “We’re talking about children, we’re talking about seniors, we’re talking about families that will greatly be affected.”
“The president’s budget which went out there was, to my mind, hard-hearted, misguided and wrong in many respects,” Esty said of Trump’s proposal. “It’s now going to be the job of the U.S. Congress to figure out what that budget really looks like.”
New Britain resident Chastity Rivera has benefited from the HRA’s early childhood education program - Head Start.
Rivera said she and her husband recently adopted two children and the HRA helped provide early education for one of them.
“This program has had a tremendous impact because of its consistency and its great teachers - who are very loving and caring,” Rivera said. “I hope that this program stays in place for the children that need that education and emotional growth, which has been a major part of helping my child grow.”
Another New Britain resident, Leslie Jacobs, said she has been helped from the HRA’s energy assistance program. Jacobs has had her heat turned off in her home for missing payments, and the HRA has stepped in to help with energy costs.
“This program has been a lifeline for me,” Jacobs said. “You have to realize how much we need this.”
Budgets won’t be finalized until June, so changes to proposals at the statewide and federal level are ongoing. In the meantime, citizens will continue to talk to their legislators to tell them about how cuts will affect their lives.
“It’s not programs, it’s people,” Esty said.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.