Federal Budget Targets Meals On Wheels Program For Cuts

(CNN) – The preliminary outline for President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget could slash some funding for a program that provides meals for older, impoverished Americans. The budget blueprint suggests cutting funds for the Department of Housing and Urban Development by about $6.2 billion, a 13.2% decrease from its 2017 funding level.

“The federal government has spent over $150 billion on this block grant since its inception in 1974, but the program is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results,” the budget blueprint says.

Though the blueprint doesn’t contain enough detail to know for certain how local Meals on Wheels programs will be affected, spokeswoman Jenny Bertolette said, “It is difficult to imagine a scenario in which they will not be significantly and negatively impacted if the President’s budget were enacted.”
Programs across the country are already serving 23 million fewer meals than they did in 2005, and waiting lists to join Meals on Wheels are growing, she said. About 3% of the budget for Meals on Wheels’ national office comes from government grants (84% comes from individual contributions and grants from corporations and foundations), but the national association provides support and representation for a larger network of 5,000 independently operated local groups, Bertolette said.

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