Wausau-area children who receive free books in kindergarten, moms who get help with holiday groceries and low-income workers who get help buying or fixing vehicles will have less federal aid to rely on this year.
The city in February learned it would receive about $533,000 in Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, funding this year, which is a $40,000 decrease from the initial federal allocation in November. The funding, allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is used for community development, creation of affordable housing and redevelopment of contaminated properties, among other uses.
The city’s Community Development Citizens Advisory Committee last week recommended cuts in CDBG funding to programs such as Wheels to Work, the United Way of Marathon County’s Women in Action and to organizations including the Boys & Girls Club of the Wausau Area. This is the second year in a row that both the proposed allocation of CDBG funds, made in the fall, and the final spring allocation were reduced.
One of the committee’s recommendations is a cut to the United Way’s Women in Action program. The $5,000 the program initially was slated to receive would have helped pay for Head Start’s Christmas for Mommies event, which provides gifts and cooking and parenting skills. Kristi Parrott, a single mother of three from Wausau, was invited to the event in 2009 and 2010 and received both a slow cooker and $25 gift certificates for groceries. The slow cooker has helped the family have hot meals when they’re home from school and work, and the gift certificates helped stock Parrott’s shelves with food.
“I appreciate any help I can get,” Parrott, a teaching assistant with Head Start, said Friday.