Trump budget threatens Louisville programs

Trump budget threatens Louisville programs

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Cheese ravioli, a side of broccoli, a roll, a banana and a carton of milk; that's what Meal on Wheels delivered to 500 seniors or those with disabilities around Louisville on St. Patrick's Day.

The program is one of many social services which would lose funding under a proposed budget by the Trump administration.

"We can't spend money on programs just because they sound good," Mick Mulvaney, the director for the Office of Budget and Management said. "Meals on Wheels sounds great."

Eric Friedlander heads Louisville's Community Services department which includes many of the programs, like Meals on Wheels, that would be cut under
the Trump budget.

"It's devastating," Friedlander said. "Folks that know that this is their lifeline are scared and I don't blame them."

That includes Evelyn Campbell, a 91-year-old who's used Meals on Wheels since she became homebound three years ago.

"It's something that's needed for us old folks," Campbell said. "Living on $800 a month, you need some help."

It also includes Shirley Cooper, who lives in an apartment building in Old Louisville.

"Especially since the Kroger store closed down, I don't get to go to the grocery as often, so I appreciate very much the Meals on Wheels," Cooper said. "I
do get a kick out of some of the young people that they bring along with them."

"This may be your only visitor in the day," Friedlander said.

The Trump administration counters that the programs aren't providing results.

"We're going to spend a lot of money but we're not going to spend it on programs that cannot deliver on the promises they've made to people," Mulvaney said.

Meals of Wheels gets about a third of its funding in Louisville from the federal government and would need to switch to a waiting list system if the
funding was cut.

LIHEAP is another program tabbed as critical. It assists around 25,000 people who need help paying utilities.

"If there is any fraud or waste, it is tiny and the benefits are tremendous," Friedlander said. "You have a lot of people are trying hard to make it."

He said while some administrations have tried to cut social programs before, he's more nervous than ever.

"These programs make a difference in people's lives and that's the outcome we should be focused on," Friedlander said.

He believes the city would also likely need to cut jobs is the current budget stands.

Other city agencies including TARC and the Air Pollution Control District and others would also face cutbacks.

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