In committee, Sen. Hornback says give back federal poverty money: Some are ‘happy’ poor

For KyForward
Published: Jan 14, 2015

By RAE HODGE

Since the Johnson administration occupied the White House, the Community Service Block Grant has been delivered into local hands to help people submerged in poverty.

State government has little, if any, say in exactly how it’s spent, though in Kentucky a committee must approve the local administrators to receive the federal dollars. Today, it was up to the Government Contract Review Committee to allow the Department for Community Based Services to accept $1,014,614.

Sen. Paul Hornback

Sen. Paul Hornback took the two presenters to task on the futility on their programs.

“You can’t eliminate the causes of poverty. That, a lot of times, is not something that any of us force on anybody. It’s a path they choose and a lot of time they’re very happy with it,” said the Shelbyville Republican. “You watch those TV programs, on 60 Minutes, a lot of those things about the homeless. That’s a path they choose, to want to do those things and there’s reasons for that.”

The National Association for State Community Service Programs keeps track of the grant spending and outcomes. It holds that across Kentucky, the grant helped 221,849 people find initial or additional employment.

Hornback asked the presenters to turn down federal dollars–which helped the department provided child development programs for 66,273 people this year–if possible.

“There’s nothing wrong with turning back, giving money back to the federal coffers.

Sen. Julian Carroll cautioned the presenters not to create a culture of dependency on federal dollars that he said could turn people into “one the the dependents that get a check in the mailbox.”

“We have become programmatic in having opportunities in government for people to come and get a check every month and that’s become a major problem for us,” said Carroll, a Frankfort Democrat.

However, Department of Community Services does not write or send checks to people.

According to the NASCSP, for every dollar of the Community Block Grant, the network of Kentucky community service programs leveraged $7.84 from other sources.

The contract was approved without a single vote against it.

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