Mayor Elorza: Trump’s proposed cuts would be a ‘dagger’ to Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – President Donald Trump’s proposal to eliminate the $3-billion Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program would be a “devastating” blow to Rhode Island’s capital city, Mayor Jorge Elorza said Friday.

Trump’s proposed budget would do away with the 42-year-old CDBG program, which provides local governments across the country with funding for community centers, housing programs and neighborhood improvements.

“The president said he wanted to work with cities but the proposal to cut CDBG funds would instead be a dagger wound to many cities,” Elorza, a Democrat, told Eyewitness News. “Across the country, we use these funds to invest in infrastructure, economic development, domestic violence prevention, community centers, and affordable housing programs. I urge the president to invest in our cities and restore these vital funds in his budget.”

Trump’s proposal has nothing to do with Elorza’s proclamation earlier this year that Providence is a “sanctuary city” for people in the country illegally. The president has threatened to strip federal funding from cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration officers, but he hasn’t released specific details about that plan.

In the current fiscal year, Providence has a $5-million CDBG budget. Each year, the mayor’s office proposes how the funds should be spent and the City Council Urban Redevelopment, Renewal and Planning (URRP) Committee is ultimately responsible for finalizing the plan. Each of the 15 councilmembers also divide up $750,000 for projects in their respective wards.

Councilwoman Sabina Matos, who chairs the URRP committee, said she will continue to advocate for the city to continue to receive CDBG funding, but acknowledged that outside organizations should start to think about a “plan B.”

“This will be a huge impact in a city like ours,” Matos, a Democrat, said. “We will do whatever we can to keep CDBG.”

Here’s a breakdown of how Providence currently spends its CDBG funding.

Continue the discussion on Facebook

Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan