Six Days Till the Funding Cut Catastrophe No One Wants!

It’s the part of the so-called “fiscal cliff” Washington calls “sequestration.” We call it a catastrophic cut to programs America’s neediest citizens count on for vital health care, housing assistance and basic necessities, and it’s scheduled to take effect on March 1st. It’s been pushed back repeatedly because every policy maker agrees this is bad public policy; but if the House of Representatives, the Senate and the President can’t agree and pass an alternative before March 1st, it’ll happen. So what’s been going on in Washington: the House of Representatives has been out of session for the last couple of days, and won’t be back in town until next week. There’s no compromise in sight, but lots of finger pointing.

Here’s what we do know: if the across the board cuts do fully go into effect hundreds of thousands of poor individuals and families in America will be hurt. Many poor and homeless individuals and families will lose access to health care. Hundreds of thousands of people struggling to maintain their homes will be at risk of homelessness. Funds will be cut to health and social service providers to homeless people.

The poorest, neediest and most vulnerable Americans will be devastated yet again. That’s wrong, and it doesn’t actually save money, either. Poor and homeless people are often very young, very old, frail or disabled. Most suffer from multiple chronic health and emotional problems. Cutting adequate health care and services will aggravate their health and other issues – but it won’t stop them from having those issues. Instead of access to appropriate care with better outcomes, they’ll wind up sicker, worse off and in emergency care at higher costs. Providing worse services with worse outcomes at higher costs is not efficient or effective for anyone whether you call it “austerity” or “cost cutting” or not.

There is still time to contact your member of Congress and ask them to work to save programs that provide services to homeless people and those at risk of homelessness. Let them know that cutting these programs is just the wrong thing to do, and it absolutely does not save taxpayer dollars.  It’s easy to call your United States Senators and U.S. House of Representative member using the Capitol Hill switchboard number: 202-224-3121. 
-Jeff Foreman, Director of Policy at Care for the Homeless

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