To Save Human Service Programs for Homeless and Poor People
Last week Care for the Homeless, and 2.100 other advocacy and provider organizations across the U.S., launched a campaign to fight “sequestration”, the automatic federal funding cuts threatening most human service programs in the coming federal budget. These cuts, set at 8.2% for most domestic discretionary spending, include cuts to health programs, housing assistance, child welfare programs, job training and on and on.
Operating as NDD United (NDD stands for nondefense discretionary) this national effort contacted every U.S. Senator and House of Representatives member emphasizing the critical importance of these human service programs that serve our neediest neighbors, the harmful effects of budget cuts and the need for a strong domestic program as well as defense spending.
The cuts an 8.2% reduction requires would be draconian. It would mean fewer people getting adequate medical care, less mental health care and addiction services availability, more people homeless and even less funding for affordable housing and public housing. Over the long run these cutbacks aren’t just morally wrong, they will actually cost more public resources than they can save.
But if nothing is done to correct it, these across the board cuts of key domestic programs are in the 2016 federal budget. NDD United noted that deficit reduction measures adopted since 2010 have come overwhelmingly from budget cuts, with the ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases beyond those recommended by bipartisan groups, academics and experts. The group said “there is bipartisan agreement that sequestration is bad policy and ultimately hurts our nation.” That was at the heart of the 2013 bipartisan agreement led by Republican Representative Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray that at least temporarily provided sequestration relief. But that compromise is no longer in effect in the coming budget.
If you are concerned about cuts to health care, programs for kids, housing for homeless people and other discretionary domestic programs, now is the time to speak up. These budget decisions are currently being discussed in Congress. You can reach your member of the House or Senate (or find out who they are) toll free through the Congressional Switchboard at 1-877-210-5351.