Posted in Early Childhood Education, Food and Nutrition, Policy, Stories, tagged Greg Kaufman, Head Start, Housing Assistance, Job Training, Meals on Wheels, Moyers & Company, Sequestration Watch on July 18, 2013|
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It bothers me to read recent reports implying the budget sequestration has not been all that bad. While some dire consequences, such as furloughing federal prison guards, air traffic controllers and border patrol agents, have been avoided, one thing is now perfectly clear: poor and at-risk Americans are bearing the brunt of the funding cuts and there is no relief in sight. I want to link readers to a few resources that drive that point home.
Congress moved quickly to end furloughs causing delays at our nation’s airports, but there are still lines of people waiting for housing assistance, job training, or a slot for their child in a Head Start program. All of these programs offer critical services, and all suffered funding cuts due to sequestration.
Greg Kaufman, poverty correspondent for The Nation, and Moyers & Company, has kept a close eye on how low-income families are faring under budget cuts. Through a series called Sequester Watch, Moyers & Company has tracked the effects federal cuts are having on housing assistance, food programs for seniors, Head Start and job training programs.
I’ll list the articles and some of the interesting issues from the series here:
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A couple of weeks ago I posted about the lack of affordable rental housing for families with low-income. In essence, there is no state in the country where fair market rent is affordable for a single worker at minimum wage. A partial solution to this crisis is provided by federal housing assistance, through vouchers or public housing. However there are often waiting lists for these programs, as the demand outpaces the availability of funds.
Now, a recently released paper, authored by Douglas Rice of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), lays out what sequestration cuts will mean for families who are either currently receiving housing assistance or on the waitlist. The extremely short version is that state and federal agencies will probably have to cut assistance to about 140,000 families by early 2014 – and that just represents funding cuts for Housing Choice Vouchers, sometimes referred to as Section 8 Vouchers. The chart below gives a more detailed look at the cuts to vouchers, public housing, homeless assistance and other housing programs.
In Oklahoma, some of the pressure is already being felt by the agencies that receive and distribute federal housing assistance. The Muskogee Phoenix reported in March that the Muskogee Housing Authority is expecting a $153,000 decrease in funds for Section 8 vouchers and an additional $167,000 decrease in funds for public housing programs. While the housing authority has (more…)
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