It’s the economy!

Unemployment is at 16.1%
Budget cuts heighten the risk of homelessness

Long-Term Unemployment Rate is UnprecedentedWhile Congress focused on cutting federal debt, the real crisis in America continued unabated. Total unemployment, which includes those out-of-work, forced to work part-time and those who have given up is 16.1%. In a sobering note, only 58.1 percent of the population is working, the lowest level in nearly three decades.

Federal and local budget cuts will not only lower employment but also reduce future economic growth. All of these cuts elevate the vulnerability of poor families and individuals and low-income workers, which heightens the risk of homelessness. Ultimately, these cuts may likely lead to increased homelessness.

In response to calls for deeper and immediate deficit-reduction Mark Zandi, chief economist for forecaster Moody’s Analytics said:

I think the idea is a very serious policy error. This would be the fodder for another recession. The economy may be able to digest $25-30 billion more (in federal spending cuts) … but $100 billion, I don’t think it could digest that.

However, additional cuts are being planned. According to Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) the $1.2 trillion in the next round of deficit-reduction measures must be approved by January 15, 2012.

Those across-the-board cuts would take effect in January 2013, a year later than many people have mistakenly believed, and would represent approximately a 9 percent annual cut in affected non-defense programs, along with roughly a 9 percent cut in defense programs.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) has released a brief that finds that state and local budget cuts are leading to increased vulnerability and may lead to increases in homelessness. Click here to read their report.

Local and state cuts combined with federal budget reductions will place even more families at risk of homelessness.

The New York Times editorial on Saturday August 6, 2011, Political Roots in U.S. Economic Crisis stated: “the question now is whether Washington will move beyond the wrongheaded focus on budget cuts — the last thing a faltering economy needs — to job creation.”

The editorial ended with a the following statement from their recent poll:

The American people understand what’s needed, even if Congress doesn’t. As Stanley Oland, 62, a Republican from Kalispell, Mont., told the pollsters: “Unless you have working people, you don’t have revenue from taxes. If you cut spending, jobs will be eliminated and you won’t get any revenue. Every dollar spent creates jobs.”

Is anyone listening?

We are listening. Are you?