The Fire Bell Rings for Us

Budget cuts place the neediest at risk
We need to work together to survive!

The Fire Bell Rings for UsWith the recent cuts both to State and Federal spending, we are reminded of Thomas Jefferson, who in response to the question of extending slavery to the Missouri territory, wrote that “this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror.”

After the budget cuts of the last two years and the failure of the Super Committee, it is difficult to imagine anyone involved in developing supportive housing or ending homelessness that has not been awakened by the ringing of the fire bell.

Over the next decade, the cuts to key federal domestic spending will reduce spending for crucial housing and human service funding to levels not seen in more than fifty years. The President’s Office of Management and Budget has already asked each department including HUD for FY2013 to “provide budgets based on two scenarios: a 5 percent cut and a 10 percent cut from the 2011 enacted discretionary level.” And this does not include the impact of a 9.1 % sequestration on January 2, 2013.

For the last four decades we have all struggled to do more with less.

Wrap News provided an excellent overview of the “38-year-cycle of draconian cuts to our nation’s affordable housing programs and the direct correlation of how this created and perpetuates homelessness.” Their analysis helps us “better understand and hopefully fight against these continued attacks on the human right to housing.”

If all of the cuts go through as planned, in 2021 we could end up trying to do everything with nothing.

Until we articulate and share a better narrative with our legislators that illustrates the importance of supportive housing as both a job creator as well as a means to address a broad set of social challenges facing communities across the nation including homelessness, we will continue to be subject to cuts.

Over the next few weeks we will share our ideas on how we can speak with one voice and let our legislators in Washington and Trenton know that supportive housing is a job creator and that we cannot continue to have our brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews living on the street.