Faces of Austerity 2.0: The Effects of Congressional Budget Cuts on Social Services Programs
The Non-Defense Discretionary (NDD) United coalition released “Faces of Austerity 2.0: How Budget Cuts Continue to Make Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure.” The report examines how Congressional cuts to education, housing, human services, justice, national resources, public health, and workforce programs hurt those in need, highlighting individuals’ personal stories.
The ten personal stories showcase the need for NDD funding to help people attend college, fight addiction, prepare for emergencies, and more.
The report’s release is part of the #RaisetheCaps campaign urging Congress to raise funding levels above the caps imposed by Congress in 2011.
The report includes a story from Joseph Hill Coles, a community navigator for Youth Service, Inc., in Philadelphia. Coles describes experiencing youth homelessness and finding the support he needed at Project HOME, a federally funded housing program. He now helps other youth in the city connect to resources, including the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.
Vouchers are proven to reduce homelessness and lift individuals and families out of poverty.
The Trump administration’s budget proposed cutting funding for HCVs by more than $1 billion in FY18.
Joseph also expresses frustration that limited funding prohibits his organization’s ability to expand and better support the homeless population of Philadelphia.
By showcasing personal stories, the report puts faces on the needs to raise the budget caps. Writes the report, “In Washington, lawmakers and wonks think about budgets in terms of numbers, dollar signs, and decimal points. But beyond the Beltway, there are faces behind the numbers. Even seemingly ‘small’ changes in federal spending can have a big impact on Americans who rely upon and benefit from federally funded programs.”
The reports three themes are:
- When properly funded, these programs work
- The cuts are unsustainable
- The cuts lead to additional costs for taxpayers and strain state and local budgets.
NDD United is an alliance of hundreds of national, state, and local organizations working to protect investments in core government functions that benefit all Americans. The programs–known in the nation’s capital as nondefense discretionary or “NDD” programs-include:
- veterans affairs,
- medical and scientific research;
- education and job training;
- public safety and law enforcement;
- public health;
- weather monitoring and environmental protection;
- natural and cultural resources;
- housing and social services; and
- international relations.
Each day these programs support economic growth and strengthen the safety and security of every American in every state and community across the nation.