Ismael Ahmed

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Archive for September, 2009

Budget Cuts Equal People Cuts

Posted by Iahmed on September 21, 2009

With all the talk of Michigan’s budget trouble and proposed cuts, it’s important not to forget that behind every one of the state’s budget cuts is a person — a person who can least afford to lose even a portion of the state’s assistance programs.

It’s no secret that Michigan’s budget process is particularly painful this year. There’s a $2.8-billion hole to plug for Fiscal Year 2010, which is right around the corner.

There’s not enough money to go around, and legislators are being forced to make some tough choices.

But every single one of the proposed cuts will hurt somebody. No one knows better about hurting than the people coming to our Michigan Department of Human Services offices.

We’re seeing unprecedented numbers of people come to us for help. Just last month, almost 1.6 million people got food assistance, more than 1.7 million received Medicaid benefits, and our Child Protective Services workers investigated 5,814 allegations of abuse. We’ve been busy, to say the least!

The cuts proposed by Michigan legislative leadership would severely affect our ability to meet these needs. What’s at risk? Our friends, family, and neighbors won’t be able to meet their most basic needs.

One proposal calls for a $169-million cut that includes slashing the number of foster care workers and the staff at DHS who help all of those people who come to us when they’ve lost their job, need medical assistance or just plain can’t feed their family. This cut would drastically hurt the people we help everyday.

Michigan DHS offices are full of families – including children and the elderly – needing assistance. Our workers’ caseloads are steadily increasing, and processing time is steadily increasing as well. We do not need fewer workers, we need more workers in order to ensure the safety net can protect vulnerable children, adults and families.

The proposal also calls for cutting the program that helps working parents pay for child care. We know there’s a simple formula to get low-income people back to work: There must be jobs, transportation and affordable daycare.

Cutting daycare assistance would severely jeopardize low-income parents’ ability to work and compromises the safety and well-being of children. We must not go back to the days before subsidized day care for low income people, when children were left at home alone.

The proposal also calls for cutting the state disability assistance program, which helps people who are disabled and the elderly.

These cuts are too large, too deep and too damaging to the people of Michigan.  Undermining the protection of vulnerable children and adults will only hurt our state further

Please contact your state legislators and tell them to keep the safety net intact.

You can also contact your local United Way, community action agency and social service organizations;  share your concerns about the proposed human services cuts and ask them what you can do to assist them in preventing these cuts from happening.

Thank you for your help in this most challenging time.

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