Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nonprofits Gather to Fight Federal Spending Cuts

The Women’s and Girls Foundation of Pittsburgh gathered a long list of nonprofits Thursday morning to outline how they would be impacted by the federal spending cuts contained in H.R. 1. The continuing resolution has been passed by the House and is awaiting Senate debate.

All of the groups at the event boast some sort of tie to the welfare of women and children. Among them was Adagio Health CEO Rick Baird. His group gets federal “Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs” funding which is better known as Title X funding. He says cutting those funds is a bad choice socially because low income women will not be able to get the OB GYN and reproductive care they need and a bad choice economically as well. “For every dollar spent in Title X, $3.75 are saved in Medicaid dollars the next year,” says Baird. He says H.R. 1 will cut $317 million from Title X. “It’s stupid financially.”

Women and Girls Foundation CEO Heather Arnet says the budget cuts will come down harder on women and children, especially single working mothers. “The phrase ‘women and children first’ used to mean in an emergency these groups should be the ones first given the life boats to safety, it did not men in a crisis throw the women and children overboard,” says Arnet.

The heads of each group took their turn behind the lectern to outline how the cuts would impact them financial and in terms of service. Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children Executive Director Michelle Figler warned of massive cuts the Head Start and Early Head Start. “In Pennsylvania 7,000 Head Start children will lose services. Locally more than 30 class rooms will be cut,” says Figler. She says that means more than 300 children will no longer have a classroom to sit in and more than 50 teachers will no longer have jobs if the cuts go through.

“We have a two year sort of waiting list for many of the subsidized housing that’s available to us,” says Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh Director of Enforcement Jay Drowin, “by cutting these programs is keep people is keep people on the streets for longer periods of time. Is this the kind of country we want to be?”

Also speaking at the event was Maggie Jensen of the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh says the senate needs to think about the message the cuts will send to the world. She quoted Vice President Hubert Humphrey who said, “The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

No comments: