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March 17, 2017
Post by Jennifer Paulsen, Director of Development & Communications

 

Scissors

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Here’s some trivia for you. What I thought was just a day of parades, Shamrocks, all things green, including the river (yes – you, San Antonio), and pretending to be Irish, is actually an official Christian feast day. According to Wikipedia, “The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.” 

However, unless you live in a cave, the news of Trump’s “budget blueprint” or “skinny budget” is unavoidable and makes it difficult to feel celebratory about anything, especially if you work for a homeless service agency. Read the message from NLIHC’s Diane Yentel about the proposed budget. Moreover, if you are here in Texas, you are bracing yourself for the state budget cuts. It’s like being in a nightmare where giant scissors keep chasing you around.

 

Each day, my inbox is bombarded by this bad news. Elimination of funding for national programs that have proven to be effective such as the Corporation for National and Community Service that operates the AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA programs. Elimination of funding for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the HOME program, and Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, as well as deep cuts to public housing funding.

You may be asking, and rightfully so, “What will happen to our programs? What will happen to all of the people we serve and the many we are unable to serve due to already constraining budgets?” And we haven’t even gotten to the destruction the proposed health care bill would bring.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and other leaders for the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) are hosting a webinar, “How Advocates Can Stop Proposed HUD Cuts” on Monday, March 20 at 4:00 p.m. EDT. Register here.

What if all of this angst is for nothing?

He who foresees calamities suffers them twice over. - Beilby Porteous

Remember sequestration? According to this article, sequestration “now poses a mortal threat to President Trump’s budgetary agenda.” Trump’s Regan-era cuts would no doubt have a devastating impact on the state of homelessness. But in order for his budget to be passed, basically the spending controls put into place by the Budget Control Act would need to be eliminated but that would require Democratic votes.

We may not need to panic just yet, however, it’s a good reminder that nonprofits need to take stock of what is working and what is not working, and make necessary changes to move the agency forward.  “For nonprofits, now is the time to gather your resources, allies, stakeholders and strategies for the fight ahead which will undoubtedly be more intense on some battlefields than on others but, for this period, vigilance and the ability to flexibly respond where needed with strategies and supporters in hand will be critical.” See Nonprofit Quarterly: OMB Issues First Draft Budget Outline: How Should Nonprofits and Philanthropy Respond?

So go ahead and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or whatever you’d like to celebrate. We’re all in this together and regardless of what happens, we will do what we do best, keep working on behalf of families, youth, men, and women experiencing homelessness. They need us now more than ever.