Public Hearing on the Federal Budget
Public Hearing on Poverty and the Federal Budget
The Northeast Ohio AFSC and St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Akron organized a public hearing on Saturday, June 2. The hearing at the south Akron Baptist church was attended by 75 people. Beth Thames representing US Senator Sherrod Brown and Samantha Herd representing US Representative Betty Sutton heard compelling testimony from more than 25 individuals.
The range of those calling for greater federal support for community programs and reordering of federal budget, tax and monetary policies included local social service agency representatives, a current Ohio State Representative, a former Akron School Board member, a public service labor union president, a state-wide health care for all advocate, a minister, a WWII veteran, several neighborhood leaders, several youth, and a number of Akron residents.
Topics addressed were education, jobs, senior programs, health care for all, children's programs, food/hunger, tax breaks for the rich and corporations, home foreclosures, military spending, monetary reform, neighborhood issues, and public works. The moving poem "The poor are no longer with us" by Marge Piercy was also read.
Everyone attending the hearing received copies of the updated AFSC "Just How Much of our Money will go the Military Next Year?" fold-out bar graph.
The hearing was videotaped. It will be posted on our website (www.afsc.net) and YouTube in the next few days. DVD copies of the hearing will be sent to the offices of both Ohio US Senators and area US Representatives.
The gathering was a powerful collective voice for change and unity.
State Representative Zack Milkovich
Damareo Cooper - Community Activist
George Johnson - AFSCME
Kathleen McLaughlin - Mature Services
Raoo Muhammed - Community Activist
Rev. John Beaty
Greg Coleridge - American Friends Service Committee
Michael Mancari - Mustard Seed Development Center
Samantha Herd - Rep. Betty Sutton's
Beth Thames - Sen. Sherrod Brown
6-11-12 - The Reporter Newspaper (article submission):
Public Hearing on Poverty and the Federal Budget
St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Akron and the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) organized a public hearing on Poverty and the Federal Budget on Saturday, June 2. The hearing at the south Akron Baptist church, hosted by Pastor Clifton Norwood, was attended by 75 people. Beth Thames representing US Senator Sherrod Brown and Samantha Herd representing US Representative Betty Sutton heard compelling testimony from more than 25 individuals.
Among those testifying at the hearing were AFSCME Local 1360 President George Johnson, former Akron School Board member Shelia Smith, neighborhood activist Willie Smith, Ohio State Representative Zach Milkovich, Ohio Organizing Campaign community organizer Damareo Cooper, Kathleen McLaughlin of Mature Services, Deborah Silverstein of Single Payer Action Network of Ohio, Rev. John Beaty, and Camdy Ramsey, a recent graduate of the United Way Leadership program in Akron. Vicki Armstrong and Patti Longville of AFSC facilitated and provided opening remarks.
Those who testified called for greater federal funding for education, jobs, health care, children's programs, food and hunger services, infrastructure repair, and housing/foreclosure programs. Many referenced the need for a modern day Depression-like federal public works program to hire millions of people. To pay for an increase in these programs, many called for cutting military spending (which accounts for 60% of all funding Congress can directly vote on) and ending the Bush-era tax breaks. Others called for passing a bill in Congress, HR 2990, that would create US money directly to spend repairing our nation's infrastructure and create 7 million jobs — all debt free. Testimony also included the call to organize people through organizations — the only way to counter organized money of wealthy individuals and corporations.
The moving poem "The poor are no longer with us" by Marge Piercy was also read.
Both Ms. Thames and Ms. Herd said if was very important individuals directly share their views on the budget with them and other federal public officials. Tens of billions of dollars are at stake, which directly impacts people, programs and neighborhoods in Akron and across Ohio and the nation.
Photos and other background information on the public hearing and issues related to it can be found at http://www.afsc.net
5-26-12 - The Reporter Newspaper:
Click on image to download article
Opening Remarks at Public Hearing on Poverty and the Federal Budget
Last year's U.S. "Budget Control Act" reduced federal support for states, compounding Ohio's fiscal woes and fiscal woes across the nation. Unless Congress acts to change this provision, Ohio can expect to lose about 9% of the federal money we receive for many programs, beginning January 1, 2013. And cuts will continue through 2021.
Automatic, across-the-board federal reductions of funding will cut $312.6 million from Ohio in the next year. The biggest blow will be to Ohio's children. Elementary and secondary schools (already cut by $1.8 billion in the current state budget) face an additional $126 million federal loss next year, with an additional eight long years of cuts like this pending.
Last year's Budget Control Act cut funding for public services by two trillion dollars over the next decade, beginning in 2013 and continuing through 2021.
About a third of Ohio's state budget comes from the federal government. Health and human services get MOST of their funding from the federal government. These automatic federal cuts will also hurt universities, local government and municipal housing authorities. An estimated $3.6 billion in federal support for Ohio programs will be cut if Congress does not act to alter the Budget Control Act. If this Act is not altered, the result will be larger class sizes for our children, reduced support for clean water, less job search assistance and workforce training and weakened emergency management services. Tough cuts will have to be made to Head Start, child abuse prevention, drug treatment, child care, development block grants, child andmaternal health, mental health, rape prevention and preventative health programs. Home energy assistance will be cut along with nutritional programs such as WIC. Programs designed to reduce homelessness, prevent foreclosures and ease transitions will be cut. The community development block grant, long used as an important pillar in local neighborhood and economic development, faces huge reductions.
We've dramatically cut taxes to the wealthy and corporations at both the state and federal level. It is time to restore reasonable taxes on those earning $250,000.00 and above, so that we can invest in our future and make up for these very harmful federal cuts to our communities
Project RISE Intern
June 5, 2012
I am a social work student at the University of Akron, and I am currently an Intern with Project RISE. Throughout my experience with Project RISE, I have gained interest in the programs available for homeless youth. Thank you for the opportunity to share written testimony on Poverty and the Federal Budget in Akron for the hearing that took place on June 2nd at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.
In Ohio, like many other areas of the United States, the level of need for assistance for the homeless population is increasing. In 2011, according to the Point-In-Time (PIT) Count for Ohio, 13,003 individuals in Ohio were homeless. This number has increased by 4.8% since the 2010 PIT Count. This means that 596 more people were reported homeless in Ohio in 2011 compared to the previous year.
Although the number of homeless individuals in Ohio is increasing, the funding allocated for homeless assistance is decreasing. The Education for Homeless Children and Youths Grants for State and Local Activities has steadily decreased since 2008. In 2008 the amount available for awards totaled $64,066,851. In 2009, this amount dropped to $63,972,303, and in 2010, $63,785,550 was available for awards. In 2011, the total amount available for awards decreased to $63,660,857.
Locally, the funds allocated under the McKinney-Vento Act have been put to good use. Project RISE is a federally funded program that operates within the Akron Public School District and provides assistance to homeless youth with regards to education. Project RISE has provided many services, such as classes and workshops. Classes and workshops offered in 2011 include: Understanding the McKinney-Vento Act, School-Shelter Connection: Improving Educational Prospects for Students Who Are Homeless, and Seamless Enrollment: Creating the Safety Net for Students Who Are Homeless. Other services provided by Project RISE in 2011 were Parent RISE-ing events, the Love & Learn Doll Project, Kidz Art, and PACT (Performing Arts Can Teach) programs. Project RISE was also in Collaboration with other programs and events, such as the Continuum of Care and the Ohio Point-In-Time Count, the ESP-Trinity-RISE Clothes Closet, and community events, like This City Reads.
Programs and services provided by organizations such as Project RISE are an essential piece in the fight against homelessness. Programs regarding homeless youth and the education of homeless youth are in need of funding that correlates with the level of need in Ohio, and this level of need is increasing. It is important that funding for these programs increases.
Project R.I.S.E Intern
5 June 2012
Testimony for Poverty and the Federal Budget in Akron, Held on June 2nd I am a senior Social Work major in the Honors College at the University of Akron. In my last two semesters at the University of Akron, I am participating in an internship opportunity at Project R.I.S.E. through Akron Public Schools. During my time with Project R.I.S.E., I have witnessed the effects of federal funding on poverty in our community. Last year, Project R.I.S.E. identified and assisted 951 students who were experiencing homelessness in Akron. We are anticipating that number to increase to over 1,000 students in 2012. As a written testimony, I would like to present you with my views on poverty concerns as they relate to the federal budget in Akron, Ohio.
In 2011, the spending of federal tax dollars continued the past national trend of designating roughly 13% of the federal budget to safety net programs designed to provide assistance to families struggling financially. According to an analysis run by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), these safety net programs keep millions of people out of poverty every year. Concurrent to the data analysis provided by the CBPP, without federally-funded programs that address the needs of low-income families, the poverty rate would have been nearly double in 2010 (CBPP, 2012).
Akron, Ohio received roughly $184,000 of federal funding in 2011. This money helped the community develop programs for the education of youth experiencing homelessness. Funding for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and the education of homeless youth has helped agencies in Akron create an environment of crisis resolution, maximized community resources, and early intervention. These local principles create higher educational success rates for youth experiencing homelessness.
Federal funding is not only allocated to helping families out of the cycle of poverty, but also is apportioned to the education of children who have fallen victim to poverty. Akron received $63,000 for Title I funding in 2011 to help support McKinney-Vento growth. This money was utilized for the development and continuity of tutoring programs, meeting the educational needs of children with limited English proficiency, the distribution of resources to ensure high-quality academic performance among low- and high-performing students, and the coordination of services designed to improve the quality of education received by students experiencing homelessness.
Federal funding for the education of homeless children through Project R.I.S.E. is imperative to the reduction of barriers present in the education process. Competitive federal funding for individual programs through small grants creates inconsistent means of law interpretation and implementation. The implications of increased federal funding for the proper execution of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act through Project R.I.S.E. include: fruitful academic performance, including higher literacy rates; increased graduation rates; increased public recognition of poverty and awareness of related issues; improved community resources; productive support systems for vulnerable youth; and enhanced self-esteem levels among youth experiencing homelessness. Federal funding allows our community to engage in proper compliance with the laws that protect those experiencing homelessness while increasing local support and empowerment.
Thank you for accepting this written testimony,
Poverty and the Federal Budget in Akron
Saturday June 2nd 11am-1:00pm
Location: St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Testimony
Crystal Sano, University of Akron School of Social Work student
To whom this may concern:
My Name is Crystal Sano I am a student at the University of Akron Studying for my Social Work degree, I am very thankful for this opportunity to offer testimony.
As many of you know homelessness is a nationwide problem that occurs in families, individuals, children, and youth. Most of the homeless populations are not aware of programs and services that are offered to assist them which often will create barriers.
Nationwide a District Homeless Education Liaison is appointed for Public Schools. This program is funded through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance act: Education for Homeless Children and Youth. The purpose of this program is to provide stability with education to children and youth experiencing homelessness. The program includes services such as: educational, legal, and a social service component.
This program is very vital with children and youth because of education. Education, I feel, is the key component to success. I have been interning at Project RISE with Debra Manteghi for about 4 months along with staff, and this program is very successful. I have been involved with many of the programs at Project RISE including: PACT programs (performing arts can teach), soul food dinner, spring celebration, and many other programs that are offered. All of these events that I attended were very enriching and the children, youth, parents, and families had an amazing time as evidence by their reactions and responses to the event. Last year Project RISE recognized and served 951 students, and this year the number is anticipated to be over 1000.
Without federal funding this would not be possible for the children, youth, individuals, and families to have these wonderful experiences through Project RISE programs.
After doing research on the allocation for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act: Education for Homeless Children and Youth there will be 64 million dollars allocated for this upcoming school year. This seems like an inadequate amount of money being distributed all over the states. I feel this is inadequate because funding is decreasing and the number of homeless keeps rising. Programs for these children can be very costly at times and funding is very tight. We need education and greater funding to support children and youth so success can be accomplished and barriers can be limited. With barriers being in place for children and youth they cannot meet their full potential but with the help of funding we can help the children succeed.
- Download Event Flyer here
- 10-14-11- Tax Cuts For Wealthy Americans Cost Treasury $11.6 Million Every Hour: Report - The Huffington Post Jillian Berman
- 6-12-12- US federal deficit totals $844.5B through 8 months - The Huffington Post, Martin Crutsinger
© 2012 Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee