Sunday, October 16, 2011

GOP's War on the Poor Continues: State Cuts Funding for Food Banks and Soup Kitchens

Wasn't enough for the Snyder administration and the Republican majority to cut thousands of students from the food assistance. Wasn't enough for the DHS to start applying asset tests to all the rest, in the hopes of cutting even more people from the rolls of that federally funded program.

Now we are going to cut assistance to the places where those folks may have to turn to ease their hunger.

According to the state Department of Human Resources, 43 agencies -- food banks and soup kitchens -- have been cut from Emergency Services funding for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Last fiscal year, they received a total of $1,261,659 in funding.

The state counters that the money was only for "emergencies". Makes you wonder just what constitutes an emergency in their eyes these days. Unemployment is still over 11% and climbing, people are losing their cash and heating assistance, and it seems the only the thing the state isn't cutting are the feeble pass-the-buck excuses they utter when questioned about these new policies.

To add insult to injury, they also plan to keep referring people to the agencies that they cut.

Friendship House in Hamtramck is already feeling the pinch from the state. For more than a decade, Friendship House received an annual $12,240 grant from the state Department of Human Services, which it used to buy food.

Last month, the charity was told its grant was cut. Friendship House helps 1,100 to 1,500 people a month with food, clothing and utilities, said Friendship House executive director Linnea Berg.

"I'm afraid we're going to see a big influx of people into the shelter system," Berg said.

She said that despite DHS deciding not to award Friendship House a grant, local DHS office officials told her they will continue to refer people to Friendship House for emergency food.

The favorite excuse of the 1% and their enablers is that people can turn to "charity" for assistance nowadays. But William Long, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, reports that they have seen a 30% decline in help between public and private funding, and that food banks may have to start reducing the volume given to families from the remaining food they have left. Charities are strained to the max with new people coming to their doors; just imagine if you were referred to one by the state, only to be told that help wasn't available because the state cut funding.

Probably be more than a little ticked off, don't you think?

And Republicans wonder why people are marching in the streets...