Myrlande Eustache picks up her four-year-old son Garvens from Action for Boston Community Development’s (ABCD) Head Start program in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts March 5, 2013. Reuters/Brian Snyder
The Republican-led House voted to eliminate $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending through 2022 during the much-publicized sequester, causing widespread pain and havoc through American communities, the effects of which we’re starting to see. In some cases, these cuts are stripping the clothes from children’s backs and taking food and shelter from the needy.
In Kentucky and Southern Indiana regions, tens of thousands of individuals are receiving smaller emergency unemployment checks, while thousands of elderly will be receiving fewer meals from federal assistance programs.
The Courier-Journal reports that federal probation offices that cover Louisville and Western Kentucky have let go of some support staff, and families who hoped to enroll their children in Head Start in Jeffersonville, Indiana, this summer have to make the plans.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, said in a statement last week that he is “disgusted” by federal lawmakers’ inability to stave off the cuts, which he estimates total about $81.2 million in Kentucky.
“Sequestration carries real and negative impacts for Kentucky families, including serious cuts to Kentucky’s classrooms,” he said in a statement. “Our families are paying the price for the petty political antics of the privileged few in Washington.”
At least thirty-three families in Kansas City, Missouri, recently faced eviction because of cuts to federal hosing programs. In total, some 125,000 families could lose assistance from the housing choice voucher program because of the cuts, according to the White House.
Michigan eliminated a program that provided 21,000 schoolchildren across the state with a $137 clothing allowance each August. Governor Rick Snyder has made clear that help would not be coming from the state, adding that he believes in targeted cuts. “We’ve said from the start that Michigan would not be replacing lost federal dollars with state dollars due to sequestration and that still holds true,” he said in a release. “We support getting the nation’s fiscal house in order, though across-the-board cuts like this are not the way to go about it.”
The Miami Herald describes a “ripple effect” of austerity that extends beyond inconveniencing travellers at airports, detailing cuts to social services, including $730,000 in stipends to help the poor pay their utility bills and $25,000 for the county’s victims-assistance office.