Hurting the helpers


by Chrissy Boyd | 6/19/09 • If you have been following the news on Pawlenty’s unallotment, you are probably familiar with his proposed cuts to programs such as LGA and GAMC. But Pawlenty’s plan also calls for cuts to programs that serve elderly and mentally ill Minnesotans. Although these cuts haven’t received as much time in the spotlight, they impact our community in important ways.

hindsight is the official blog of minnesota 2020. hindsight gives the run down on the news that jumps out at us on the issues that matter. oftentimes these stories show us how much further we need to go to have progressive policy realized in Minnesota.

First, Pawlenty proposed $16.8 million in cuts to emergency housing funds and to group residential housing. According to the Pioneer Press, these programs are designed to prevent homelessness among low-income and disabled individuals by supplementing rent and utilities. Without this safety net, many of these Minnesotans may end up in shelters across the state. But these shelters, now being forced to increase their services, will get hit with the same budget ax, making it really tough, if not impossible, to serve the increased demand.

Additionally, Pawlenty’s plan calls for an $8.1 million reduction in direct county mental health grants. These cuts, along with the cuts in group housing supplements will directly impact the services available to the mentally ill. The Andrew Residence in Minneapolis, which serves homeless and elderly who are mentally ill, is one organization impacted by unallotment. Karen Foy, its executive director, said that these additional cuts will be catastrophic.

The people impacted by the unallotment are the people in our community that we can not leave behind. They are those without options. It is not unreasonable to hope that our elected officials could have come to a compromise that did not leave those who need aid the most without it.

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