Trump’s proposed budget cuts could affect local homeless efforts

July 25, 2017

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA 21) –

Congress has a lot to deal with beyond healthcare, like raising the debt ceiling, and overhauling the tax code.

Still to come, a full budget for the next fiscal year.

In Fort Wayne, government and non-profit leaders hope that when it comes time Congress will restore some of the drastic cuts President Trump outlined in his budget proposal, claiming they could undermine efforts to curb homelessness.

“Literally families who have been sometimes living in cars or public parks or in other very desperate situations,” the Rev. Terry Anderson says.

Anderson is the executive director of Just Neighbors Interfaith Homeless Network, the area’s only homeless shelter for families.

Adults and their children stay there for an average of 40 days, but Anderson says any cuts as outlined in President Trump’s budget proposal would not only affect the organization’s ability to continue operating the shelter, but also provide services for clients.

“Assist people with transportation so that as they begin work once again they can get to their jobs, assist some with childcare so that people are able to kind of regroup and find work if they do not have it,” Anderson says.

Just Neighbors is one organization helping people overcome homelessness through grants that come from the Department of Housing and Urban Development — or HUD.

90% of the Fort Wayne Housing Authority’s housing budget comes from HUD.

“You’ll see the people that are the most vulnerable be affected by it. Working families, elderly and disabled, veterans,” says FWHA’s executive director George Guy.

Guy says he and other leaders working to help people avoid or climb out of homelessness are lobbying Indiana’s congressmen to keep that funding in place — funding that goes beyond putting a roof over someone’s head.

“You’re talking about programs that are going to involve employment and training, in terms of education, individuals seeking to get their GED, to get their college degree in some circumstances,” Guy says.

He says if funding for programs is slashed, more people could be on the streets, and not be able to contribute to society.

But he’s hoping the cuts, ultimately, won’t run too deep.

“There’s going to be some impact because there are going to be some cuts. But I think everybody is pretty much optimistic that it won’t be as bad as has been proposed,” he says.

Under President Trump’s budget proposal, Fort Wayne Housing Authority would lose nearly $2.4 million a year, while the city itself would lose nearly $2.7 million.

City leaders use that federal funding to pay for infrastructure like sidewalks and trails in low-income neighborhoods, as well as support large affordable housing developments like the Villages of Hanna and Superior Lofts.


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