Red state Kansas has enacted spending cuts which will close a homeless shelter serving the counties of Allen, Bourbon, Linn, Cherokee, Crawford, Montgomery and Labette in south east Kansas on July 15. The cuts come hand in hand with $1.1 billion in tax cuts for the wealthiest residents of the state.
Choices Family Emergency Shelter operated by nonprofit Southeast Kansas Community Action Program (SEK-CAP) and located in downtown Pittsburg, Kansas has provided shelter for homeless families since 1966, serving an average of 350 people a year relying on grants from the Kansas Housing Resources Corp. to cover an average annual shortfall of $190,000.
Recently, SEK-CAP learned that they would receive approximately one-third of their request for $230,000 for the current fiscal year which began on July 1. It is not enough to keep the doors open and so as of July 15 the nine families with their 26 children and the three families who were about to move in will be once more homeless, with no nearby shelter to turn to for assistance.
Becky Gray, who wrote the grant proposal, said that Pittsburg city officials and SEK-CAP officials discussed accepting the grant which would have been enough to keep the doors open for another four months, but concluded that “it was best to not accept that grant because we didn’t know if we could get funding for the rest of the year,” Gray said.
SEK-CAP will continue to work for the homeless according to Gray, who said that the organization would be convening a Homeless Advisory Board of community stakeholders and residents to discuss potential ways of assisting these people.
It is not only homeless shelters that will suffer because of giving tax breaks to the wealthy, other programs to assist the less fortunate will also be affected, such as supplemental funding for poor school districts. Those who rely on food stamps will have to cut back on their lobster and steak purchases, not to mention the negative impact on the overall economy of the state as spending by those affected is reduced.
h/t: Think Progress