Saturday, January 24, 2009

More cuts in services to poor and homeless forthcoming

The county of Sacramento has announced that, due to souring economic conditions, services to the poor and homeless are almost certainly going to take another hit. This news comes after such services have already been cut and while the need for such services has been increasing and is sure to continue to increase rapidly.

According to a January 23rd news release by County of Sacramento Communications and Media Officer Zeke Holst,
Because of the continuing economic downturn, Sacramento County officials are preparing for cuts to programs and services offered in the Health and Human Services and Probation departments.

"We have been relentless in looking for every possibility to save money and reduce costs," stated County Executive Terry Schutten. "Our focus has been on saving jobs. We need employees to deliver our services to our customers. So many people depend on us."

The County’s mid-year budget shortfall is approximately $42.3 million. Recommendations to remedy this shortfall include an immediate budget reduction of $8.8 million to the two departments. Programs and services affected include probation supervision of adults and drug offenders, mental health community-based programs, public health clinic capacity and intake for in-home supportive services. If approved, these reductions will result in an elimination of approximately 198 positions.
Ominously, at the same time the county was announcing its proposed (and, let's face it, almost certain to be implimented) plans, the Employment Development Department announced that unemployment in the state of California had hit 9.3%, the highest it has been in fifteen years.

A high and increasing unemployment rate is a certain indicator of burgeoning poverty and homelessness -- and, thus an increasing need for services.

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