November 12, 2012 by theappress.wordpress.com
Visiting Deborah’s Place I noticed it’s different from other homeless shelters I’ve seen. The facility looks like a college dormitory, a five-story red brick buildings from the outside and a cozy atmosphere inside. Paintings and inspirational quotes from women line the walls and little details like fresh flowers in vases and antique clocks make the place feel like home, much different from basic shelters that provide rooms the size of closets and usually have a layer of dust covering the place.
While recent debates have focused on foreign policy, the economy and creating jobs, talk of slashing public funding for services has also surfaced, endangering those who rely on them. The people care, but it seems the politicians don’t, wrapped up in their own personal safety nets.
For Deborah’s place, cuts to government funding would greatly impair the facility and keep women on the streets and in abusive relationships.
“44 percent of our revenue comes from government funding,” explains Megan Williams, member of the board of directors at Deborah’s Place. Her quietvoice trembles as she goes on. “Other shelters like us have already been forced to look for additional sources of income. It would be devastating if we stopped receiving funding.”
Deborah’s Place offers women housing, case managers to help them get back on their feet, job preparation, healthcare and counseling for four months. Without government funding, many of these programs will no longer exist.
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Schools and teachers in low-income families could see teachers’wages and employment go down as well as resources available for students. Additionally, college students could see a decrease in grants and scholarships, leaving them with even more debt and student loans than they already have.
As a student, I rely on these government grants to keep me in college. Not offering help for students would deter them from voting, bringing back the angst of the ‘90s and floods of teenagers and 20-somethings crying out for a revolution from “the syste,” similar to what the world saw in the Occupy Wall Street movement that spread worldwide.
We’d also become a less intelligent nation with higher education out of reach.
Cutting off public funding would also harm homeless shelters, food pantries and after-school programs across the country that rely on help from the government. Action should be taken before our country starts to look like a developing one with people dying in the streets.
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Planned Parenthood has also come under fire lately, supporting Democrats and their stance on maintaining funding for health services such as offering free breast cancer screenings, birth control, Pap tests and HPV tests, abortions, pelvic exams and more to low-income women who cannot afford these services.
“After this past year’s incessant attacks on women’s healthcare in Congress, we know the importance of electing candidates who support access to reproductive healthcare, including birth control and abortion services,” says Carole Brite, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action in a statement.
I couldn’t agree more withBrite’s statement. The fact that we are still discussing women’s issues in politics clearly shows that we are behind in modern society. Why is Congress discussing what to do with women’s bodies rather than letting them choose themselves? Though the real issue is on abortion and offering free birth control through the workplace, why is it focused on women? Would they be doing this if it were more common for men to be on birth control or would they allow them to take ownership of their bodies?
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So where will the homeless go? What about the woman who is taking her children and leaving an abusive husband? What about the teenagersthat gets thrown out of their house because they told their parents they are gay? What about the man who has lost his job, his home and his dignity?
Though I understand the notion that the country is going to have to pick itself up by the bootstraps, it’s too early. Americans simply are not secure enough or in a place to have public services taken away.
According to the Census Bureau 46.2 million Americans live below the poverty line. The number is painfully high and until more jobs are made, my vote is going to the politician that will help the lower class, preserving public services.