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News :: Social Welfare
GOP Agenda Shreds Disabled Housing
by Lynda Carson
Email: tenantsrule (nospam) yahoo.com
20 Mar 2005
The GOP Is About To Shred The Nation's Housing Assistance Programs!
Please feel free to sign the Petition, To Save The Low-Income Housing Assistance Programs.
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GOP Agenda Shreds Disabled Housing
Promoting Greed And The Ownership Society
By Lynda Carson March 20, 2005
Oakland CA--With little notice taking place in the main stream press, the Bush Administration proposes to end financing the construction of new housing for the mentally ill and the physically disabled, as part of it's agenda to promote a 50 percent cut in the nations housing budget for people with disabilities.
Under the Bush Administration's proposals for fiscal year 2006, funding in the Section 811 program will not be allowed to be used for new construction of disabled housing or the rehabilitation of existing structures being used to house people with disabilities.
On February 22, the New York Times reported that, "the federal government would discontinue
financing housing for people with spinal cord injuries or psychiatric illnesses".
Bush proposes to cut $120 million from the current (FY 2005) low budget of $238 million for the Section 811 disabled housing programs in FY 2006, which has disastrous consequences for those being affected.
The first Bush Administration went to war in Iraq, after Congress was told that baby incubators in Kuwait were being unpluged by the Iraqi Army, during the invasion of Kuwait.
In comparison, the second Bush Administration proposes to pull the plug on diasbled housing programs across America, for people with spinal cord injuries or psychiatric illnesses who reside in nursing homes or psychiatric hospitals.
There has been no uproar in the media, and Congress is not being asked to go to war to stop the Bush Agenda.
In addition to the proposed cuts in the Section 811 programs for the disabled, the Bush Administration also proposes to cut a staggering $226 million from the nation's Section 8 project-based voucher programs.
It was during June of 2004, that HUD pulled the plug on 30 Section 8 project-based developments in Marin County, because many of the projects were housing the mentally ill and battered women, which HUD had objected to. The project-based voucher cuts affected 14 nonprofit organizations, including 30 affordable housing developments, containing a minimum of 200 households of the most vulnerable residents of Marin County.
Considering the contempt being expressed by the Bush Administration for the needs of the disabled and mentally ill, the elderly have much to fear from the latest efforts by the Bush Administration to sabotage the Social Security program.
"If I get cut anymore, I would starve to death", said Dee Strandvold of Oakland. "If not for my in-home caregiver Richard, I could'nt get by. When I have seisures, Richard is there when I wake up in the hospital".
On March 18, Dee Strandvold had just turned 57, and she has been in a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury since she was 24. She spends more than half of her day in bed, and the rest of the day in her wheelchair.
"I was hurt when I was 24, and it was not my fault. I have a severe spinal cord injury, and have a pain pump implanted inside me that gives daily doses of oxycontin to help kill the pain".
Since fiscal year 2004, the budget for disabled housing was cut by $11 million, and for FY 2006 the Bush Administration proposes a massive cut of $120 million from housing programs for the disabled and nearly $14 million from housing programs for Aids patients.
The Bush Administration is operating a propraganda war to convince the American public that less is better for those that have the least. Truck loads of tax dollars are being siphoned from the nation's Treasury and are being used to finance a multi-million dollar propaganda campaign to promote the Bush Agenda's transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class, to the super rich.
Bush has proposed cutting $51 billion from the nation's life saving domestic programs during the next five years, which includes cuts from housing programs for Aids patients, disabled housing programs, Medicaid, food stamps and a host of other life saving types of vitally needed programs.
In comparison, the House of Representative's budget calls for a catastrophic $69 billion in cuts in these same programs, compared to the Senate's disastrous proposal to cut $32 billion from the nation's life saving programs.
Overall, the Bush Administration proposes massive cuts in all domestic discretionary spending over the next 5 years. The House proposes a $216 billion cut in services or 14% below current services in the House bill, and the Senate proposes a $207 billion cut or 13% below current services in the Senate bill.
Most troubling to many housing activists, is the Bush Administration's proposal to end the federal rule that requires 75% of the Section 8 vouchers to go to the poorest of the poor.
Activists have been urging the public to tell their Representatives and Senators not to support any bill that caps discretionary and mandatory spending, and to oppose any efforts to end the federal rule that 75% of the housing vouchers must go to the poorest of the poor.
The proposed cuts are called for because Bush is insisting on another new round of five-year tax cuts totaling $100 billion for his wealthy constituents. The proposed House budget is calling for $106 billion in tax cuts, while the Senate version calls for $70 billion in tax cuts, for the wealthy. These are in addition to the $1.7 trillion in tax cuts already granted to the wealthy by the Bush Administration since 2001, that Congress wants to extend for several more years.
The Bush Administration has established an orchestrated behind the scenes propaganda machine, to convince the American public that it's draconian policies are benign.
Phony news broadcasts in the form of a Video News Release (VNR's) are coming from the nation's Government Agencies, and are proliferating throughout the country in the local media news rooms, to promote the Bush Agenda. They are being aired as phony news stories meant to convince the American public that multi-trillion dollar tax cuts for the wealthy, are good for the poor and the rest of the nation.
While the propaganda VNR's are used to distract the public away from the latest attacks on the nations domestic programs that are taking place, the GOP (self proclaimed Party of God) is moving with lightening speed to shift the nations wealth from the middle class and the poor, to the filthy rich.
During the week of March 14, the GOP members in the House and Senate budget committee's have been passing resolutions to lock in the huge tax cuts for the rich, while similtaneously cutting the budgets for the nations low-income programs.
Scant attention by the mainstream media has actually taken place over the budget cuts, while it instead has focused on the Congressional Hearings about steroid use by corporate atheletes.
Across the nation, opposition protests have been taking place to save all of the programs coming under attack, and hardly a day passes by anymore when daily protests are not being watched on the evening news broadcasts. Even so, there are few details being offered as to why the protests are taking place.
"People need to protest these cuts", says Dee Strandvold. "Bush and the Governor of California may have plenty of money, but others don't".
When the Bush Administration promotes more tax cuts for the rich, they really intend to make more budget cuts to the nations domestic programs. As they promote an ownership society for the rich by shifting the resources that have been granted to the poor, over to the wealthy, it has become apparent that it will have disastrous consequences for the people that are being left behind, without the proper life support systems needed to assist them.
Up until now, the Section 811 program has provided nearly equal amounts of funding each year since 1998, so that nonprofit developers could finance the new construction of disabled housing units across the nation, including rent subsidies for disabled renters. This has resulted in more than 11,000 units of housing being developed for low-income people with disabilities.
But under the Bush Administration's 2006 budget proposal, the capital allocation for these projects would be terminated and we would see the overall budget cut by more than half.
Resources for Community Development (RCD), a non profit housing developer located in Berkeley, has a number of local Section 811 projects for the disabled, including two in Oakland, two in Berkeley and one in Emeryville.
"I heard that the cuts meant that there would be no new housing being constructed for the disabled", Dan Sawsilak of RCD said. "It's all very confusing, especially the proposed cuts to the Section 8 program. As of yet, we are really not sure how the proposed budget cuts will affect our existing projects for the disabled. The fact that the Bush Administration is proposing to eliminate the capital funding for disabled housing, is pretty awful", Sawsilak said.
The Bush Administration has requested extra funding for the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8 program) for FY 2006, so that housing vouchers may be offered to the disabled that may lose their housing if the current proposals are passed by the House and Senate. But, at the same time, the Bush Administration proposes to cut back on funding the Section 8 program until the year 2010, which places the disabled in double jeopardy.
In addition, no one could ever expect the mentally ill or those with spinal cord injuries to get out there and hustle in competition with the able bodied to find housing with the Section 8 housing vouchers yet, this is exactly what the Bush Administration is proposing.
Theres short time limits that have been placed on the vouchers for those searching for housing, and if the tenants cannot find a landlord to accept the vouchers before the clock stops ticking, the Public Housing Authorities take back the vouchers, and the tenants are shit out of luck.
Michele Rousey, resides in Section 811 housing for the disabled in Oakland, and has multiple diseases that have landed her in a wheelchair.
"Without my power wheelchair and the help I receive, I would be bedridden 24 hours a day", Michele Rousey said.
"People should speakup against these proposed cuts by contacting the Governor and the politicians in their local districts. I think it would be very helpful to go to rallies or protests to oppose the cuts that may affect them all".
"If the proposed budget cuts of the Governor and the Bush Administration take effect, it would make my rents impossible to pay where I am living and I would become homeless. Theres 44 units of disabled housing where I reside, and my neighbors and I know we will be affected in someway if the cuts take place. I think that everyone is too overwhelmed by too many cuts, in too many ways".
"It's not just one area being cut. Theres many cuts and they will all affect me. In-home support services, medical cuts and cuts to low-income housing programs. Everything all affects me. I feel like we are spiralling downwards back to the years we dreaded, back around 20 years ago. Our social system should not be going backwards. I want to let them know, they are putting my life on the line with all of these budget cuts. The Governor of California and the Bush Administration wants us to die. I'm scared that I will be put out on the street next year", Michele Rousey says.
According to the US Census Bureau during 2003, there were around 59,799,988 whites with disabliities in the US. Blacks account for around 11,363,674 disabled persons. Latinos account for around 7,507,442 with disabilities. Asians account for around 1,894,813 with disabilities and Native Americans account for around 1,039,560 persons with disabilities in the US. Thats around 81 million disabled persons and more in the US, as of 2003.
Calls made to Larry Bush, the spokes-person at the Regional HUD Headquarters in San Francisco, were not returned.
Activists are urging the public to oppose the cuts to the Housing Assistance Programs by calling their Representatives at the Toll Free Congressional Switchboard at; 1/888/818-6641
Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule (at) yahoo.com or 510/763-1085
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