Friday, October 23, 2009

MoCo Non-Profits Protest Safety Net Cuts in D.C.

A coalition of non-profits in Montgomery County has sent a letter to the Mayor and City Council in the District of Columbia protesting budget cuts targeting vulnerable people. This should be no surprise given that need knows no borders. We reprint the letter below.

October 9, 2009

Honorable Adrian Fenty
Executive Office of the Mayor
1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 316
Washington, DC 20004

Honorable Vincent C. Gray
Council Chairman
1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Mr. Fenty and Mr. Gray:

As partners in service to the vulnerable, the Safety Net Coalition of Montgomery County writes to urge re-consideration of the recent serious cuts to services to the vulnerable in the District of Columbia. As part of the safety net in our community dedicated to serving the most vulnerable of our neighbors, we know there is a long list of needed services that should be funded to alleviate the challenges faced by our low income community. We also know that the District, the metropolitan region and Federal government are facing revenue challenges because of the recession.

The failing economy is being felt at every level in our community. As a neighboring jurisdiction, we are inter-related in community need and ability to respond to that need. Revenues are reduced and needs are growing. Economic pressures and anxieties make every day more difficult and dangerous for those we serve. Our fragile safety net is fraying, and we are asking you for leadership in this difficult time.

We speak as One Voice for the Vulnerable on behalf of those we serve, regardless of the street or zip code. We urge you to:

1. Protect your most vulnerable residents by prioritizing and holding harmless safety net services (such as food, clothing and shelter) as difficult budget decisions are enacted.

2. Make budget reductions in a systemic way. Consider how multiple cuts across Departments affect not only individuals but also the nonprofits, congregations and public sector agencies providing these services.

3. Consider the cumulative effects of “cuts” to the nonprofit community on their ability to leverage District dollars. Even as nonprofits offer millions of private sector and Federal dollars on an ongoing basis to the District – these dollars are shrinking also.

4. Recognize that nonprofits and congregations are prime providers of critical social services in the District of Columbia.

Too many of our neighbors are without adequate services and decent housing and the numbers are increasing. The most vulnerable in our community must not be left to compete with non-critical expenses. We recognize that the budget must address many important safety, health and education issues. However, as a compassionate and responsible community, we urge you to sustain program funding for our most vulnerable.

We appreciate your leadership and support of these important matters.

With best regards,
Rebecca Wagner
Executive Director
Interfaith Works

Sharon Friedman
Executive Director
Mental Health Association
(301) 424-0656 – Ext. 510

Sharan London
Executive Director
Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless
(301) 217-0314

Tim Wiens
Executive Director
Jubilee Association of Maryland, Inc.
(301) 949-8628 - Ext. 105

The Safety Net Coalition: One Voice for the Vulnerable
• A Wider Circle
• Abilities Network
• African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation
• Am Kolel Sanctuary
• Arc of Montgomery County
• Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center
• Bethesda Cares
• Caribbean Help Center
• Casa de Maryland
• Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
• Center for Adoption Support and Education
• CHI, Inc.
• City of Gaithersburg
• Collaboration Council
• Community Ministries of Rockville
• Community Support Services, Inc.
• Crittenton Services of Greater Washington
• Dwelling Place
• Gandhi Brigade
• Gaithersburg HELP
• GUIDE, Inc.
• Holy Cross Hospital
• Hughes Neighborhood Housing
• Identity, Inc.
• Impact Silver Spring
• Interfaith Works
• Jewish Community Relations Council
• Jewish Council on Aging
• Jewish Foundation for Group Homes
• Jewish Social Service Agency
• Jubilee Association of Maryland
• Justice and Advocacy Council of Montgomery County, Archdiocese of Washington
• Korean Community Service Center
• Latin American Youth Center/Maryland Multicultural Youth Center
• League of Women Voters, Montgomery County
• Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute of Catholic Charities
• Liberty's Promise
• Manna Food Center
• Maryland Vietnamese Mutual Association
• Mental Health Association of Montgomery County
• Mercy Clinic
• Mobile Medical Care
• Montgomery Alliance
• Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless
• Montgomery Housing Partnership
• NAMI Montgomery County
• National Center for Children and Families
• Potomac Community Resources
• Premier Homecare
• Primary Care Coalition
• Rainbow Place
• Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children
• Rock Creek Foundation
• SecureCare Services
• Shepherd's Table
• Silver Spring Interfaith Housing Coalition
• St. Luke's House
• Suburban Hospital
• Threshold Services
• Women Who Care Ministries
• YMCA of Metropolitan Washington

cc: Rev. Jim Dickerson, MANNA