Meetings to gauge the impact of cuts on poor
TAMPA - A series of town hall meetings dealing with how government budget cuts hurt low-income people will start Monday night at Beulah Baptist Institutional Church. The meetings are sponsored by two nonprofit organizations, For the Family and Pastors on Patrol. Parents, seniors and others will have the opportunity to describe how budget cuts have affected government services on which they depend, said Ward Cox, administrator of For the Family. Cox said he hopes the meetings will remove the “out of sight, out of mind” view that feeds reductions in services for the poor and vulnerable. “I just felt that there’s not enough attention paid to the actual human impact of budget cuts,” Cox said. “You do things to social programs and it isn’t just a line item. It impacts families, children and the elderly.”Cox said the cuts have hurt human services at the local, state and federal level, including after-school and summer activities, early literacy programs, Medicaid reimbursements for health care to the poor and developmentally disabled, and adult education. “I felt there wasn’t enough balance at a time when high unemployment is a problem and you cut job programs,” Cox said. “And at a time when health care is so important, you had systematic cuts in those programs at the state and federal levels.” Monday night’s meeting at Beulah Baptist Church, 1006 W. Cypress St., starts at 7 p.m. and lasts for two hours. Later meetings will be at Christ the King Catholic Church in South Tampa on May 20, and at Bloomingdale Library on May 28. For information, call Cox at (813) 932-1477, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.