Budget cuts jeopardize homeless programs

April 4, 2011 4:00:56 PM PDT
There are nine non-profits that help homeless people in Wake County and commissioners are considering cutting their budgets by 25 percent.

Advocates are fired up about the possible cuts, saying slashing the budget would do major damage in the short run and cost taxpayers much more in the long run.

"It's critical because we're depending on it," said Beth Bordeaux, PLM Families Together.

Bordeaux is the executive director of PLM Families Together. It's a non-profit that gets homeless families off the street and back into permanent, stable housing.

Thirty-eight percent of the agency's money comes from the county and Bordeaux says a 25 percent cut would have very real consequences.

"That's 35 families a year that would have been receiving services and moving back into stable housing, and if we don't get that, then you're looking at that kind of cut in the people we can serve."

PLM is one of the nine non-profits in danger of the 25 percent cuts. PLM, along with the other groups, made a united appeal to county commissioners Monday.

Representatives from the Women's Center, CASA, Haven House, Interact, Passage Home, PLM, Triangle Family Services, Urban Ministries and Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network all had the same message.

"Any cuts in Wake County's funding to these agencies is bad math that will create more problems than solutions," said.

The groups' collective pitch is that the $211,000 the county is considering cutting from the agencies' budgets would cost far more down the road -- about $2.5 million in back end services.

"It's a no-brainer thing to me," Bordeaux said. "It's a drop in the bucket when you look at the county budget."

The cuts are only under consideration right now as part of the budget process.

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