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Human Statistics of Budget Cuts

March 29, 1985

Federal budget deliberations. Dry, dull, dragged out, difficult to follow. Why should we care? How can we understand them?

We can look at the human statistics as well as the financial.

Under President Reagan's proposed budget, the community services block grant to the City of Los Angeles would be eliminated completely, and the community development block grant would be cut by 24%.

This would mean a loss of $5 million that goes directly into services for the neediest people in our city: 47,000 people will lose child care, food, health care, emergency shelter, crisis and legal counseling, rehabilitative services and delinquency prevention programs.

The nonprofit community organizations that provide these services have built on the base of community block grant funds, adding their own volunteers, community resources and private contributions to make a far greater impact than these federal dollars alone could have.

This cut in block grant funds would mean a 47% reduction in public services, potential defunding of the city's current 125 programs, and the loss of essential services to 47,000 individuals. And yet there has been little media attention to it. It is just one small part of the omnibus budget reconciliation bill, and its importance is unfortunately so easy to overlook. We can't let that happen.

FERN SEIZER

Venice

Seizer is executive director of the Venice Family Clinic.

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