Delco Residents Explain How Budget Cuts Impact Their Lives

May 25, 2012

Delaware County Press ConferenceDelaware County residents sent a message to Harrisburg on Thursday: Cuts hurt people's lives and lawmakers should make better choices.

The Delaware County Daily Times had a report on the Delaware County press conference that featured local citizens and advocates explaining what is at stake in this budget. The event was coordinated by PathWays PA, Family and Community Service of Delaware County, and the Southeastern PA Budget Coalition.

Here's a highlight from the Daily Times story:

Marlena Williams, a young mother from Philadelphia, said she found shelter for her two young children last year at a PathWays PA residential program in Delaware County. Williams said that while she has made some progress in the past year, Corbett’s budget cuts will make it difficult for her to obtain her GED. 

In addition to cuts to education, people are also concerned about cuts to the General Assistance cash program.

“General Assistance saved my life,” said Upper Darby resident Julie Schnepp, a U.S. Army veteran and former recipient of the program.

People who receive General Assistance include disabled or sick adults without children, domestic violence survivors, adults caring for someone who is sick or disabled, and adults participating in alcohol and other drug treatment programs. In Delaware County, qualified General Assistance recipients receive about $200 a month through the program.

Advocates, including Family and Community Service of Delaware County Executive Director Alan Edelstein, have argued that cutting the General Assistance program will eventually drive up costs if the recipients of the funds are left destitute. The advocates predict the lost funding will place additional strain on homeless shelters and emergency rooms.

“It’s more cost effective to keep the program in the long run,” said Edelstein, who held an oversized pie prop during the news conference.

[Marianne] Bellesorte [of Pathways PA] provided suggestions for avoiding program cuts, such as closing corporate tax loopholes, taxing smokeless tobacco and scaling back on business tax breaks. She said that while people are encouraged by the restoration of funds in the state Senate budget proposal, there is still a lot that needs to be done.