STATEMENT BY CASEY HARDEN, INTERIM CEO, YWCA USA
“YWCA USA finds the administration’s proposed FY 2018 budget priorities cause for serious concern and immediate action. The budget includes massive cuts to programs that directly impact YWCAs and the families we serve while funneling funds into troubling initiatives like a border wall and increased deportation efforts.
“The full elimination of the Community Development Block Grant will pull the rug out from under community safety nets across the country. These funds support a variety of critical local YWCA projects from emergency and permanent housing for survivors of domestic violence, to after school programs, adult education, and career training for women and girls. This $3 billion grant is a slim percentage of the discretionary spending budget, but has a huge impact in the communities we serve. Further, the nature of the funding allows states and local municipalities the use the funding in a way that best serves the unique needs of their community. Eliminating block grant funding will not only eliminate critical services, it will eliminate an effective federal government funding model.
“We are also deeply troubled by the 18 percent cut to the Department of Health and Human Services and the 21 percent cut to the Department of Labor. These departments are responsible for administering programs that are crucial to the health, safety and economic security of women and families.
“Across-the-board cuts to social safety net programs will have a serious impact on low income families like the 2 million people helped in local YWCAs each year. These families will face even greater barriers to financial self-sufficiency if funding for supportive programs like housing, childcare, and job training is slashed at the federal level. Specifically, the elimination of funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) will further endanger the many women and children experiencing domestic violence and who rely on LSC to assist them in finding safety from abuse and violence. While we are concerned about cuts to federal work study funding, we are glad to see that the Pell Grant program was protected. All similar support programs should be protected and their funding maintained.
“YWCA will continue to push back against the administration’s racially motivated policies and the funding that could make them a reality. This includes funding for a border wall, increased efforts to detain and deport undocumented immigrants, increased policing without plans to reduce profiling, discrimination, and excessive force faced by communities of color, and counter-terrorism efforts that profile Muslims or any other religious, racial, or ethnic group.
“YWCA USA is a part of a global movement of 25 million women and girls engaged with YWCAs around the world. As such, we believe that maintaining funding for important United Nation’s initiatives, such as those related to climate change, is crucial for women here in the United States and across the globe. Women and girls have been and will continue to be those most affected by climate change impacts on every continent.
“YWCA USA calls on Congress to pass a federal budget that supports women and families who are trying to make ends meet, that helps build a fair and equitable United States, and that does not fund and promote policies that further marginalize communities of color. The budget priorities we see today, do not meet that aim.”
About YWCA USA
YWCA USA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The organization is one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation, serving over 2 million women, girls, and their families each year. Learn more: www.ywca.org.