In the sixth post on the federal sequester’s impact on Nebraska’s kids we will investigates cuts to programs that assist low-income families on their path to economic self-sufficiency. See the first five posts in the sequester series here: Sequester Overview, Head Start, Education, Public Health, and Child Care.
We want all families to be able to meet the basic needs of their children without assistance, but the road from poverty to financial stability is a hard struggle. Federal budget cuts will impact several programs that help families find work and secure housing and move toward a stable financial future for themselves and their children.
Nebraska is poised to lose $460,000 in funding for job search assistance, referrals, and job placement services. This means that 14,400 Nebraskans will lose assistance in their job search. As a result, unemployment and under-employment may become more common for working Nebraskans. Fewer workers will be able to get the training they need to work in specialized fields with higher wages. Even in families with two working adults making minimum wage, they will still not make the income necessary to achieve the family economic self-sufficiency standard. Without these important job training and placement assistance services, more families will stay in poverty and be reliant on the social services system.
Another area the sequester will impact is housing assistance. This week the Lincoln Journal Star reported that 180 housing vouchers for families will be eliminated in Lincoln (the statewide the number will be higher). The sequester eliminates 5-8 % of funds for Housing and Urban Development. The wait list for housing vouchers is already several years long, and these cuts will only increase the wait. This means that more Nebraska families and children will be homeless or live in unsafe, substandard housing.
The cycle of poverty is hard to break. Cuts to these programs will make it harder for families who are struggling to reach economic stability, let alone meet the basic needs of their children.