Friday, February 11, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott's budget slashes spending for homeless

Last year, agencies that help Florida's homeless received nearly
$7 million in state funding to assist more than 74,000 people.

But that money was wiped out of the Gov Rick Scott's budget, which calls for elimination of the state's Office of Homelessness.

His dramatic slashes to the budget target some of the state's most vulnerable groups.

"It is probably the most callous, destructive, hurtful, archaic budget that you could put forward in a state like this," said Rep. Mark Pafford, a Democrat from West Palm Beach who is co-sponsoring a bill that would provide tax breaks to businesses that give homeless people jobs.

The Office of Homelessness, which last year had a budget of $19.2 million, has been a target before, said Rayme Nuckles, who leads the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County. "Historically, those individuals in the state who are the most vulnerable always end up taking the brunt of the cuts. So we're always prepared to advocate for the needs of those who are less fortunate."

But what's disturbing about Scott's proposal, he said, is that rather than just not funding the Office of Homelessness, as has been suggested during previous budget crunches, Scott proposes repealing the legislation that created it.

Read the St. Petersburg Times report here.


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