Milwaukee organization urges legislators to vote no on budget cuts for service organizations

Public Allies Milwaukee will lead a local initiative for the national ‘Save Service Day,’ an effort to protest the passing of a measure in the national budget proposal.

Public Allies Milwaukee will lead a local initiative for the national ‘Save Service Day,’ an effort to protest the passing of a measure in the national budget proposal. Public Allies, along with supporters, will visit congressional offices in the area today to urge senators to save funding for service organizations like AmeriCorp, City Year and Habitat for Humanity.
Supporters will visit district offices of Representative Gwen Moore, Senator Ron Johnson and Senator Herb Kohl today as part of a national effort to highlight the community impact of proposed federal budget cuts to local organizations providing education, youth development, environment, shelter and health care services.
According to Diane Bacha, marketing and communications director for Public Allies National, a measure included in the recent budget passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, HR 1, would eliminate the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal entity through which initiatives including City Year, Habitat for Humanity, Milwaukee Community Service Corps, Public Allies, Teach for America, and others receive funding.
"We are working in a coalition with a number of organizations trying to facilitate the awareness of this,” Bacha said. “It effects thousands of service jobs and service volunteers in our community at a time when a lot of people need basic food, shelter, health care, job training and educational support.”
The measure would eliminate more than $37.4 million in funding statewide for AmeriCorps, Learn & Serve, Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions and RSVP, Bacha said.
It would also eliminate the services of more than 3,174 people of all ages in metro Milwaukee who currently serve through national service and terminate more than 2,400 AmeriCorps positions statewide, which also means $13.5 million in earned AmeriCorps education awards that fund tuition or help to repay student loans wouldn’t exist.
Representative Gwen Moore voted against the bill when it was presented to the House of Representatives last week. The group hopes to convince senators Johnson and Kohl to vote against the bill when it is presented to the senate next week.

“We believe it is very important to send a very clear message to people in congress about how passionate we are about saving these services,” Bacha said. “This is not going to be a riot or a protest. We want to thank Gwen Moore for being a supporter of this effort and urge senators Johnson and Kohl to support these organizations and the communities they represent.”
Those interested in supporting the cause are invited to join Public Allies on its visits to the representatives. Supporters should gather at Public Allies office, 611 N. Broadway at 11:30 a.m., Bacha said.

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