The following post was written by long-time supporter, friend and University Settlement Board member, Steve Schall:
I recently met with fellow Board members and executive staff at University Settlement and our affiliate, The Door. The discussion focused on the upcoming July-to-June fiscal year. Like many human service organizations, we have programs with tenuous government funding as well as programs whose vital services to low-income children, young people, adults, seniors and families have already been slashed.
We are talking about after-school programs closing, leaving more than 700 of our children with nowhere (safe and productive) to go; hundreds of children under the age of 5 with developmental delays unable to access even a measly 30 minutes of service a week. 30 minutes! And hundreds of runaway and homeless youth at risk of being cast out even more.
All this set to crumble around us as Congress literally rushed to address the "onerous" impact of flight delays caused by the 5% sequestration cuts on air traffic controllers. Last Thursday, as I sat in a meeting trying to wrap my mind around the tens of thousands of children and families whose lives will be at best stalled, at worst set in reverse by cuts to truly vital programs, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill that would end the furloughs of air traffic controllers.
I don't deny the necessity of efficient travel and I'm pleased that we don't have to count thousands of air traffic controllers among our country's unemployed, especially as that number will undoubtedly grow with parents losing the affordable childcare options that let them work. I do wonder - and I know I'm not alone - about the priorities of our nation's leaders when the threat of flight delays causes more panic than that of the life delays that will certainly accompany these cuts in human services.