Saturday, March 05, 2005

More Effects of Proposed Bush Budget Cuts on Local Neighborhoods

I have been writing in recent weeks on the planned Bush cuts to the federal budget, including those to the Block Grant program and to COPS.

More and more bad news for urban neighborhoods is coming to the surface the more President Bush's planned budget cuts are analyzed.

The latest stats are from various sources via the Democratic National Committee:
  • Bush’s Budget Cuts Funding for Tennessee’s COPS Program. Bush’s 2006 budget cuts funding for the Community Oriented Police program, which has put 2,351 police on the streets in Tennessee. [DOJ, 10/19/04; Budget of the US Government, 2/05]
  • Bush Budget Eliminates Grants to Help Tennessee Local Drug Task Forces. “Two federal grants that have helped fund local law enforcement will be reduced 36 percent this year and may be eliminated from the budget next year, officials said. The Edward Byrne Memorial Grant, which funds the 26 judicial drug task forces across the state, and the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant will be eliminated, officials said. … Ricky Smith, the director of the 12th Judicial District Drug Task Force, said his budget comes almost entirely from a $96,000 Byrne grant. ‘We can manage a year or a year and a half, but I think eventually you are going to see drug task forces across the state eventually go out of business,’ Mr. Smith said.” [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 2/12/05]
Also, the Bush cuts threaten to destroy the "Hope VI" program, which has rejuvenated the communities of Vine Hill, Preston Taylor, John Henry Hale Homes, and Sam Levy Homes in Nashville. Via the DNC:
  • Bush’s 2005 budget proposes to eliminate the HOPE VI program, and requests that Congress rescind the $143 million it had already approved in the 2005 budget. Congress has rebuffed similar requests in the past to eliminate HOPE VI, which helps housing agencies replace dilapidated public housing units with mostly larger townhouses and detached homes to create mixed-income communities. [Washington Post, 2/7/05; Associated Press, 2/7/05; Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2006, 2/7/05]
Preston Taylor and John Henry Hale Homes sit in north-by-northwest neighborhoods. Hence, the Bush cuts hit close to home. We still have a number of very old and crumbling public housing projects in other urban neighborhoods that will only continue to deteriorate without federal help.
Hope VI represents a unique partnership where Metro government and other public, private and non-profit agencies match federal funds allocated to renovate and enhance the quality of urban life. It gives local institutions the opportunity for good works that they otherwise could not afford on their own.

03/06/2005 Update: Here's a piece I missed from Friday's Tennessean on Hope VI and the John Henry Hale Homes.

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