2006 SSBG Sign-On Letter to Senate and House Leadership
March 16, 2006
TO: House and Senate Leadership
As you move forward in the consideration of the fiscal year 2007 budget, we strongly encourage you to reject any proposals to reduce funding to the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). In recent years SSBG has been recognized as an important and critical source of human service funding for those most in need. Congress has supported increased funding for SSBG as a source recent hurricane relief, as well as a resource for recovery from the September 11th tragedy. The flexibility of SSBG funding allowed support to reach communities to meet their unique needs and further illustrated its role as a key safety net program.
During the welfare reform debate of 1996 the Congress and the Governors agreed to reduce SSBG funding to $2.38 billion for 5 years and then return it to its former level of $2.8 billion in 2003.These reductions were agreed to at a time when members of both parties and both chambers were looking for avenues to balance the federal budget. SSBG contributed to deficit reduction and was to be restored to full funding in 2003 when the fiscal condition improved. Unfortunately, the funding level was reduced in 1998 and is currently $1.7 billion a year. These cuts in SSBG has forced social services providers to discontinue services to children, families, the elderly and people with disabilities, and reduce benefits for vulnerable families. Further reductions in this program in tandem with cuts already made to programs serving vulnerable population will only hurt more families and force communities to cut critical services.
The Social Services Block Grant has bipartisan and bicameral support and has the strong support of state associations, faith-based organizations, and other service providers and advocates for vulnerable populations. We hope you will join in with us in supporting this important program and reject any and all proposals to reduce SSBG funding.
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