Hard Times

By Mary Nelson 12-05-2008

Recently, West Side Chicago folks went down to the state Capitol, seeking release of long-overdue reimbursements for services to homebound elderly - $1 million outstanding, enough to cripple a struggling community development corporation. We stood outside the governor's door, our chant loudly echoing through the halls of the Capitol:

Blagovich, Hynes, pay your bills;
the community suffers, pay your bills;
seniors suffer, pay your bills;
you're making hard times, pay your bills.

Meanwhile, paydays are delayed, salaries cut, and people laid off. Our controller said the state is out of money; legislators and the governor blamed each other. Nothing happens, and yet we must still provide the services. Thirty-one states are in fiscal crisis; cities and counties are slashing budgets. And they're slashing the very survival programs for the poor.

The economic crunch, as we all know, is not only a matter of investments and credit on Wall Street and Main Street. It deeply impacts low-income families and low-wealth communities as a whole. In our low-wealth community, we don't debate whether we're in a recession or depression; we know we are in HARD TIMES. It is not a matter of shopping; in our community, it is life-challenging issues of food, medicine, rent, and jobs.

Poor and low-income communities are mostly left out of the conversation and the bailout plans. At least unemployment payments have been extended, but so much more urgent action is needed.

Speak out for those who cannot speak, Speak out

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