Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall is in the Air - and that means Changes

The weather in the Greater Boston area is signalling the end of summer and start of fall.  Within a day we went from 80s to 70s and now, about a week later, we're in the 60s with a frost anticipated for some northern areas tonight.

With the seasonal change comes budget changes for organizations on certain types of funding (funding cycle of Oct-Sept for many) and that means shifting resources to maintain services.  Sometimes it means changing services and it invariably means a rethinking/revisiting how well we are meeting our mission.

This year starts our particularly rough for many.  Funding has been reduced for a great many organizations and programs.  Fuel Assistance this year has a $400 maximum unless more funds are approved legislatively; that's not even one tank of oil!  More and more people are unemployed but out of UI (Unemployment Insurance) funds.  Companies are practicing the illegal but hard-to-prove craft of not hiring older workers or not hiring workers who have been unemployed for more than 6 months.  There's even a petition someone started on the Internet to pressure Monster and CareerBuilder from accepting job postings that state the employer wants someone who is "currently employed."  I haven't seen those job ads, but I'm not job searching.  If I were, and if this is true, I'd be plenty angry. 

As the colder weather moves in and makes things even more difficult for the poor and homeless, we can do something.
  • Start following the budget talks in Washington.  
  • Talk  to our state and federal legislators.  
  • Urge our federal legislators to pass our message along to the Super Committee that they must also focus on revenue generation and not just try to cut back on programs and services. 
  • Volunteer, if you have the time, so local nonprofits can continue their much-needed services.
  • Be vocal about how you are affected by proposed cuts in services
  • Think about ways your community can increase revenues and talk with your local legislators.
 If we think, engage, and work together, we should be able to make a difference in our communities.  Those who are served by our efforts need our help.