State Rep. Johnson "Cannot Stand" For Wiping Out Re-Entry Program, Homeless Help Funds

Aside from those education cuts, there's also the very real possibility that the state will do away with the Project Reintegration of Offenders and all Homeless Housing and Services Program funding. The former -- which, per the Texas Workforce Commission, "provides a link between education, training and employment during incarceration with employment, training and education after release" -- is presently funded with $19.4 million. The latter -- which, per the Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs, provides "services to homeless individuals and families, including services such as case management, and housing placement and retention" -- currently receives $20 million from the state.

But in the House's current budget proposal, both programs have been eradicated to clear out some of the $27-billion budget shortfall. Which means The Bridge, for instance, could lose $1 million annually, "forcing it to turn away as many as 300 people a day." And State Rep. Eric Johnson -- a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources, Business and Economic Development, and Regulatory -- says in a statement released today that those cuts won't cut it:

"The elimination of Project RIO and state Homeless Housing and Services funding will have a drastic impact on those members of our society who face the most daunting challenges and conditions. I cannot stand for reducing to zero funding for these programs, even in belt-tightening times like those we face today. ...

"I am deeply concerned that the proposed cuts contained in HB1 will result in a major step backwards for our state, and we will see increasing recidivism and more homeless on our streets and in our psychiatric hospitals. Failing to provide these individuals early support, through Project RIO and Homeless Housing and Services funds, is likely to prove very costly to Texas in the long run."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky