Okie Charities Do Brisk Business Amid Budget Cuts

  • Joe Wertz

Facing government cutbacks, more Oklahomans are relying on charities for support, according to a report in The Oklahoman.

In its annual report, Catholic Charities noted an increase in its emergency rent and utility program. In 2010, 1,645 residents and 635 families received assistance. Only 1,530 residents were given assistance in 2009, the paper reported.

Cutbacks are also impacting state agencies that assist Oklahomans in need. The Department of Human Services suffered a 1.2 percent cut this fiscal year, which The Oklahoman said amounts to a $6 million loss in annual funding. The DHS was also hit by a loss of one-time federal money.

DHS, which was allotted $537 million in the 2012 budget, is looking for ways to cut $40 million from its budget, $7.5 million of which will be saved by raising the co-pay for families receiving childcare assistance.

Gov. Mary Fallin told the paper that bringing “more and better jobs into the state” is the key to decreasing the amount of Oklahomans living in poverty.

“The results so far have been encouraging: unemployment has dropped to a 28-month low and revenues are continuing to increase,” Fallin told The Oklahoman. It’s clear we are moving in the right direction.”