The Asian American Federation of Florida (AAFF) is a 501(c)(3) coalition that aims to unity and collaboration among the various Asian Pacific American organizations and to improve the relationship of a culturally diverse Asian Pacific American community in Florida. The AAFF is a statewide organization made up of more than 70 Bangladesh, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Iranian, Korean, Laotian, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese community-based organizations, businesses and media.


Proposed Federal Budget Cuts to Devastate Senior, Family, Housing


and Health Programs Across the Country


On March 17, 2011  organizations representing and serving Asian American and Pacific Islander communities across the country joined together to express their alarm in response to proposed cuts to federal support for essential services for seniors, children, and the poor.  This week, Congress approved extending funding for federal programs until April 8.   Community leaders gathered at press conferences in San Francisco , New York City, Seattle , and Los Angeles to express their concerns.

At a senior center in San Francisco ’s Chinatown , David Chiu, President of the city’s Board of Supervisors, said:  "Our communities are facing a very serious threat.  The proposal in Congress would cut our ability to address basic needs such as providing food and shelter for seniors and the poor.  And the cuts to community development, schools, and job training would make it impossible for us to adequately compete in the world economy. The Republicans’ budget proposal threatens not only people who need help today, it also threatens our future."

In Flushing , New York , community organizations gathered at a health center serving a predominantly Asian immigrant neighborhood.  The center is one of many health centers that would lose funding under the budget proposal.  "Immigrant and low income communities such as ours will be especially hit hard by cuts to essential services.  We need to fight these cuts or we will lose health centers and other community resources," said Douglas Nam Le, a manager for Asian Americans for Equality.

Prior to the press conference in Flushing , New York City Councilwoman Margaret Chin noted: “Funding for these types of programs is incredibly important particularly for the Asian-American community. We are already underserved by City, State, and Federal programs relative to the growing size of our population. In addition, the API community has language and cultural competency needs that make targeted programs that much more essential. Even and especially in these tough fiscal times, government must work to protect services for our communities."

In Seattle , Washington ,  elected officials and community leaders gathered at a public housing development to express their concerns.  "It is important that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders speak out in this debate," says Hyeok Kim the executive director of InterIm CDA, a nonprofit neighborhood development organization. "That is why we are joining together across the country to explain how these cuts will hurt families, children, and seniors.”

In Los Angeles , over a dozen directors of programs raised their opposition to the budget at a Filipinotown community center serving youth and families.  “This week, Congress extended programs for only three additional weeks.  This could be the last extension," said Lisa Hasegawa, of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development. "We have only a few weeks left to save critical programs for our communities. Now is the time to act."

On March 11, a letter signed by over seventy organizations representing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from fifteen states was delivered to Senate Leader Harry Reid and Senator Daniel Inouye.  The letter expressed concerns over the budget proposal and opposition to the cuts to essential programs.  Another set of letters are planned for other Senators and Representatives.

“There is an obvious need to control spending in the face of economic crisis,” said Dr. Joy Bruce, President of the Asian American Federation of Florida. “But it does not make sense to eliminate housing counseling programs when more than two million homeowners are facing foreclosure, or to cut 45% of funding for community health centers and eliminate access to primary care services for 11 million at-risk patients in medically underserved neighborhoods.”

The following is a partial description of major programs threatened by the budget cuts:

  • Senior Community Service Employment Program: Will face a 90% cut from Fiscal Year 2010 levels.  This is the only federal program that focuses on connecting low-income older Americans to viable employment opportunities.
  • Social Security Administration: A $1.7 billion cut (8.5%) will result in longer delays in benefits for retirees, injured workers and their dependents, and survivors of deceased workers.
  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG): Cut by $2.9 B or 66% from FY2010 levels.  This program is HUD’s largest single grant program for community development and services.
  • Community Health Centers: Funding for hundreds of primary care facilities cut by $1billion or 45% of FY2010 levels.  
  • HUD housing counseling: Frontline counseling for families facing foreclosures and evictions eliminated. 
  • Corporation for National and Community Service (including AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps):  Barely survives with a 90% cut from FY 2010 levels. 
  • Head Start: The nation’s premier pre-school program cut by 15% from FY2010 levels and, as with a number of other programs, cuts off needed expansion that was originally proposed in this year’s budget.
  • Youthbuild: Eliminated.  One of many job readiness and training programs cut or terminated.  
  • Community Development Financial Institutions Fund: cut by 80%.
  • HOPE VI: Zero funded.  While imperfect, HOPE VI is the primary program to re-build aging public housing.   As with a few other programs, the bill would also take back most HOPE VI funding allocated for last year and reduce the funding for repairs to existing units.

“These massive budget cuts will severely impact our ability to provide basic services in the communities that we serve,” claimed Evelyn Bruce, Executive Director of NANAY, Inc., a non-profit community-based organization that provides supportive services to elders, after-school program for youth, homebuyer education, and counseling for families facing foreclosure or victims of loan scams in Florida.  

In a survey of 58 community based organizations that serve AAPI communities, the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development found that 79% of the organizations, including NANAY, receive funding from CDBG, and/or HUD’s housing counseling program.

The Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are encouraged to  send a message to Congress regarding the impact of this year’s federal funding on jobs, homes, and well being of our youth and seniors.  Members of Congress need to hear from communities concerned about the proposal to cut essential services.

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Local contact: Joy Bruce, Asian American Federation of Florida , (305) 951-5552

National contact: Gen Fujioka, National CAPACD, 415-297-5415

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