Advocates: No Utahns are Disposable

(KCPW News) Social service advocates gathered at the Utah Capitol’s dumpster Tuesday, hoping to send the message to lawmakers that there are no disposable members of society.  The group held signs and handwritten letters protesting expected cuts to health and human services.

“I’m 19 years old and I am homeless and cuts to these services are going to greatly affect me, I am having difficulty getting by as it is,” said Parker Gibson.

Gibson was just one of dozens of people who gathered to express his concern.  Advocates say it’s still early in the session, but the proposed seven percent cut across the board would hit them hardest in Medicaid and other programs people rely on.

Linda Hilton is the Director for the Coalition of Religious Communities. She says there are some priorities the legislature should put on the back burner to help the most needy.

“In a few years when the economy is better, let’s build more buildings, let’s expand structures, let’s put in more highways and trails, but for now, let’s focus on what is really vitally important to the most vulnerable in Utah,” she said.

Hilton worries that there’s a misconception among some lawmakers that churches and other charitable organizations can pick up the slack if state funding is cut. She says that isn’t the case, because charitable groups are already stretched to their capacity.