Fundraiser brings awareness to homelessness

June 23, 2011 12:56:56 PM PDT
A San Francisco group is heating up its fight to protect $8 million in funding for services -- primarily for the city's homeless and low-income populations -- slated to be cut from the 2011-2012 budget with a bake sale fundraiser this afternoon.

The Budget Justice Coalition is holding a "Cookies Not Cuts" bake sale on the City Hall steps from noon to 1:30 p.m. to raise money and awareness for programming for low-income residents. The funding is on the chopping block according to budget recommendations made by Mayor Ed Lee.

Treats will be sold based upon voluntary donations -- anywhere from $1 to $10 million -- to raise money for homeless, mental health, substance abuse, violence prevention, legal services and other programs, said Jennifer Friedenbach, the director of the Coalition on Homelessness and an event organizer.

"We left it off with the mayor that we would work together to restore reductions," she said. "And now we are hoping the Board of Supervisors will do that."

The coalition will deliver a special baked good package to each supervisor before a public budget hearing on Friday with the board, Friedenbach said.

Service Employees International Union Local 1021 is part of the coalition hoping to stop another year of cuts.

Four years of reductions have left programs "down to bare bones," according to SEIU 1021 spokesman Steve Stallone. SEIU represents service providers at a number of community nonprofits that will have to reduce hours, staffing and services if the cuts go through.

"You have fewer people trying to provide the same kinds of services," Stallone said. "The ones who end up keeping their jobs have bigger case loads. It's harder to get their work done. It's hard to provide quality service."

Proceeds from today's bake sale will be raffled off to a community nonprofit, Friedenbach said.

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