Save the Civilian Community Corp.  

redmustang91 57M  
8703 posts
3/16/2006 8:50 am
Save the Civilian Community Corp.

The Federal Budget is over a Trillion dollars and they are trying to cut the little Civilian Community Corp. which is like a home grown Peace Corp. for disaster relief and save $27 Million! Wrong priorities and not too smart. These young people get some good experience and help out.

Save the Civilian Community Corps
The federal government did a lot wrong after Hurricane Katrina. But it did right by immediately dispatching well-trained teams from the National Civilian Community Corps, an elite arm of AmeriCorps, the nation's flagship domestic service program. President Bush posed for pictures with volunteers – and then sent a budget to Capitol Hill that sets up the program to be eliminated.

The civilian corps includes some 1,100 highly motivated full-time volunteers, ages 18 to 24, who are based on five residential campuses for rapid deployment when emergencies arise, like wildfires and hurricanes. Apart from lodging, members receive transportation and a food allowance (typically just $25 a week), plus a daily stipend of $13.60. Upon completing 10 months' service, members receive AmeriCorps's standard educational award, $4,725.

Other volunteer outfits, including some within AmeriCorps, also provide help with disaster relief. But the Civilian Community Corps is unique because of its focus on disaster training and rapid response, and the overall intensity of its efforts. For more than six months, corps members have been a large presence in the Gulf Coast region, helping to organize volunteers, serving as caseworkers for displaced and separated families, and performing a lot of nasty clean-up work. If the administration were really serious about homeland security, it would be expanding the corps, not killing it.

But Mr. Bush's budget proposal for the next fiscal year contains only enough money to shut down the corps. Other parts of AmeriCorps are hit with much smaller but nevertheless damaging cuts.

David Eisner, chief executive of the corporation that oversees AmeriCorps, does not dispute the Civilian Community Corps's effectiveness. He says he was "heartbroken" to recommend its elimination, but says the step is necessary, given the tough budget times and the higher costs associated with fielding members of that program, compared with other AmeriCorps participants. It's hard to follow this logic because the program's whole budget is under $27 million, and there is no question that the public gets its money's worth. The marginally higher cost of disaster and quick-response training for community corps members is a productive investment for homeland security and for molding leaders steeped in the value of community service.

The administration has it backward. Losing this model program is unaffordable

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