AmeriCorps spared major cut in budget deal

Some local non-profit groups may be breathing a sigh of relief.  That's because federal budget cuts to community service organizations like AmeriCorps may not be as bad as first thought.

Republicans had wanted to completely eliminate funding for AmeriCorps, but in the compromise budget agreed to by the President and Congressional leaders, AmeriCorps will only see its budget cut by 6.7%.

Groups like the Volunteer and Information Center rely on AmeriCorps workers for valuable help.

"(We) need that person, need that staff, need that energy that these people come out of school to give," said Anne Rains, Volunteer Director for Hands on River Region.  "And they can do it at an affordable cost."

"There are so many people who are in need, who are without the resources in this community, their children would go days without eating," said Timberly Williams, an AmeriCorps worker, who helps with the 211 Hotline.

Williams' colleague Renee Chaffin is just a few years out of college, but has already started a youth volunteer program.

"We believe in peer on peer mentorship, the teens are able to work with elementary and middle school kids as well as the diverse groups that are on the board," Chaffin said.  "I cringe to think what would happen if it was cut, because I see the difference that my position has made in the youth that have volunteered with our council but the youth that we affect through our community service projects."

Jon Mason with the Governor's Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives told WSFA 12 News he's still waiting to see the full budget before he could determine what the full impact would be.  He said a 6.7% cut would likely still allow the AmeriCorps program to operate in the state.

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