Launched by Supervisor Wilma Chan, with support from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and ALL IN Alameda County, the Human Impact Budget Project explores the impact of these budget cuts on Alameda County residents. The project aims to share the stories of people impacted by cuts, provide facts regarding these trends, and empower people to take action.

Between 2008 and 2013, California cut over $15 billion from our social safety net – all during a time when people were losing their jobs, health insurance, and security. While the State budget and overall economy are improving, conditions for people dependent on safety net services have not. We need to develop innovative strategies and partnerships to increase opportunity for all. Alameda County children, families, people with disabilities and older adults have found it hard to meet their basic needs for food, housing, childcare, independent living services, and more.

As a result, Alameda County saw poverty rates spike dramatically. About 13% of Alameda County residents live below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), representing nearly 200,000 residents countywide. But this only begins to tell the story of poverty in the County. The cost of living is high in Alameda County, and studies show that a family of three would need more than $66,000 for minimal housing, child care, food, transportation and health care. The Federal Poverty Line for a family of three is just over $20,000. That tells us that many more than 200,000 Alameda County residents live in poverty

The need for a Human Impact Budget in Alameda County is clear once again with potential federal budget cuts. The president’s proposed budget threatens the economic and social well-being of low- and middle-income Alameda County residents. By shifting huge costs and responsibilities to California and county governments, this represents a historic break with the compact among federal, state, and local governments to invest in communities, generate economic growth, and help those most in need to make ends meet and access opportunity. For this reason, it is now more important than ever that we uplift the voices and stories of the individuals, children, and families that rely on the safety-net to meet basic needs and access critical supports like housing, mental health services, food, child care, legal assistance, and job training that allow them to focus on their futures.

Take time now to read and watch the stories of the Alameda County residents who have shared their experiences of dealing with the effects of poverty and state and federal budget cuts. Then, Take Action and urge your elected officials to stand up for the social safety net.

Check out the links to the Human Impact Budget Project report if you want to dive deeper into this topic. And, if you or someone you know needs assistance, we encourage you to check out the "Need Help?" page that includes information on Alameda County resources and services.

For additional information, watch the videos below from the Alameda County Budget Hearings:

To review the full Alameda County Budget, visit: http://budget.acgov.org

An elderly woman speaks at the Alameda County Board of Suvervisor meetings on the Human Impact Budget.
200,000 Alameda County residents live below the Federal Poverty Level.
The federal poverty level for a family of three is just over $20,000 while the cost of living for that same family in Alameda County is more than $67,000.