As the federal debt ceiling deadline approaches some fear there could be cuts to programs that serve our community’s most vulnerable.

With the debt ceiling deadline approaching next week, advocates for justice are speaking out and hope to call on Congress the importance of programs like Medicaid, housing and SNAP benefits that could be cut from the federal budget.

One organizer said this is a push for all people to have their basic needs met.

“In order for them to be able to go to work, for kids to go to school, for what we’re calling our thriving communities to prosper. And if we try to balance the budget on the backs of those people who need our help, then we are just pushing them further down and separating them from our communities,” said Sister Ellis McCulloh, grassroots education specialist.

Jennie Hagerty, the executive director of the Mercy Center for Women, explained how these benefits are vital for so many.

“She has to make a choice. Is that choice going to be to feed her children or pay her rent? And I believe from the Mercy Center and the Mercy AnchorCommunity Center, those are very big decisions to make,” said Hagerty.

Hagerty added cutting these programs could limit their clients’ access to transportation. And if SNAP benefits are cut, some could be losing $150 to $200. She said that’s why she’s speaking up.

“Even if a small community like Erie County can share our voice, share our opinions, someone will hopefully hear what we have to share,” Hagerty continued.