Advocates, educators and parents delivered a message to Harrisburg Wednesday from the steps of the Delaware County Courthouse some 95 miles away: Don’t enact a state budget that will do real harm to working people and families in our communities.
Halfway through the press conference, a tall, broad-shouldered man named Wilson Bryant, who had been standing all the way in the back, head and shoulders above the crowd, walked to the front. He said he didn’t have a speech prepared but wanted to testify about his personal story. He had become seriously ill, he said, and, without health insurance, had lost his home and with it his sense of hope.
He was living on the street when he found his way to Family and Community Service of Delaware County in Media. A caseworker helped him secure much-needed medical care, which he had not known was available. He is now managing a chronic health condition successfully, working two jobs, and encouraging other people in his life to get the help they need.
Next year, this story could go a different way. According to Alan Edelstein, Governor Corbett's proposed budget would cut funds for the casework that connected Bryant with health care services. It would also cut funding for the health care itself.
It’s hard to hear this story without feeling like the Governor’s proposed budget has the wrong priorities. There is no economic sense in Wilson Bryant living on the streets in Media, getting sicker. There is no human sense in it. And, as Family and Community Service of Delaware County proved, there is an alternative. It just takes some political courage.