GAU and ADATSA Cuts

I suppose the announcement of Gregoire’s budget cuts and the elimination of GAU and ADATSA happened a little while ago, but why can’t I find any news on it?

After a little bit of Googling, I came up with this article from the News Tribune blog.

“The governor’s budget office says the state can save nearly $415 million over the next two years by making such a move, although Gregoire would boost spending on homeless shelters by $20 million and for community health clinics by $40 million to offset some of the impacts of ending the two assistance programs.”

Gregoire has everything mixed up. Cutting GAU and ADATSA and moving funding to shelters and health clinics does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to address the problem of chemical dependency rates and homelessness within our city. Without these two programs or Drug Court (which has the potential to be cut in June), hundreds of addicts will remain active on the streets committing crimes, in shelters taking up space, in hospitals racking up bills, in jails costing state money, and unfortuantely, dying a drug or alchohol induced death. Contrast that with the success rate of ADATSA and drug court of transitioning addicts to healthy members of society who then get jobs, buy houses, start businesses, and spend money. Not only is enabling the recovery of addicts good for economy, it’s also saving the lives of countless of otherwise hopeless individuals whose only chance to escape from their disease is to be forced by our legal system

House Speaker Frank Chopp (despite his lack of rational viaduct planning) still has the ability to empathize.

“We’re looking to make some changes (to GAU) in a logical way . . . otherwise some people could die.”

Budget cuts leading to death may seem slightly dramatic, but it is in no way unrealistic. Chemical dependency is a life-threatening disease, leading to death and undoubtedly the destruction of one’s livelihood.

It’s even more frustrating that I could barely find an article on the topic.

6 Comments so far

  1. matt0the0engineer on January 27th, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

    What are GAU and ADATSA? (hangs head in liberal shame)


  2. madelinear on January 28th, 2009 @ 8:49 am

    I apologize for the lack of clarification. GAU stands for "General Assistance Unemployable" and is money given to individuals who are "unemployable" do to a medical or mental disability. ADATSA stands for "Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment and Support Act" and funds rehabilitation for those suffering from chemical dependency and lack the finances to get themselves help. GAU is often given to patients enrolled in ADATSA to help pay for sober living and outpatient treatment after the initial inpatient. The Salvation Army, a chirstian based program, is one of the FEW treatment centers in the greater Seattle area providing services for free. Otherwise inpatient alone runs you something like $15,000.


  3. laurabrown on January 28th, 2009 @ 10:35 am

    Madelinear, you’re so on target here. I run a clinic that does low-cost fee for service therapy for people- since Medicaid gets you drugs and case management, but not the therapy people need to actually get well, we see a number of folks on GAU who are just barely making it emotionally and who truly cannot work because their depression, PTSD, and/or substance problems undermine their capacities pretty completely. They’re not disabled enough to get into Social Security Disability, or they are, and are waiting the long wait to get accepted. Cutting GAU is not only going to put more active substance users on the street; it’s also going to put people there who are emotionally fragile.


  4. nwislander5 on January 29th, 2009 @ 10:03 pm

    While the increases in clinics and shelters might not be a great solution, there is no evidence that GAU is effective either. Maybe tossing the program and doing something new is our best bet.


  5. ivarsiggurdson on February 2nd, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

    I number among those 21,000 on GAU. It is vital, and people will die without it. Here’s what happened to me.

    I was making $60K in my permanent tech job downtown, when I became disabled and unable to work. I lost my job, car, $1200/mo. Belltown apt, medical insurance, was separated from my pet, lost my possessions. I could only stay in the hospital for a week and was discharged and on the street. I was on the street for over two years. (This stuff could happen to you tomorrow.)

    GAU and GAX are vital because Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income, federal programs, are in such a state of disarray that it takes up to 3 years for a hearing. GAU/GAX is a (rather badly tended) bridge to federal assistance. I’m a taxpayer, too, and had been giving SS upwards of $7,000 a year for this eventuality. It is not readily available for an emergency.

    Now $339/mo is difficult to live on. It is not enough to rent a room or get a place. It is just enough to eat on. The medical coupon helps get medicine and see social workers and doctors. However, it has allowed me to eat on most days, and to get the medicine I require to function.

    After waiting over two years on a list, I have been lucky enough to get housing assistance a couple months ago. My rent is around a third of whatever I make. I pay for it out of the 339 at the moment, so that means I usually go the last week of the month without eating much. I can get a meal at a church on Wednesday night.

    If you take this assistance away from these 21,000 of our most troubled population, many will die, others will be forced to commit crimes to survive and end up in jail (where they will cost taxpayers a lot more), many will go absolutely fing nuts without their meds… Where will all this happen? Oh, they’ll end up downtown maybe, on your doorstep maybe, in your face certainly. They will not go quietly.

    There are already 5,000 people on the street every night, and in city shelters (prefer to sleep outside) or church-run shelters like City Team (better, but filled to capacity). With so many thousands more added to the mix, what do you think will happen?

    I kind of doubt Gregoire read and understood this line item. What a callous Social Darwinist she must be if she has, for in it is a recipe for her own Malthusian catastrophe. What’s next? Eugenics?

    Sadly, I voted for Gregoire, despite misgivings about what she did with the tobacco settlement. Now, I am horrified at the implication of this proposition. One can only conclude that she is a social Darwinist or as incompetent herself as those she will destroy.


  6. jimbo on February 11th, 2009 @ 11:55 pm

    As a response to the above post,I have to agree,
    I was in the same position,working a fantastic job,had every thing I needed,

    Then I got ill.
    A little something called diverticulitious,
    I had been out of work for a while and had to apply for GAU,which gave me the medical benifits to admit myself in to a hospital,
    While I was being treated for the diverticulitious,in the hospital.
    My colon exploded on me and I was rushed into emergency surgery,

    I cant tell you for sure,but by the way I came out of the surgery and from things I over heard while I was drifting in and out from the pain killers,I have to assume they had lost me for a while when I was on the table.
    I was given a 76% chance of not living the rest of the week by my surgeon.
    And this was three days after I came out of intensive care,
    Needless to say,I was in bad shape,
    minus a part of my colon,And 50% of my body mass…
    and ending up with this neat little plastic bag on my side I ,,,,deficate into,
    And had to train my legs to walk all over again..

    I came home, to find I was loosing my home,
    So I ended up in my 30 year old camper parked next to my mothers house,
    I ended up loosing my truck,cars and motorcycle,
    Except for the $339.00 a month and the food stamps and medical,
    I had nothing,

    I worked for six months on being able to get up and move around,
    I had no problems with the DSHS office in White Center,
    And applied to DVR ,I was willing to go back to work,,,
    But then it started,I was unable to find work due to my ostomy bag,
    I am a bio hazzard,..
    And unemployable…
    And try to get a date with a ostomy bag,,,

    Mom lost her home due to a foreclosure….
    I moved the camper on to a friends property in Federal Way…
    I live with no power unless I can afford gasoline for the generator,,
    No running water unless I run up to the store for it,
    No Television,No internet,,,I am doing this on a library computer,
    I collect rain water,for washing and drinking,
    I light my little camper with oil lamps and candles,
    I used a cooler to keep food Ice will last three days in the summer,
    And 9 gallons of propane will last three months if used for cooking and heating water for coffee, three weeks when the winter hits and its below freezing..,,,Damn that ice is on the inside of the window…

    I am waiting for the SSI to reject me again,
    and this little $339.00 a month is all I have,along with the medical.

    When I moved I tranfered to the Federal Way DSHS office to be cut off the benifits due to no medical need,
    Funny thing,,,Taking off my half full ostomy bag and dropping it on the workers desk and asking if that looked like no medical need while it splattered it contents all over her paper work…. got my benifits back within the hour,,

    While all of this has gone on,I have been found to be rapid cycling bipolar.have panic attacks when I go out in to public,and sever depression,For which all I am being treated for…And the leg braces and cane so I can walk…
    if Chrissy cuts off GAU,,,I will no longer have my ostomy bags,,,and no meds to take,,,And commiting a crime to be sent to prison so I can have my medical needs taken care of is looking more and more like an option,,,,And I am not the only one who feels this way….
    What can you take away from some one who has lost it all????
    I got an idea,,,lets all move down and camp out on Chrissys lawn in Olympia….



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