"A balanced budget is fine, but the pain has to be shared," Elizabeth G. Hersh, executive director of the Tenants' Action Group of Philadelphia, said at a noon rally yesterday at Independence Square. "We're seeing tax cuts for the rich, while we're throwing people out on the street. It doesn't make any sense."
Hersh said the cuts would mean that no new Section 8 certificates - federal assistance for home renters - would be available in the city for the first time in 20 years, and that about 15,000 fewer Philadelphians would receive housing services.
Hersh said only that about 2 percent of taxes collected by the federal government goes to housing, while 45 percent goes to the military.
During the rally, the postcards - collected between Aug. 22 and Sept. 1 at a sidewalk booth at 10th and Market Streets - were placed in the mailbox, fashioned out of cardboard shipping crates.
The box and cards were to be delivered to Senate chambers today by advocates for the homeless and low-income housing.
The postcards were addressed to Sens. Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter, both Republicans, and Reps. Robert A. Borski, Chaka Fattah and Thomas M. Foglietta, all Democrats.
The five were invited to the rally, but only Foglietta and Fattah appeared. Both addressed a crowd of about 40 adults and children and picked up their postcards, carrying them away in plastic sacks. Both said they were opposed to the cuts.
"Newt Gingrich is somewhat like the innkeeper saying there's no room in the inn," Fattah said of the Republican House speaker spearheading the move to streamline federal government.
"We're entering a very crucial phase in this whole struggle," he said. ''Right now we have a congressional majority that doesn't have a conscience."