Share this article

print logo

CUOMO CUTS TO FALL HARD ON SERVICES NON-PROFIT AGENCIES DEPEND ON STATE AID

It will mean children without toys from the Child Care Coalition of the Niagara Frontier's toy library.

It will mean the wives of soldiers serving in Operation Desert Shield being without emotional and economic support from Everywoman Opportunity Center.

It will mean homeless teen-agers left on the streets because there are no empty beds at Compass House.

It will mean senior citizens living on $230 a month because the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers can't afford canvassers to tell isolated elderly that they may be eligible for Social Security's Supplemental Income.

These are just some of the effects of Gov. Cuomo's budget cuts.

"It will be thousands of people in Erie County, who desperately need our help, who will go without because of Gov. Cuomo's proposed cuts," said James Boles, executive director of People Inc.

Boles is also chairman of the Erie County Development Disabilities Council. The Council is composed of his agency and 19 others, all heavily dependent on state money. Together, Boles said, they serve 29,000 people.

The 20 agencies are but a fraction of the dozens of non-profit human services agencies in Erie County that are not member agencies of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.

Many of them depend on the state for 75 percent or more of their annual budgets. Together, they stand to lose millions of dollars in state aid.

In addition, the United Way's 65 members could lose "at least $3.1 million" in state aid if the Legislature approves Cuomo's budget-cutting plan, according to president Robert Bennett.

Those United Way agencies serve more than 250,000 people.

The cuts will affect people whose family members were called by the military reserves in the Middle East.

Everywoman Opportunity Center, which serves more than 2,000 displaced homemakers, stands to lose a new $40,000 domestic violence program for 150 women, children and elderly as well as the $40,000 for its Operation Desert Shield program. Its $750,000 budget is totally funded by the state.

Everywoman sent its own battalion to Niagara County several weeks ago when the first reservists left for the Persian Gulf.

"These wives, who were left behind, were as much a displaced homemaker as a woman who is suddenly confronted with death, divorce or disability of a spouse," observed Myrna F. Young, Everywoman executive director.

And the cuts will affect children and parents of young families.

More than 80 percent of Child Care Coalition's $250,000 budget comes from the state.

"We have not received any money from the state since last spring, and we had totally exhausted all of our funds," said Judy DiPasquale, executive director. "The staff has been working on a voluntary basis without pay."

"Last year, we helped more than 1,500 parents find day care facilities, trained 250 to be licensed family day care providers and were planning to train another 300 providers," she continued.

Compass House, a haven for runaway and homeless teen-agers, gets more than half of its $662,000 budget from the state.

"Last year, we really only had money to give 200 kids long-term support," said Janelle Wilson, executive director. "But we helped 327 kids because they came to our door."

There are no comments - be the first to comment