MAYVILLE – Participation in the Chautauqua County Welfare-to-Work program was the main topic of discussion at the Chautauqua County Health and Human Services Program Wednesday in the Gerace Office Building in Mayville.
Director of Health and Human Services Christine Schuyler said that the program’s participation rate has doubled since January 2012. She said the rate was about 10 percent and has grown to 20 percent in the last two years.
The program has been administered by the Workforce Investment Board. The program accounts for families that receive assistance. The increase to 20 percent is slightly under the New York State average in participating in the program.
Schuyler said that the programs look for people who are receiving assistance to be engaged in activities that enhance work skills or are working part-time. The board finds volunteer experience opportunities to provide work-related activities for persons in the program. Board Director Katie Geise said that her staff is working closely with the health and human services staff.
Schuyler said that people getting assistance receive five years through the federal program and after that are moved into programs supported through local and state tax dollars.
In the report of persons receiving assistance, there were 1,965 persons considered employable in the county and 937 of those were listed as currently exempt from employment, the committee report stated. Exemptions can be issued for illness, child care or other temporary disabilities.
Staffing issues were also reviewed by the committee.
A report was also presented by Office for the Aging Director Mary Ann Spanos. She outlined services being provided to the elderly in the county including housekeeping, case management and personal care services that help to keep persons at home and not placed in a nursing home.
Dr. Spanos said the cost of keeping people at home is less than the cost of care in a nursing home. She said annual nursing home costs for the elderly is in excess of $100,000. She said most people are eligible for Medicaid benefits within three months of staying in a skilled nursing facility.
The committee also reviewed other requests:
• Three people were approved to the Chautauqua County Health Board. Dr. Robert Berke of Westfield, Dr. Roland Hewes of Mayville and Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney of Jamestown were all approved as members.
• Kathleen Hentz of Westfield, Ellen Maternowski of Lakewood and Sylvia Emerling of Jamestown were all named to the Chautauqua County Community Service Board.
• Jay Gould, chairman of the legislature, asked the committee to support a resolution supporting Black HIstory Month in February. The members gave their unanimous support.