Thursday, May 8, 2008

Funds Cut for Low-Income Services

Jessica Demczar

Athens County residents using the services of eight local agencies will have some major adjusting to do. Athens County Job and Family Services (ACJF) says there will be a cut of $850,000 from various agencies throughout the county. The Kids on Campus program will lose the most funding, at $335,000. Tracy Galway, the community relations coordinator for ACJF, says "our biggest issue with all these cuts is just making sure that we can really have people be able to still meet their basic needs."

Tracy Galway, the community relations coordinator for Athens County Job and Family Services, explains how the safety net of services provided by these agencies will no longer be there.

Programs To Be Cut

Kids on Campus: $335,000
Athens Children's Services: $260,000
Big Brothers/Big Sisters: $55,000
Appalachian Peoples Action Coalition: $50,000
HAPCAP - Kids Back Pack: $50,000
My Sisters Place: $35,000
United Seniors of Athens: $30,000
HAPCAP - Food Pantry I&R: $25,000
OU Com Lice Program: $11,500

Galway says some of the reasons for the cuts include the office's budget restraints and cuts at the state level.

Galway explains the reasons for the cuts.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters

The Big Brothers/Big Sisters program of Athens County is one of the biggest programs that is losing funding. Interim Director Jamey Bouwmeester outlined the program's current funding:

~Current contract from the ACJF: $55,000
~Accounts for one quarter of their budget.
~Funds one full time case worker who monitors the mentors and mentees.
~Funds all bi-monthly activities.
~The 100 kids on the waiting list will have to wait even longer.
~Not sure what will happen to the kids currently in the program.

The plan is to write grant proposals to various foundations in the hope of finding more money.

Galway says in order for agencies like Big Brothers/Big Sisters to adjust to the budget cuts, they may have to cut staff, programs or services.

Galway explains what agencies will have to do in order to maintain their basic needs services.

These cuts will go into effect at the start of the fiscal year, on July 1st.

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