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Non profit community human service programs cutting back, facing layoffs

Politics

HARTFORD & MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — 18 soup kitchens are closed as of Tuesday, as well as post incarceration services, because it is August 1st, and there is still no state budget.

The State’s non-profit community human services providers say many of the programs that are closing up may never re-open; leaving many Connecticut residents falling through the cracks. There are hundreds of non-profit agencies around the state that provide these services to thousands of Connecticut residents and they are the ones feeling this.

41-year-old Bryan Lewin, of Manchester, gets what’s called ‘integrated care’ to help control his diabetes, and behavioral health issues. He gets it at the non-profit Community Health Resource center in Manchester, one of several around the state.

Bryan is the face of Connecticut residents being most affected by the state budget stalemate as programs like this and others are curtailed or even stopped because of the rollback in state funding. Without this help, someone like Bryan could slip through the state safety net.

“It will mean the end, that I won’t be able to accomplish my goal and be healthy and be better off in life and be motivated to come here and work out and do the best that I can every week,” said Bryan.

26-year-old Isabel Martin, of Wallingford, is another face of a Connecticut resident being most affected by this stalemate.  Her mom, Beth, said that programs like these are critical to Isabel’s success.

These programs are helping her to become more independent so down the road she will be able to earn a living. I can’t imagine what my daughter would be doing if she didn’t have these programs at this time.”

Beth joined the operators of the non-profit agencies today who say with the new month of August this is no longer just a planning effort; the program cutbacks are taking place.  “We expect to eliminate up to forty staff positions if the cuts reach five percent. Our contracts with the state of Connecticut do not have a ‘no layoff’ option,” said Heather Gates, the C.E.O. of Community Health Resources.

Bryan had this message for the Governor and state lawmakers today,  “Get their act together, they need to sit down and come up with a budget so everybody could work together and figure something to help the needy people in the community.”

Asked about a response to this today, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said  “We’re sorry, we have to accept some responsibility.”  The Governor said that’s why he wanted the Assembly to at least pass his mini-budget.

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