Worst state budget in our lifetimes

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EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s the “worst state budget for human services in our lifetimes.” That’s the word today from the head of a coalition of non-profit agencies that help Connecticut residents with everything from mental health crisis to detox.

There are hundreds of non-profit agencies from the shoreline to the Massachusetts border that help over a million Connecticut residents every year. They’re saying that the cuts in the Malloy budget will leave thousands with no where to turn.

Here’s a look at what some of your neighbors that depend on this help say:

66-year-old Deb Hall of Rocky Hill has suffered from depression her entire life.  It became much worse when her husband died and she lost her insurance. She had two serious suicide attempts.

“After Mel’s death, it was very deep, very, very deep and dark and bleak and hopeless,” said Deb.

A non-profit agency called “InterCommunity” came to the rescue with individual and group therapy. It has made a world of difference.

“Had I not gotten the help that I needed. I think the depth of the darkness and the lack of any hope would have led to suicide, I’m quite sure of that,” said Hall.

44-year-old Jessie Middleton of East Hartford doesn’t talk too much, but he’s been doing pretty well at “InterCommunity.” The head of the agency was able to describe Jessie and many like him.

“Severe and persistent long-term mental illness, who need lots of services wrapped around them so that they have, they can live successfully in the community,” said “InterCommunity” CEO Kimberly Beauregard.

57-year-old Bob Gompper of East Hartford was a truck driver for years and suffered from depression and alcoholism, but was able to function until blood clots in his leg made him unable to work. He sank deep ending up homeless. He fears losing the help he gets here, “I’d probably end up going back to my old ways, which are not very good.”

What would happen to people like Deb, Bob and Jessie should they be cut off from the help?

“It would be hospitalizations, multiple ‘Emergency Room’ visits and or jail for people…they would be on the streets,” said Beauregard.

Some of the people we spoke with today said they are ready to go to the Capitol and tell their stories to state lawmakers. They also are fearing the Governor’s idea to leave these cutting decisions up to his commissioners and department heads with one of them asking, “who would we tell our stories to then?”

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