[Hpn] Social services struggle to help:Nonprofits:Money needed/United Way funds drop
Morgan W. Brown
Mon, 16 Jul 2001 12:07:34 -0400
Sunday, July 15, 2001
Key West Citizen <http://keysnews.com/>
[Key West, Florida, USA]
Publication: Daily Citizen
Social services struggle to help
Nonprofits: Money needed
as United Way funds drop
BY MANDY BOLEN
Citizen Staff Writer
A homeless man needs a pair of shoes and dental work. An adult with Down
syndrome wants to work and be able to move out of her parents' house.
A child living in poverty wants a caring, adult role model. An elderly
person wants someone with whom he can play gin and backgammon.
All of these services are deemed worthy and deserving in the Keys, but it
has become increasingly difficult to administer them as funding for social
services has been slashed at the federal, state and local levels.
Social-services agencies are scrambling to find supplemental money to combat
the losses each has experienced, especially in the past year.
"A lot of major corporate giving is down this year, probably because of the
economy," said Susan Gouldy, coordinator for United Way of Monroe County and
a strong advocate for United Way's payroll-deduction program.
The program allows an employee of a participating business to contribute a
few dollars weekly or monthly. The $2 or $5 contribution is tax-deductible
and painless, as donors rarely miss a few dollars from their check.
Gouldy estimates if everyone in the county signed up for a weekly $2 payroll
deduction, every nonprofit agency in the Keys could be sufficiently funded
But participation in that program also has dwindled recently, and the amount
collected so far this year is $10,000 less than what had been collected by
July 2000, Gouldy said.
The total amounts from payroll deduction have dropped from $169,700 in 1999
to $144,796 in 2000. The financial plummet sounded an alarm for Gouldy, who
plans to begin an awareness campaign in the fall to let employers and
employees know about the program and enlist more contributors to help fund
the Monroe County charities.
"The agencies' funding got cut across the board," said Nancy Rossell,
president of the homeless coalition that provides one-way bus tickets to
people wanting to return to their families, and residential facilities at
Poinciana Plaza. "We're just trying to make up for it in other ways."
City asked to help
The Southernmost Homeless Assistance League, composed of 11 agencies,
including the outreach coalition, has targeted the city of Key West as an
alternative funding source for the agencies that, in various ways, address
the homelessness issue throughout the county, but especially in Key West.
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, a federally funded program, was
eliminated this year, taking away $214,000 from SafePort residential
rehabilitation program, $10,000 from the Wesley House program, Healthy
Families, and $16,600 from Guidance Clinic of the Middle Keys, which offers
the only emergency rehabilitation shelter for men in the county.
Healthy Families Monroe lost an additional $36,000 when the state Department
of Children and Families reduced spending, while the MARC House and Florida
Keys Children's Shelter each lost $56,000.
Joe Barker, executive director of Wesley House, and Sandy Higgs, community
outreach coordinator for the Rural Health Network, presented these numbers
to the commissioners when asking for $500,000 from the city budget and
outlining how the money would be used and distributed, Higgs said.
The $500,000 was whittled to $100,000 in budget workshops that have not been
finalized, but it remains an amount vital to the Southernmost Homeless
Assistance League, which often looks to state and federal grant money to
fund their programs.
"It's looking very hopeful that the city government has recognized the
importance of stepping up to the plate," Higgs said.
The county picture
But that hopeful sentiment is not shared throughout the county, which is
providing funding to three extra agencies without increasing the amount of
money to be distributed.
Each year, the county earmarks $289,000 for human services, and asks the
Human Services Advisory Board, composed of commission-appointed citizens, to
decide which agencies will get part of that money.
The advisory board has been recently adding recipients but the county has
not added any money.
There are more kids coming to the table for a limited amount of food, Higgs
But county administrator Jim Roberts reminded the social-service agencies
the Human Services Advisory Board and the money it hands out was not meant
to provide the majority of funding for each agency indefinitely.
"The ultimate goal is to wean some groups away from this money to make room
for new ones to benefit, Roberts said. "But I do understand some agencies
being unhappy about losing money."
Less money and more need are making it hard for agencies to maintain their
current level of services, they say, while additional programs are becoming
nothing more than a pipe dream until funding increases at all levels.
**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**
-------End of forward-------
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
Looking for news and information about homelessness?
Visit the Homeless People's Network (HPN)
for CONSTANTLY UPDATING NEWS on Homeless People:
Over 10,000 articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
Been Homeless? Then JOIN! EMAIL Tom Boland <email@example.com>
Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy
Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com