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Community Action E-News Feed

Updated 2011

Proposed Cuts to services provided by Community Action

Maternity Support Services. The governor’s budget calls for a 50% cut beginning March 1, 2011. MSS provides maternity care for pregnant and post pregnant women and health care for infants. The program, administered jointly by DSHS and DOH, consists of obstetrical care, case management, and support services such as community health nursing, nutrition, counseling visits and childbirth education classes. Community Action is one of several sites in Skagit County that offers the MSS program to low income women and infants.

 

 

 

Washington Reading Corps. During the Dec 11 special session of the state legislature, the WRC budget was reduced by $528,000, or 50%, eliminating the remaining funding for Fiscal Year 2011. WRC Americorps volunteers are allocated to over 100 schools in Washington State that have high percentages of struggling readers. The Americorps members are vital resources to schools, providing one-on-one literacy tutoring to students who are just below grade level.  Statewide, the members also recruit in turn over 4,000 community volunteers to tutor children, helping to create a huge cadre of volunteer support for struggling readers.  This relatively small amount of savings for the state in turn jeopardizes over $4 million in federal matching support.

 

 

Readiness to Learn and Family Literacy. The governor’s budget would cut Readiness to Learn funding in this fiscal year. In addition to impacting the county’s already severely shrunken ARIS program that works with at risk youth, this would eliminated funding for our family literacy programming in Burlington.

 

Long Term Care Ombudsmen. In addition to 6.3% state budget reduction, this service had a sudden loss of Medicaid Administration money, resulting in a 38% budget reduction statewide and to our budget. Serving Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties, Community Action’s Long Term Care Ombudsmen (LTCO) program is designed to improve the quality of life for people who live in licensed long-term care facilities, including residents of nursing homes, boarding homes, adult family homes and veteran’s homes.  Relying on the dedication of volunteers, Ombudsmen work to protect and promote the rights of residents of long-term facilities, while empowering residents to become self advocates. 

LTCO is a volunteer program that works. LTCO volunteers are trained and certified to listen to concerns and questions and work with residents, staff, local and state agencies or other organizations to resolve problems or answer questions.  Ombudsmen work diligently to resolve issues and advocate for the rights of residents of long-term care facilities. 

 

Supported Works. On May 4, 2010, the Governor signed the budget that suspends the Supported Works programs for state fiscal year 2011. 

The Community Jobs and Supported Works programs offer WorkFirst parents up to six months of work experience at non-profit organizations and government agencies in our community. Community Jobs is a paid work experience for parents who have significant barriers to employability.  This is a full-time (40 hours per week) program: Parents are required to work 20 hours per week, attend school for 10 hours per week, and work on issue resolution for 10 hours per week.  Community Jobs is a one-time opportunity.  Parents have to be ready to work full-time on employment and be ready and able to go to work full-time within six months.   The Supported Works programs include three opportunities: 

  1. Community Service is a short-term program for parents already working who need more hours for full-time participation, or for parents waiting to start another activity.  A good program for parents who need to participate in WorkFirst activity until next school quarter starts.
  2. Community Works is for parents working closely with a case manager or a social worker and aren’t sure if they’ll be able to meet the full-time requirement.  A good program for parents dealing with other issues, such as drug and alcohol treatment, mental health or medical issues. 
  3. Community Work Experience is for parents who have skills or training but don’t have up-to-date work experience.  A good program for parents who have their GED, high school diploma, and/or some college training, and need some current work experience for a resume.

 The three Supported Works programs are unpaid; instead parents work in exchange for TANF grant.   

 

Home Heating Assistance. Currently, our federal home heating assistance is 50% of last year’s amount. Community Action provides families struggling to heat their home with a combination of federal (or “LIHEAP”) home heating assistance, along with support from Puget Sound Energy and Cascade Natural Gas for PSE and CNG costumers.

Housing. We are anticipating a significant reduction to state support for housing and homeless prevention, but are awaiting details.

Cuts to other major services to our community 

Governor required across the board 6.287% state cut in October. More to come . . .

 

Basic Health Plan. Elimination as of February 1.

 

  

Closure of North Sound Evaluation & Treatment Center. As part of their $8.5 million in reductions to mental health services in our region, the North Sound Mental Health Administration (NSMA) recently shuttered the Evaluation and Treatment center outside Sedro Woolley, a 16 bed facility for individuals detainable for up to 14 days because of grave disability or danger to self or others (served five counties in our region).

 

  

Disability Lifeline (formerly GAU). This is basic support for some of our most vulnerable members of our community, who are judged to be “unemployable,” and struggle with some type of mental or physical disability and/or addiction. $6.108 million reduction. The DL grant will be reduced from $339/mo for DL-U clients to $310 and from $325/mo to $297 for DL-X clients.  About 41,000 clients will experience a grant reduction.

 

  

Food Assistance Program. $7.2 million cut. Monthly food assistance benefits will be reduced for approx 13,700 persons who are residing in WA legally.

 

  

Medical assistance. Across the board cuts to multiple areas of medical assistance. For example, Adult Pharmacy Benefits ($39.4 million cut); Medical for Disability Lifeline clients ($20.3 million cut), Eligibility reduction in Apple Health for Kids ($10.3 million cut), Adult Dental Services ($8.3 million cut), First Steps/Maternity Support Services/Infant Case Management ($6.4 million cut), etc.

Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF). $19.03 million cut. Specifics are not yet known.   

Other cuts: 

Foster care, street and at-risk youth. Several cuts across the board. 

Immigration Legal Services. 50% cut. 

Seasonal childcare. Full cut to program (not usual 6.28% cut). 

RSN Non-Medicaid Reduction. This cut is on top of the 9% reduction already assumed in the ‘09-’11 budget.  23,000 adults and 3,000 children could go un-served.

 

Bright spots: Areas of Increase

Women Infant Children. We have been pleasantly surprised by the more than 25% increase in WIC funding between 2009 and 2010. The WIC Nutrition Program has proved remarkably effective in setting children on the road to good nutrition, increasing their chance at success in life, and saving us all money in the long term. WIC provides monthly vouchers for specific nutritious foods critical to growth and development, for pre- and post-natal periods initially, and early childhood.  Additionally, participants receive nutrition assessment and education.  Services are provided by registered dieticians and certified paraprofessionals. WIC helps meet major shortfalls in one’s family food budget with monthly food vouchers, and also helps incorporate healthy eating habits in a family’s lifestyle, reinforcing principles that are critical to early, formative years for children. Studies show that WIC saves $3 in Medicaid dollars for every $1 invested.

   

Food and Hunger. We anticipate increased federal funding for services to reduce hunger and malnutrition. In addition to WIC services, Community Action alleviates hunger and malnutrition in many ways, including managing the Skagit Food Distribution Center, which works with and is accessible to all 13 food banks and five hot meal programs in Skagit County, provides critical warehouse storage capacity and a more coordinated approach to solving hunger in our county. This translates into more food for hungry parents and children. Community Action also the four county lead for Basic Food Education and Outreach, which helps links eligible people to basic food assistance, a proven anti-hunger method that also provides a major stimulus to our local economy. In addition, our Mobile Food Express was created in 2001 to work collaboratively with the county’s food banks to provide food bank packages to the homebound and disabled who are unable to get to their local food banks.  With a container van bought with funds donated by Boeing Employees, the service is staffed by volunteer drivers.

   

Local Giving. Despite the tough times, our spirits – and our services – have been buoyed by a significant increase in local donations: $46,609 form 118 individual donors in 2009, to $119,848 from 359 donors in 2010, a remarkable 257% increase in giving. We are humbled and truly grateful for our community’s generosity!

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