Archive for Monday, January 25, 2010

Budget cuts prompt mental health center’s plan to reduce services to homeless people

A local program aimed at helping the homeless may shrink after budget cuts. One of four homeless outreach workers may lose their position.

January 25, 2010


State funding cuts likely will be felt in Lawrence’s efforts to help the homeless.

The Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center on Tuesday will ask for permission from city commissioners to eliminate one of four homeless outreach positions that it employs in partnership with the city.

Bert Nash receives $164,000 in city funding to employ four outreach workers who serve as case managers who help the homeless with everything from applying for assistance to getting to out-of-town medical appointments.

“I know this type of news wears on everyone, but this is kind of a scary time,” said David Johnson, chief executive of Bert Nash.

Johnson said he’s recommending the cut in response to a $785,000 reduction in state funding for the 2010 fiscal year. The center announced a variety of cuts in December — including cuts to a program that helps people re-enter the community from a state hospital, and general wage cuts — but Johnson said he decided to cut this program as well because the cost to run it is far exceeding the city grant amount.

The outreach workers provide assistance to about 400 people annually, said Eunice Ruttinger, director of adult services for Bert Nash.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.


nuby 5 years, 8 months ago

Bert Nash workers- bless you for your attempt, unfortunately, for the most part, it's a waste of time and money. Most homeless choose to be that way. Use the money on someone that truly deserves it.

Kontum1972 5 years, 8 months ago

they did they hired another person for the board...

Danimal 5 years, 8 months ago

I'm willing to concede that many of the panhandlers you see around Lawrence choose to be homeless, but to say that the majority of homeless choose to be homeless is ludicrous. Many homeless people are homeless because of a severe mental illness that makes it impossible for them to conform to and be productive in our society. Yes there are individuals who will take a free ride on society's rather meager charity, but many need real help. We simply don't do enough for those that need some help in our society.

Mariposa 5 years, 8 months ago

If I understand the article correctly at any time there are 400 homeless people in Lawrence who need mental health services. Doesn't that seem like a lot for a city with the population of Lawrence? I would like to see that number broken down as to how many of these people have a severe illness and others not so much. Does Bert Nash give them free medication?

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