Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Connecticut Nonprofits Play Bigger Role Amid Cuts

MERIDEN, Conn. -- If all goes according to plan, the glassed-in attachment to The Arc of Meriden-Wallingford's building will soon be filled with fish, worms and vegetables.
Pamela Fields at the future site of
The Arc of Meriden-Wallingford's
aquaponics program
Executive Director Pamela Fields envisions the future aquaponics set up -- made from donated equipment and built by community volunteers -- as an employment opportunity for the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who The Arc serves. But having the ability to grow produce and raise fish for eating at The Arc's group homes, day programs and café is also aimed at another major need on Fields' mind: saving money.
The agency has already frozen staff wages at just over $11 an hour, making it hard to keep the most talented, while increased health insurance costs have cut in to workers' pay. Increased gas prices have meant that trips for clients, which once included museums across the state, are now largely limited to Meriden. Programs that were located in leased space near the center of the city have been moved to The Arc's main building, saving on rent but leaving the clients with disabilities more isolated.
The state is moving toward increasing its reliance on private nonprofit providers like The Arc to serve people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, closing state-run group homes and closing new admissions to public residential programs.
But at the same time, nonprofit leaders say, the state is starving them financially.

No comments:

Post a Comment