WNPR

Nonprofits In Connecticut Say They'll Close Facilities As Budget Impasse Continues

Jul 5, 2017

Nonprofits that provide social services for the state of Connecticut are trying to calculate the cost of the current budget impasse. Some say they’ll be scaling back or even closing facilities. 

Governor Dannel Malloy is now running the state under executive order in the absence of a new two-year budget deal.

Democratic Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz said last week he trusts the governor to do a good job until legislators can get their act together, but Malloy himself said he has no choice but to implement cuts.

“Nonprofits right now are struggling to figure out exactly what they’re going to be paid for, what services they’re going to be able to provide,” said Gian-Carl Casa, of the Connecticut Nonprofit Alliance.

“We’re talking potentially thousands of people being without services," he said. "You’re talking about people who have behavioral health issues, people who have substance abuse issues, folks who depend on services for the developmentally disabled."

One of the largest providers is Oak Hill, a health care and education nonprofit that runs 150 different sites all over the state, with 1,700 staff.

CEO Barry Simon told WNPR that all he’s been told so far is to expect rate reductions.

"Everybody who works at Oak Hill is highly passionate about the mission, and about providing services, and have real relationships with the people we serve," he said. "But we also can’t run the business on a wing and a prayer, we really need to know how we’re going to pay our bills."

State Rep. Eric Berthel tours an Oak Hill home in Watertown, Connecticut in 2016.
Credit CT House Republicans

As a consequence, he’s preparing to close two group homes for the developmentally disabled, as well as scaling back day programming and employment services.

“The people that we serve are fragile people. The people who provide the services, frankly, they’re living paycheck to paycheck. This is not inconsequential,” said Simon.

And he's frustrated watching the apparent lack of urgency at the Capitol in dealing with the budget.

“When the legislators are fighting back and forth about, they don’t need to be bound by arbitrary deadlines -- these are real deadlines for us,” he said.

Democrats in the House have said they want to put their own budget document to a vote July 18. Republicans have so far said it’s unacceptable, because it relies on a sales tax increase.