More than a week after losing their funding from Nassau County, is dealing with with keeping things going with a lot less cash.
Jamie Bogenschutz, the director of the organization, which serves Massapequa and Farmingdale, said they are doing their best to tread water.
“We’re trying to re-position clients and make sure they have a place to go and a person to speak with,” she said. “We’re going to put into effect a very strategic plan in terms of what’s going to happen now...we don't know yet is any employees are going to be terminated or shifted. We’ve also begun to notify some of our networks that we may have limited capability.”
YES and dozens of other youth service agencies lost county funding July 6 after County Executive Ed Mangano made good on a threat to cancel the agencies' contract if Democrats in the legislature didn't provide the votes to allow the county to pay off tax refunds that are owed.
For the time being, Bogenschutz said that YES is depending on the generosity of the public to try and stay afloat.
“We’ve reached out to some of our friends in the community,” she said. “We reached out with the hopes that, through donations and financial support that we’ll be able to reconfigure things.”
However, a more permanent solution is needed if YES is to maintain its current level of service.
“A long-term plan will be trying to identify other areas of support,” Bogenschutz said. “Other foundations, other government entities, and really just develop a broader community and the support of our neighbors.”
In a worst-case scenario Bogenschutz foresees the counseling center having to lay off personnel and cut programs; this, obviously, is something that she finds quite distressing.
“It’s hard to separate my personal from my professional feelings,” she said. “As somebody who lives in this community, who pays a lot of taxes, and who attempts to be a contributing member of society, it’s very disheartening...shocking, actually, to learn that some people just don’t count in the eyes of others.”
However, the damage of the funding cut will become readily apparent in September, when the new school year – YES’ busiest season – starts. YES services schools in Massapequa, Plainedge, and Farmingdale, Island Trees and Levittown, and according to Bogenschutz several of their after-school programs have already been cut.
“A program we run for the Farmingdale middle school has been suspended until further notice,” she said. “We also have a violence prevention grant that’s terminated. And as the schools need us more...I don’t know what that’s going to look like.”
In addition, Bogenschutz said that all programs and services for Levittown and Island Trees have been completely cut.
Nassau human services groups have started a petition at Change.org, beseeching Edward Mangano and the 19 members of the Legislature to restore funding for human services in Nassau County. However, response to the petition hasn’t reached the level it needs to make a difference, said Bogenschutz.
“So far we’ve had 2,000 people get on board,” she said. “But we’d like to see 200,000 to sign on.”