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Some Social Service Programs Face Cuts

September 28, 1998|MARINA MALIKOFF

Managers of several social service agencies have criticized a new city policy for doling out funds, saying it unfairly cuts support for organizations that help the homeless and the addicted.

Guidelines adopted by the city last March give priority to youth, family, and senior services. Homelessness and drug and alcohol treatment "are better aligned with county safety-net responsibilities," according to the guidelines.

"I disagree with the city," said Rick Pearson of Project Understanding, an agency that helps the homeless. "Homelessness and drug and alcohol abuse are community issues just as much as youth, family and senior services. I think the city is abdicating a responsibility in those areas."

If the City Council tonight approves 21 staff recommendations for allocating $420,000 in grants, homeless shelters may not open until well into the winter and employment programs for women in alcohol and drug treatment centers will probably be cut back, social services providers say.

Project Understanding would lose the $7,000 it has received for shelter costs in each of the last five years, Pearson said.

Brenda Davison, executive director of Miracle House, a drug and alcohol recovery home for women, was denied $7,000. She said it will be a struggle to fill the gap between her expenses of $60 per person a day and the $42 per day she receives from the county.

City officials defended the new policy, saying the county is better equipped to help the homeless and treat substance abusers.

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