80.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, May 23, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesFISCAL CRUNCH MEANS HUMAN SERVICES CUTS

FISCAL CRUNCH MEANS HUMAN SERVICES CUTS

The Human Services Department is discontinuing two programs for financial reasons, Commissioner Sedonie Halbert told the Senate Youth and Human Services Committee Wednesday — one because funding won't be available and the other because it will be available elsewhere.
A Human Services program funded by the Virgin Islands Lottery will have to be discontinued by Sept. 30 because the V.I. Lottery can no longer provide the funding, Halbert said. The program provides services for disabled adults and children that cannot be obtained from other agencies. Through 1997, the V.I. Lottery provided $100,000 annually for the program.
Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole asked why the funding won't be available next fiscal year, as the lottery funding "is law." Halbert said she had been told that ticket sales have declined, and the lottery is not as self-sufficient as it once was. Committee chair Judy Gomez said she would write to George Golden, acting executive director of the V.I. Lottery, to ask why the funds are no longer available.
In anticipation of the Health Department and hospitals receiving the territory's share of the federal tobacco settlement funds, Halbert said, she plans to transfer the Human Services Department's cancer care program and its local $200,000 funding to Health, which she said will be better equipped to handle the patients. Some of the tobacco funds are expected to go to a cancer center at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital.
Halbert and top aides provided information to the committee on other, ongoing programs and services for individuals with significant disabilities. The department's vocational rehabilitation program helps to find employment for persons who have a physical or mental disability which limits their ability to work. It subsidizes the Work-Able supported employment programs on St. Thomas and on St. Croix.
The Human Services officials said the vocational rehabilitation program spent $968,976 last fiscal year, 80 percent federal funds and 20 percent local, serving 782 client cases, of which 27 were rehabilitated and 29 were closed. The department spent about $1.7 million on residential services for disabled adults — $1,126,118 for off-island care, $43,000 for local foster care, and $570,000 for the Ginger Thomas facility on St. Croix.
Care for clients whose needs can't be met in the territory is provided at the Devereux facility in Victoria, Texas. In response to questioning from Gomez, Halbert said payments to the facility are not more than two months' delinquent.
Julie Hansen-Hodge, director of Human Services' residential programs, told the senators that St. Thomas will soon have a residential center similar to the Ginger Thomas facility on St. Croix, which provides foster care for adults with disabilities. Hansen-Hodge said the St. Thomas home, which will probably be called Yellow Cedar, is in Anna's Retreat and should be ready by July.
Halbert also said that her department will be moving 33 patients from the temporary Eldra Schultebrandt Home back to the Queen Louise Home, where hurricane repairs are scheduled to be completed in July.
Committee members Gomez, Cole and Senate President Vargrave Richards attended the meeting, along with Sen. Norman Jn-Baptiste, who is not a committee member. Two of the five committee members, Alicia "Chucky" Hansen and Allie-Allison Petrus, were absent.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,719FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
The Human Services Department is discontinuing two programs for financial reasons, Commissioner Sedonie Halbert told the Senate Youth and Human Services Committee Wednesday -- one because funding won't be available and the other because it will be available elsewhere.
A Human Services program funded by the Virgin Islands Lottery will have to be discontinued by Sept. 30 because the V.I. Lottery can no longer provide the funding, Halbert said. The program provides services for disabled adults and children that cannot be obtained from other agencies. Through 1997, the V.I. Lottery provided $100,000 annually for the program.
Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole asked why the funding won't be available next fiscal year, as the lottery funding "is law." Halbert said she had been told that ticket sales have declined, and the lottery is not as self-sufficient as it once was. Committee chair Judy Gomez said she would write to George Golden, acting executive director of the V.I. Lottery, to ask why the funds are no longer available.
In anticipation of the Health Department and hospitals receiving the territory's share of the federal tobacco settlement funds, Halbert said, she plans to transfer the Human Services Department's cancer care program and its local $200,000 funding to Health, which she said will be better equipped to handle the patients. Some of the tobacco funds are expected to go to a cancer center at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital.
Halbert and top aides provided information to the committee on other, ongoing programs and services for individuals with significant disabilities. The department's vocational rehabilitation program helps to find employment for persons who have a physical or mental disability which limits their ability to work. It subsidizes the Work-Able supported employment programs on St. Thomas and on St. Croix.
The Human Services officials said the vocational rehabilitation program spent $968,976 last fiscal year, 80 percent federal funds and 20 percent local, serving 782 client cases, of which 27 were rehabilitated and 29 were closed. The department spent about $1.7 million on residential services for disabled adults -- $1,126,118 for off-island care, $43,000 for local foster care, and $570,000 for the Ginger Thomas facility on St. Croix.
Care for clients whose needs can't be met in the territory is provided at the Devereux facility in Victoria, Texas. In response to questioning from Gomez, Halbert said payments to the facility are not more than two months' delinquent.
Julie Hansen-Hodge, director of Human Services' residential programs, told the senators that St. Thomas will soon have a residential center similar to the Ginger Thomas facility on St. Croix, which provides foster care for adults with disabilities. Hansen-Hodge said the St. Thomas home, which will probably be called Yellow Cedar, is in Anna's Retreat and should be ready by July.
Halbert also said that her department will be moving 33 patients from the temporary Eldra Schultebrandt Home back to the Queen Louise Home, where hurricane repairs are scheduled to be completed in July.
Committee members Gomez, Cole and Senate President Vargrave Richards attended the meeting, along with Sen. Norman Jn-Baptiste, who is not a committee member. Two of the five committee members, Alicia "Chucky" Hansen and Allie-Allison Petrus, were absent.