The Board of Aldermen continued their lengthy and thorough budget hearing process Thursday night, listening to cases from groups as varied as Management Information Services (MIS) to the Milford Fine Arts Council, asking questions about the services each entity provides, as well as clarification on the specific use of funds.
The Boys and Girls Club of Milford
When Alderman Philip J. Vetro pointed out that was requesting $75,000 in funding for 2012-13 as opposed to the current funding of $60,000, Megan Altomare, the Executive Director of The Boys and Girls Club of Milford, noted that the extra $15,000 would allow the organization to hire two additional employees.
The additional Boys and Girls Club staff are necessary to handle the. There are currently 37 kids on a waiting list and the additional $15,000 in funding would allow 20-30 students membership to the Club.
Of the 255 registered members of the Boys and Girls Club of Milford, 60% are on scholarship. Membership costs $35/annually. In additional to funds from the city of Milford, the organization raises money through various grants and has partnered in the past with the YMCA and the Department of Human Services, among other groups.
The Club's work goes beyond their Benham Avenue headquarters, Altomare said. This year, a Boys and Girls Club staff member began helping out 40 students at Pumpkin Delight Elementary who needed after-school homework assistance.
Representing the Regional Mental Health Board and Bridges were Claire Phelan and , respectively.
Referring to the $3,000 that helps fund the Regional Mental Health Board each year, Phelan said, "It is a small request and it may seem almost invisible in a city budget, but it is important."
Kasdan, the President and CEO of Bridges, discussed how the Milford-based non-profit has been an "important resource in mental health service for 55 years."
"More and more people are turning to us in crisis," Kasdan added.
Due to rising insurance costs, among other factors, Bridges had to reduce its staff by seven employees this year. "It's a strange economic time," Kasdan said.
Bridges, , provides behavioral health, addiction recovery and primary care to 600-800 people each week. Sixty-two percent of patients are Milford residents, but Bridges is a regional facility, as well.
Getting out into the community, Bridges had 84,680 face-to-face contacts with those in need last year. Their open case load at any given time is 1,600.
Kasdan discussed work that the non-profit does to work with landlords and get affordable housing for those in need.
"If we were not providing these services, an additional 100 people would be homeless," Kasdan told the Aldermen.
Kasdan said that Bridges' staff cuts has "taken a toll" on Bridges' employees.
Kasdan remained optimistic, though, about Bridges' ability to continue providing help to those in need in Milford and the surrounding area. "The future for Bridges is bright and strong," he said. "We will weather the storm, but it is difficult."