McLaughlin Responds to Federal Cut-Backs

by Richard Keifer

Recently, the president and CEO of the Cleveland YMCA, Ken McLaughlin, responded to the Grapevine on the subject of the upcoming cut-backs in federal funding.

When contacted at the central branch of the YMCA he said," Depending on which bill you look at, they will put a stress on the local organization. There are three scenarios: a 25%, a 40%, or a 27% cut- these three feared proposed spending cuts will make us suffer... we’re not sure how we’re going to deal with it. The final version of these pending bills will look different hopefully."

"The premise that private money from local organizations is going to pick up the funding shortage is fundamentally flawed. Deep pockets aren’t out there. It’s getting more difficult to raise. Everybody’s having a difficult time. The fourteen branches of the YMCA in total may lose a half million dollars which is significant. The Y-Haven could lose $180,000. I’ve got a lot of nervous clients. If worst case scenario hits, we can’t continue to operate."

Working on the problem of homelessness, Bob Spencer is director of the Y-Haven program at 3200 Franklin on the Near West Side. It provides an inexpensive place to live, jobs, and workshops for the down-on-their-luck people of Cleveland and they have many success stories. It is for graduates of Step One and Daywood- these are substance abuse programs. Dual-diagnosed individuals (chemical depedency/ mental illness) are also in the Y-Haven program. Y-Haven supplies individualized transitional housing for homeless men. If these programs are cut, their clients will be back on the street.

The YMCA already has a problem with limited space to operate. The central branch of the YMCA will re-open in 1997; it is being renovated now. This important downtown- neighborhood linkage will provide more space for them to operate.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published March – April 1996 – Issue 14