Nonprofits face growing demand for services, limited funding
News the Lutz Center may be near closure was no surprise to many of us in the non-profit community. Those of us who know how much of the work of social services in Nevada County is being done at the non-profit level, and the diminishing support we have received from the County and other funding agencies has put a strain on the entire system. Sierra Services for the Blind has twice come close to closure in the last two years. Closure at a time when the need for services by the increasing number of elderly blind and visually impaired were seeing dramatic increases. After reducing our service area, we still have over 400 active clients.
While those agencies who serve the elderly are particularly affected by drops in traditional support, others have seen tremendous growth, and diminishing financial support. The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Nevada County Substance Abuse, and the Food Bank are only a few who are being asked to do more with less every year. Presently the County Budget only allocates $35,000 from the General Fund for 13 non-profits to share. Last year $1.8 million per year in federal funding was designated for rural blind seniors. The state application process assured only to larger metropolitan agencies could apply. They are not allowed to serve rural clients with the money, only study the problem.
As a community we need to check priorities. Do we continue to use limited local public and private funds to solve regional, or local issues? Do we continue to hire outside consultants to identify our need, or ask those local professionals we will eventually ask to solve local problems after the money is spent? Do we hide from local issues like the Lutz Center and hope someone come along will save it for us? We have the largest percentage senior population in the State of California, the largest over age 85. This presents recognizable health issues. We must face them with the considerable talent we already have in our local non-profit community, and fund it with local dollars presently sent out of county for consultants and outside agencies.
Sierra Services for the Blind
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