The future of local non-profits who care for individuals with developmental disabilities could be in jeopardy.
The state is moving forward with a massive budget cut that could significantly impact staffing and programs.
Non-profits like ACHIEVE have had to weather the storm since the pandemic.
The organization cares for more than 2,200 individuals with developmental disabilities from three counties in the Southern Tier.
Over a recent two-week payroll period, state providers spent an estimated $14.3 million total in additional staffing expenses related to COVID-19.
"You incur overtime costs, things associated with that when you have people working 16-hour shifts and so there's been no shortage of overtime costs," said Preston Evans, vice president of development. "Personal protective equipment. There was all the costs associated with trying to procure that."
Groups across the state are now worried about their futures.
The state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities has advanced a $238 million budget cut to its non-profit providers.
That means groups like ACHIEVE would be hit with a cut of around $500,000 annualized.
"You have to find a way to not jeopardize the services that are provided to our individuals but when you're taking about taking employees away that are very familiar with our individuals that have a background with them, it becomes problematic," said Evans.
ACHIEVE offers everything from employment options to residential services.
Staff fear that many of these programs won't move forward if they face these cuts.
They've since created a letter writing campaign, urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to reconsider.
"Send that message that this is a population that deserves the funding and there are alternatives to this cut that dont have to put our state's most vulnerable residents are the forefront and in the cross-hairs," said Evans.
The budget cut is planned to be implemented on October 1.