Nonprofits seeking aid from county
Several nonprofits likely won’t see any extra cash from Shenandoah County next year.
Representatives for outside agencies made their pitches this week to Shenandoah County leaders for more money in the fiscal 2016 budget.
The county received a total of $161,056 in requests from the Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter, Response Inc., Access Independence, Blue Ridge Legal Services, the Shenandoah Community Health Clinic, the Shenandoah Dental Clinic, Help With Housing, A Small Hand and the Skyline Community Action Partnership Head Start Program.
County Administrator Mary Beth Price has recommended that the board provide level funding to several agencies. Price proposed not funding requests for Help With Housing, A Small Hand and the Skyline Community Action Partnership.
Price proposed that the county cut funding to the Alliance for Shelter from the annual allocation of $40,000 to $15,000 as requested by the agency. The organization no longer operates out of the Alms House on the County Farm in Maurertown after an April 13 fire destroyed the building. The $15,000 is needed to cover the agency’s rent and utilities at its new location in Woodstock, according to information from Executive Director Sheila Orndorff.
The Shenandoah Community Health Clinic in Woodstock, also known as the Shenandoah County Free Clinic, requested $30,000 from the county. The agency’s sister organization, the Shenandoah Dental Clinic, requested $26,000. Price proposed that the county not grant the request.
Supervisors contributed $30,000 to the clinic in 2006 — nearly 20 percent of the agency’s budget that year and the last time it received an increase from the county. However, that amount has remained the same even though the clinic’s needs continue to grow. The agency established its dental clinic, a separate nonprofit, in 2008 to serve indigent families. The budgets for the free clinic and the dental clinic are $400,000 and $450,000 respectively. The agency needs to raise $850,000 to run both clinics.
Pam Murphy, executive director of the Community Health Clinic, told the board that the dental clinic loses about $50,000 per year. The medical clinic helps to subsidize the dental clinic so it can help uninsured, low-income patients, Murphy said.
“We lose about $150 every time that we see an uninsured [dental] patient,” Murphy said.
The number of people living below the poverty line in the county has increased 42.7 percent since 2000, Murphy noted.
“There was a significant increase in poverty in Shenandoah County and those are the people that we serve,” Murphy said.
Patient visits to the medical clinic are up by 31 percent. Services provided by the dental clinic have increased by 146 percent. The budget for the dental clinic has doubled since 2006. The county has not contributed to the dental clinic.
Price recommended no increase in contributions for Response Inc. — the only emergency shelter for the homeless and survivors of sexual and domestic violence. The agency that provides emergency shelter requested $40,000 — an increase from the $10,000 it receives annually. The amount requested represents about 10 percent of the agency’s budget, according to information from Executive Director Jennifer Morrison. Response’s cost for utilities has increased 17 percent. Its grant funding has been cut while other expenses increased.
Help With Housing assists needy, county residents with emergency and critical home repairs. The agency has spent $40,000 on labor and materials to complete 15 projects in the past three years. The organization serves an average 60 clients a year. Help With Housing asked for $5,000 that the agency would use to match federal and state funding sources.
A Small Hand began serving as a pantry for infants in need about five years ago through the Edinburg Christian Church. The organization serves children already enrolled in government supplemental feeding programs. A Small Hand is the only organization in Virginia with community partnership status with the National Diaper Bank Network. The agency supplies children with additional formula and food, diapers, hygiene products, bottles, pacifiers and other supplies not covered by Social Services programs. Ann McBroom, executive director of A Small Hand, provided information to the county on the agency’s needs.
Skyline Head Start requested $26,994 to help increase the salaries of two teachers to what the county school system pays its preschool instructors. A Skyline teacher’s salary is $27,158 compared to $40,665 for a county preschool teacher.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org