Catholic Charities to shut down Crime Victims Program

NORWICH – Catholic Charities of Chenango County has announced it will close its Crime Victims Program by the end of the month, pointing to a cessation of federal and state funds that make it impossible to keep up with costs.

Due to statewide changes in the funding formula, Catholic Charities of Chenango County saw a $160,000 reduction in its annual contract with the New York State Office of Victim Services (OVS) in 2015 – money that was used primarily to hire staff for the Crime Victims Program. Additionally, since funding from the state Department of Health is contingent on appropriate levels of staffing, Catholic Charities fronted another $40,000 cut from DOH.

All this means dramatic overhead costs for Catholic Charities that are forcing the organization to run the Crime Victims Program in the red, explained Catholic Charities Executive Director Robin Beckwith.

The loss of funding from OVS creates a chain reaction of sorts. A loss of funds means a reduction of staff, and a reduction of staff means Catholic Charities is no longer eligible for assistance from a number of other funding sources. And it simply can't run the program on its own, Beckwith said.

Catholic Charities saw a $30,000 deficit reflected in its first quarter statement of revenues and expenditures. If it were to continue the Crime Victims Program, that loss is projected to increase to approximately $100,000 by the end of the year.

“We are looking at a huge deficit in the Crime Victims Program. We can't continue to run the program at those kinds of losses,” said Beckwith. “This program is difficult because it is funded by so many different agencies. So when we lose this amount of dollars, it's very difficult to piece it back together. We were hoping for other grants to come along that would help us deal with the loss, but there just aren't any available.”

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