Editorial: Answer call for help from non-profits

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 21, 2003

As the state begins paring down its budget, we already can see the first traces of the impact it will have on Albert Lea. A non-profit poverty-fighting agency is cutting its operations, and the city government will soon be planning for reductions in the state aid that pays for most of its services.

The case of Community Action, which has had to close its Newcomers Resource Center and cut back on employee time, may be the first symptom of the effect budget cuts will have on non-profit agencies, which often rely on grants to pay for some of their programs. It’s unfortunate because these agencies are usually providing services for the people who need them most.

The Newcomers Resource Center was underused from the start, so it makes sense that it would be closed. The Farmland fire simply changed the needs of the community and the service could not support itself. But it was rarely open, anyway, so cutting it won’t save much money.

Email newsletter signup

Other cuts, however, could affect programs that are used more. One employee will be cut, and more losses of funding could be on the way. This agency tries to help people escape poverty with transportation and housing assistance, among other things. Putting those services at risk is not in the community’s best interest.

The solution is for the community to step up where needed. Instead of tax money from across the state being sent back out to non-profits, more people will have to send money directly to the agencies if they are to keep their current service levels.

People who see the importance of programs for those who need economic assistance should answer the call for help when it comes from non-profits who will lose funding over the next few difficult years.

Tribune editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper’s management and editorial staff.