Employment Options Could Face Devastating Cuts at Mass Governor’s Hand

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A few minutes ago, I received this press release from Employment Options Executive Director Toni Wolf regarding their future. For many years, LCI Paper has enjoyed an affiliation with Options as our company employs Options members. For insight into this important and longstanding community organization, see my profile on Options member and LCI Paper employee Mark and this year’s Options fundraiser.

Here is the important press release:

Safety Net for Hundreds of People with Mental Illness is Threatened in Marlborough and Metrowest
Call Governor Patrick and your legislator and tell them not to cut these vital funds…

Employment Options, a recognized leader in providing a variety of crucial services to individuals recovering from mental illness could face harsh budget cuts if the Governor cuts the part of the state budget that funds these services as rumored on Beacon Hill.

The Governor according to several reports is due to announce potentially devastating cuts to Clubhouse Rehabilitation and Recovery Centers that aid over 8,000 people in Massachusetts who have serious and persistent mental illness live in the community. This threat would permanently discontinue the services that are provided by Employment Options, an agency serving individuals recovering from mental illness living within the Metro west area.

The services provided by Employment Options assist individuals with mental illness prepare for employment and other vital tasks in their community and help provide them with a sense of dignity and respect, something all individuals strive for. In FY09, Employment Options served 357 people with an average daily attendance of 71 individuals accessing employment, housing and family services.

In addition to the statewide advocacy efforts, Employment Options is also seeking local awareness and advocacy to continue to serve a vulnerable population served by Westborough State Hospital. As of April 1, 2010, due to financial hardships, Westborough State Hospital will be closing its door, and an additional 73 individuals with severe mental illness will be living in the local community.

It is essential now more than ever that we remain a resource for the community, “according to Wolf. “We have to ask, where will these people go and how will they manage their lives as they leave a state facility where they have resided for years? Without a safety net such as Employment Options or other agencies that serve this population, individuals will out of necessity use the streets as a place to go and inadvertently utilize the police and emergency rooms. These cuts will just shift costs somewhere else and we believe the Massachusetts taxpayer will not be happy as a result.

About Employment Options:

Employment Options is a non-profit organization based in Marlborough, MA. The organization has been in operation for over 30 years and is well-known for providing mental health rehabilitation services, through the Clubhouse program. Employment Options’ primary funding comes from the Department of Mental Health. Through inspiration, support and encouragement, Employment Options creates a home-away-from-home where people can overcome barriers to employment and discover personal growth, self-sufficiency, and hope. http://www.employmentoptions.org/

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