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Suffolk County Legislature Restores Funding to Anti-Gang, Youth, Seniors & Substance Abuse Programs

LongIsland.com

Legislator Spencer Joins Local Leaders and Service Providers to Announce the Restoration of Funding to Essential Services for Suffolk’s Most Vulnerable.

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Suffolk County Legislator William R. Spencer (speaking at podium).

Photo by: Suffolk County

Suffolk County, NY - February 15, 2019 - At yesterday’s Suffolk County General Meeting, IR# 1012-2019 passed with bipartisan support. The bill restores much needed funding to agencies included in the November’s omnibus amendments to the County Executive’s proposed 2019 budget, which were defeated in a 9-9 vote. The bill provides funding for several agencies that serve residents throughout the Town of Huntington including; Tri Community Youth Agency (Tri-CYA), Youth Directions and Alternative (YDA), North Shore Holiday House, Senior-Net,  Central Nassau Guidance & Counseling Services and Junior Welfare League of Huntington
 
The passage of the bill brought a sigh of relief to Legislator Spencer who sat on the Operating Budget Working Group and advocated to fund agencies that meet the needs of at risk youth, seniors and individuals and families battling substance abuse. “Make no mistake about it, the funding that was appropriated at yesterday’s General Meeting is about improving lives, and, in some cases, it’s about saving lives. The budget reflects our values and priorities and I am thankful to the County Executive and my legislative colleagues for making the needs of our most vulnerable residents a priority.”
 
IR#1012 included funding for a total of twenty-three agencies across the county, totaling $686, 388.  Several of the agencies, local to the Town of Huntington, include: 
 
  • The CAST (Communities and Schools Together) program provided by Tri-CYA bridges together law enforcement, schools, parents and mental health agencies to help at risk kids grades 5 through 9 to make healthy/positive choices and avoid becoming involved in gangs.
  • Youth Directions and Alternatives (YDA), a local youth agency serving Elwood, Northport-East Northport and Harborfileds school districts. They recently relocated to an amazing new space in East Northport this past November- which will open up a huge amount of new programming opportunities for the youth they serve. The YDA plans to hire a part-time Youth Worker and open up at least 2 additional days of after school programs currently not possible with existing staff.
  • North Shore Holiday House opened in 1914 and is located in Huntington; the camp serves girls ages 7-11 from underserved families whose incomes meet the USDA guidelines for free or reduced lunch. Camp is 100% free of charge to participants.
  • Senior-Net, a volunteer run organization, where the majority of their dollars is directly spent on services they provide to seniors. They offer computer and technology classes for adults aged 50+ including a wide range of computer-based and mobile device courses, from beginner to expert to everything in between.
  • Central Nassau Guidance & Counseling Services, an agency serving Nassau and Suffolk County on the frontlines of combatting the substance abuse epidemic launched Project CONNECT; a collaboration that will expand Northwell Health's robust Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) protocols to individuals who have overdosed and are treated in the Emergency Departments of Southside and Huntington Hospitals.
  • Junior Welfare League of Huntington provide an array of services for families in need including assistance in making financial ends meet, holiday gifts and school supplies.
Jeffrey Friedman, CEO CN Guidance & Counseling Services.  “We are so grateful for the Suffolk County Legislature for reinstating the funding for this critical initiative.  The investment in Project Connect will directly result in saving the lives of many of our fellow Long Islanders.”
 
“The restoration of funds means the world to us and the families who the Tri-CYA serves,” stated Debbie Rimler, Executive Director.  “The program would have been a shell of itself without the additional money.  We are truly grateful.”
 
“This restoration of funding for North Shore Holiday House is an important recognition of free summer enrichment for 200+ Long Island girls from low-income families. They would otherwise never have the experience of summer sleep away camp which so many of their peers enjoy. This assures three nutritious meals-a-day and healthy snacks, time spent in nature, water safety instruction and swimming, a respite from technology and social media, recreation and reading encouragement—-and the list goes on. We offer cultural exchange through our employment of international counselors, songs around the campfire; dance and art instruction; financial literacy; science and engineering projects; organic gardening and perhaps most importantly building confidence, self-reliance and self-esteem through our Girl Power curriculum!” stated Mary Weill -Board Member/Former Development VP.
 
The agencies can now expect to receive a contract from the County detailing the specific purpose for funding. Once the contracts are signed, monies will be disbursed.