State Cuts Affect Area Non-Profit, Families

Thursday, November 2nd 2017, 7:36 pm
By: News On 6

The latest budget cuts could mean 5,000 disabled Oklahomans lose vital government funding.

An area non-profit is preparing for the impact.

The government sent out a letter to organizations and families letting them know to start looking for a backup plan.

If legislators can't figure it out by December 1st, funding for many services will end.

At A New leaf, there's the digging, plants, and greenhouses.

9/29/2017 Related Story: Broken Arrow's 'A New Leaf' Holds Fall Fest

But this isn't your typical garden shop.

The folks who work there are primarily adults with disabilities. 

Single mom Lonette Hay’s two children work here.

“It made me sick to my stomach immediately I started crying and then I got mad," Hay said. 

But about 51 of the folks who call the shop home or receive in-home help won't have it anymore come December 1st. 

With a state budget in the hole by millions, DHS is being forced to cut $69 million from its budget.

"I’m upset, I’m angry, I’m disappointed with the state of Oklahoma and shame on every one of these state legislators," Hay said.

Oklahoma doesn't have institutions for people with disabilities. 

So, any aid often comes from organizations like A New Leaf that rely heavily on state funds.

"We are the state safety net. So now the state has ripped that net. That net now has a giant hole in it," said A New Leaf CEO Mary Ogle. 

Hay's children have a family, but many others don’t.  

Mary Ogle said the services here keep people off the street and above the poverty line.

And it's scary knowing that could change.

"We have to send them to the food bank or the homeless shelter … we are just creating more social problems," Ogle said. 

Hay said it's going to be a challenge figuring out who will care for her children during the hours they would typically work.

But just like any mom, she said she'll figure something out.

A new leaf representative said it's important to point out that many of their clients aren't capable of being left alone at home alone.

You can see the breakdown of DHS cuts here