TAKE ACTION: No Clear Funding for LGBT Health
We need your help. As you may know, the Governor’s 2013-14 budget was introduced last week. We need you to take action to safeguard healthcare services that depend on state funding—vital services on which many in our community depend. For the past 16 years, funding for the New York State LGBT Health and Human Services Network has been clearly highlighted in the state budget. This year there is no specific money for the organizations across the state that comprise the Network, many of which run on shoestring budgets.
Call Department of Health Commissioner Nirav Shah (518) 474-2011 and chair of the Senate Health Committee, Senator Kemp Hannon (518) 455-2200. Tell them that “the government MUST protect dedicated funding for the LGBT community’s health needs!" (There is no need to call Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried – he was on top of the issue from the start and is already fighting on our side!)
The 54 Network organizations—such as the LGBT Community Center in New York City, In Our Own Voices in Albany and Gay and Lesbian Youth Services in Buffalo—provide health services to nearly 800,000 LGBT New Yorkers in every one of the 62 counties in the state. Any cut in funding could have a dramatic impact on their ability to provide critical services to our community including mental health services and counseling for drug and alcohol addiction.
Despite the documented health disparities faced by LGBT New Yorkers, there is no specific provision for the critical services our community requires. Funding for the Network has been lumped together with that of many other healthcare providers, and the overall budget for these groups has been cut by ten percent. If these cuts are applied equally it could be catastrophic for our community. 70 percent of Network organizations have operating budgets of less than $1 million and 26 percent rely on state funding for more than half their operating budgets.
We have a shrinking window of opportunity to have our voices heard in the budget process. Please, call today! The well-being of our community depends on it.
Nathan M. Schaefer
Empire State Pride Agenda
P.S. Again, the numbers are: Department of Health Commissioner Shah (518) 474-2011 and Senator Hannon (518) 455-2200. Tell them to protect dedicated funding for the LGBT community’s health needs!