Need growing, but funding likely shrinking for community agencies

Published 12:31 pm Friday, March 30, 2018

Editor’s note: This is the fourth and final of several stories detailing Danville City Commission’s recent agency funding meeting, which lasted close to five hours last Thursday.

Funding from Danville for community agencies is a big question mark next fiscal year. But there’s no question about the growing need for the services many of those agencies provide.

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Danville City Commission heard from eight of the 20 community agencies (excluding the Heart of Danville) that have requested funding for fiscal year 2018-19 during its marathon funding presentations meeting last week. The commission focused on agencies that were requesting more than $5,000 and some that made significant increases in their funding request over last year.

While commissioners and Mayor Mike Perros have warned repeatedly that a tight budget will likely mean less funding available for community agencies, the total ask from all 20 is $14,250 more than what Danville awarded this year.

Commissioners got a feel for why that might be the case during the meeting, as multiple agency representatives painted a picture of growing need among those less fortunate in Danville.

Bluegrass Community Action Partnership, a non-profit that provides a wide variety of assistance programs to low-income families, has usually averaged helping about 300 Danville residents every year, said Wendy Shouse, director of community services for CAP.

“This year alone, from July 1 to March 20, we’ve already served 771 city residents,” she said. “So we’ve seen a major increase in need. I’m sure as you all have — our clients are watching the news and panicking a little bit.”

CAP is requesting a doubling of its funding from $1,500 this fiscal year to $3,000 next.

The demand for services for senior citizens is also increasing, said Ben Guerrant, director for the Danville-Boyle County Senior Citizens Center. Over the last 12 months, the center has provided about 13 percent more rides for seniors around town — almost 700 additional rides — compared to the previous 12 months, he said.

In addition, another senior citizens service organization, 55 and Alive, is closing in June, leaving a hole in meal delivery for seniors the Boyle County Senior Citizens Center hopes to fill, Guerrant said.

“The need is increasing; the demand for services is increasing. With the loss of the other center, the demands for our center are only going to increase,” he said. “You’l note that we are not asking for an increase in the funding level from either the City of Danville or the county of Boyle. We’ve not asked for an increase in recent years. We’ve been able to continue to extend the services we provide without adding to the expense side of our balance sheet.”

Ben Kleppinger/
Bruce Nichols with Boyle-Mercer Helping Hands details the many ways his group assists those in financial need.

Bruce Nichols with Boyle/Mercer Helping Hands said his agency is asking for an increase from $5,000 to $10,000 because they are also seeing an increase in the needs of the “aging population.”

Helping Hands tries to be a safety net for people when they can’t get help from other agencies — it pays water bills, repairs power chairs, purchases equipment such a shower bench for a senior citizen and more, Nichols said.

Helping Hands spent more than $9,000 in Boyle County in 2017 and is “on track to do that again this year already,” he said.

Crystal McPherson said the Family Services Association of Boyle County collaborates with CAP and Helping Hands at times, with each agency filling different needs as they are able. Family Services, for example, was at one point the only agency with funding available for covering water bills, she said.

McPherson said water and utility bills are increasingly growing in size to the point where “they are literally shocking.” She has helped low-income families pay $400, $500, even $700 utility bills.

“At this rate, and with a lot of us either sustaining or losing funding and not increasing, (there are issues coming) in the future,” she said.

From July 1, 2017, until the end of January, McPherson said Family Services has assisted 257 Danville households, representing around 500 individuals. The agency has also referred out more than 200 cases to other agencies.

Family Services is requesting $13,000 from Danville, the same amount it received this fiscal year.

Victoria Murphy, founder of New Hope Food Pantry, told commissioners the pantry served 2,750 Danville residents in 2017.

New Hope is requesting $8,000 — a $3,000 increase over what it received this fiscal year.

Other agencies that presented to the commission were Wilderness Trace Child Development Center, KyADAPT and the Great American Brass Band Festival.

At the end of the agency funding presentations, Commissioner J.H. Atkins said it’s plain that many agencies are “doing things to take care of our community.”

“It has assured us that the need is increasing, and funding is decreasing,” he said.


The following list details the amount of funding from Danville that community agencies received this fiscal year, as well as the amount they have requested for next year. Not all agencies requesting funding were required to present before the commission. Actual funding levels will be set at a later date by the commission.

Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle — requested $1,000 (received $900 this year)

Big Brothers Big Sisters — $3,500 ($3,500)

Bluegrass Community Action — $3,000 ($1,500)

Boyle-Mercer Helping Hands — $10,000 ($5,000)

CASA of the Bluegrass — $5,000 ($4,500)

Centro Latino de Danville/Boyle — $3,000 ($2,700)

Citizens Concerned for Human Relations — $800 ($800)

Community Arts Center — $5,000 ($4,200)

Danville-Boyle County Senior Citizens Center — $66,500 ($66,500)

Sister Cities Commission — $2,850 ($2,700)

Family Services Association — $13,000 ($13,000)

Grace Café — $5,000 ($5,000)

Great American Brass Band Festival — $30,000 ($30,000)

Heritage Hospice — $600 ($600)

KyADAPT — $4,000 ($2,000)

Nursing Home Ombudsman — $2,600 ($2,000)

New Hope Food Pantry — $8,000 ($5,000)

Pioneer Playhouse — $3,000 ($2,700)

West T. Hill Community Theatre — $1,000 ($1,000)

Wilderness Trace Child Development Center — $21,600 ($21,600)

Totals — $189,450 ($175,200)

In addition to the community agency funding requests, Danville is also considering the following funding requests from its “shared agencies” and the Heart of Danville Main Street program:

Danville-Boyle County Airport Board — requested $15,000 (received $25,000 this year)

Economic Development Partnership — $35,000 ($185,000)

Heart of Danville — $110,000 ($0)

Danville-Boyle County Parks and Recreation — $283,100 ($238,000)

Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning — $75,000 ($87,500)