Human Services Cuts Could Hit County’s Most Vulnerable

From Potter County Today

markbensonA 26-year veteran of the county’s Human Services Department attended this week’s meeting of the Potter County Board of Commissioners with some words of concern about several of the programs that help the county’s most vulnerable citizens. Mark Benson, who heads the Coordinated Services division, said proposed state funding cuts strike at the heart of many programs he manages.


State payments to counties through the Human Services Development Fund (HSDF) have been used locally to support numerous initiatives that Benson oversees, including help for the indigent and homeless in cooperation with churches, Christmas House and other community partners. From food and shelter to help with personal crises, these partnerships have operated efficiently and their elimination would have a devastating impact on some of the county’s neediest citizens, Benson told Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover.


His comments were echoed by Sweden Valley Police Chief and volunteer firefighter Bryan Phelps, who attended the meeting to commend the commissioners for their emphasis on education and prevention initiatives. Phelps noted that he has witnessed an increase in multi-generational social problems. “There are more overdoses, more aviolent crimes and other signs of trouble,” he said. “This is the worst time for the state to be cutting funds for drug and alcohol services, education and some of the other programs that prevent problems. We can invest now in prevention and social programs, or we can pay a lot more later when these same people end up in the court system and in jail.” Phelps added that he shared his views during a recent constituent meeting hosted by Rep. Martin Causer.


HSDF is one of the few state funding streams that give counties flexibility in spending to meet local needs. The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania has warned that any further reduction for human services programs “will be a disservice to our communities, our taxpayers and our most vulnerable populations.”  

Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.

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One Comment

  1. irvin says:

    you could always take a look at the missuse at area food banks and senior centers,

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