Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes
THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes
Sui Chan, who can only communicate via an electronic speaking device, fears budget cuts may affect her daily programs.

The Shield Institute taught Sui Chan to walk and talk. Now she fears budget cuts may take away from the program she calls her lifeline.

The organization for the developmentally disabled, along with over 600 others citywide, are currently subject to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget amendments that will result in a $240 million cut in funding, effective April 1.

“The Shield is where I find my voice,” said Chan, 52, through an electronic speaking device. “I am asking [Cuomo] to not cut the services that I receive because, to be honest, my life depends on it.”

Programs for developmentally disabled individuals were also victim of budget cuts three years ago and have since received no increase in funding. Between that slash in funds and the current one, it amounts to a $400 million loss.

Groups such as The Shield Institute aim towards helping these people live a progressive lifestyle, becoming more active and independent. Each day, they have different activities such as painting, cooking and exercising. Patients also meet with physical therapists, speech therapists and psychologists.

Officials fear with the looming spending slashes, their staff may have to take the fall.

“We have people that have complex needs,” said Dr. Susan Provenzano, executive director at The Shield. “We pride ourselves on being able to provide good, quality service, and this would put a strain on that ability.”

Louise Young’s 55-year-old brother, Fred Lotti, has been going to The Shield Institute’s day program for 30 years. Young said Lotti, who has cerebral palsy, throughout his entire life, he has not been left alone for even five minutes.

“He needs, what I call, a shadow,” said Young. “They need to dress him, prepare his food, drive him places. If they start making cuts, these people are not going to be able to function.”

Genevieve Murphy, an aide at The Shield Institute, said that after she told her group about the cuts, they all became very concerned.

With Murphy’s help, the group compiled a letter to send to Albany, urging Cuomo to reconsider the budget proposal.

“Just take a second to close your eyes and imagine yourself not being able to walk, eat by yourself, or communicate what you feel,” they said in the letter. “We are just asking you to please think twice.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Comments:

Join The Discussion



Related Stories
Campaign to end ‘most unfair toll’ on Cross Bay Bridge in Queens inches closer to victory
Campaign to end ‘most unfair toll’ on Cross Bay Bridge in Queens inches closer to victory
Special license plates to raise money for Down Syndrome could be coming thanks to Queens representatives
Special license plates to raise money for Down Syndrome could be coming thanks to Queens representatives
Popular Stories
Photo: Day Donaldson/Flickr
Five Queens areas will be sprayed with larvicide next week as city launches 2018 mosquito-killing campaign
Photo courtesy of NYPD
Police release video of men dressed as utility workers trying to break into Flushing home
Photo via Dorie Opitz Figliola on Facebook
New family-owned Glendale restaurant Grill 66 will serve barbecue with 'international flare'


Skip to toolbar