In the Soviet Union, he was the department head in a cancer research organization. In Utah, he pumps gas.
He cannot speak English well enough to resume his profession, although he is learning English as a Second Language from Literacy Volunteers of America.Lenoris Bush calls his clients "unemployed, disadvantaged, hard core." But through the Utah Opportunities Industrialization Center, they are becoming employable.
These are two of the 37 programs that applied for Salt Lake County Social Services Block Grant funds. Wednesday night, Bush and Terry Brewer of Literacy Volunteers of America were among the approximately 40 individuals who attended a public hearing in commission chambers to discuss the county's proposed allocations. County commissioners, who attended the hearing, will make the final decision.
The process provided "real trauma" for the volunteer panelists who made the recommendations, according to Dorothy Owen, county program specialist who oversaw the process. "Critical services that are normally funded by other sources had to come here and ask for a larger share. This system worked very smoothly when we were filling chuck holes. Now we've got gullies and there's real anguish trying to decide how much dirt to throw into those gullies."
The county receives $677,000 in federal money to distribute as Social Service Block Grants. Requests topped $1 million. Nine programs, including Bush's, received no funding or had funds cut from previous years.
The news was better for Community Services Block Grant funds, which target emergency services for the poor. Those funds increased by 36 percent.
Even so, several programs weren't recommended for funding, including Crossroads Urban Center's food program and two Valley Mental Health programs.
"We'd probably fund every single agency if there was sufficient money," said Human Services Advisory Council president Pamela Atkinson. "We leave some of the critical needs unfunded. We were forced to set priorities."
The process involved tradeoffs. To increase funding to help frail elderly people remain in their homes, educational programs to help senior citizens maintain good health were cut, for example.
"We have about the same amount of money as last year, but about half of what we had seven or eight years ago," said Commissioner D. Michael Stewart. "And needs are growing."
Where the money didn't go
Nine programs received no funding or were trimmed as Salt Lake County doled out Social Services Block Grants.
- Utah Opportunities Industrialization Center
- Easter Seal Society's recreation program
- Easter Seal Society's respite care program
- Salt Lake County Aging Service's consultaion prevention and
- Murray Boys and Girls Club
- Centro Civico's recreation program
- Outpatient counseling at Intermountain Sexual Abuse
- Substance abuse at homeless shelter
- Indian Alcholism Counseling and Recovery Program.