Day 18 — Ask and maybe you shall receive

Each appropriation subcommittee conducts budget discussions, hears proposals for funding requests, prioritizes all budget items and requests, and votes on the final prioritized list.  Any additional revenue coming in to the subcommittee will be distributed as per the prioritization of the committee until the funds are expended.  

I served as sponsor for several appropriations this session.  Above I’m presenting in the Social Services Appropriations Committee with Melva Sine, President of the Utah Restaurant Association, about a request to fund a program where they would teach culinary job skills to homeless individuals onsite in the homeless shelter.  They’ve been teaching these skills in high schools for 20 years through the ProStart program, and for 2 years to juvenile justice clients who are incarcerated.  It is a perfect marriage of teaching skills necessary to obtaining a job and helping ease the critical need for more workers in the food service and culinary industry.  

Each of my requests was assigned to the appropriations subcommittee that oversees that portion of the state budget.  I believe these are all worthy projects, but since they are competing against many other great programs and there is never enough money to go around, it will come down to how the committees vote to prioritize these along with the numerous other requests for funding.  

  • 4-H Youth Development
    Description: Build Statewide capacity for 4-H program by adding 4-H coordinators in all 29 counties.
    Agency: Utah State University
    Purpose: These coordinators will expand opportunities for youth to engage statewide to participate in programs like robotics, traditional AG, financial management.
  • Work is the Way Initiative
    Description: Culinary/Job training at the homeless resource centers. Provide certification and a career pathway for homeless population.
    Agency: Workforce Services
    Purpose: Job training for homeless population.
  • Ballet West
    Description:  Ballet West is seeking a one-time appropriation to help support the international tour to China & Victoria, British Columbia, as well as the trajectory of the Choreographic Festival as it matures into an international destination for dance. $500,000 represents 25% of total cost.
    Agency: Heritage and Arts
    Purpose: Arts & tourism
  • Children in Family Treatment Programs 
    Description: Funds the treatment and services delivered to young children in family treatment programs. Services delivered are not medicaid reimbursable. Family treatment programs provide SUD and mental health services to the parent while concurrently treating and reunifying the children keeping them out of foster care.
    Agency: Human Services
    Purpose: Parents and their children throughout the state access these services. Family treatment programs are a partnership between DCFS, DSAMH, juvenile court, Guardian ad Litem, the local substance abuse authorities.
  • Utah Sports Hall of Fame Relocation of Museum
    Description: Since 1975, the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Museum was in the Salt Palace. In 1991, Larry Miller moved the museum to the Jazz Arena. Now with the re-construction of the Jazz Arena, the museum and all the memorabilia , trophies, and videos have been boxed waiting for funding to relocate the museum. The funding will also fund some additional scholarships
    Agency: Economic Development
    Purpose: The “best of the best” 228 inducted athletes in USHOF represent the proud tradition of athletic, scholastic, and cultural unity. Exhibit the history through memorabilia, awards, and video bios of our great athletic achievements.e are now homeless. An additional $1 million will be raised by at-large businesses/sponsors.

This is Sarah West, Vice President of Development, Ballet West.  We’re discussing the appropriation request that will assist Ballet West in making a stamp on the international scene with a tour to China and Victoria, British Columbia, and the growth of the Choreographic Festival.

Presenting to the Business, Labor, Economic Development Appropriations Committee on the Utah Sports Hall of Fame and Ballet West.

One of my requests, Children in Family Treatment Programs, funds the treatment and services delivered to young children in family treatment programs because their parent is in an inpatient treatment program. Family treatment programs provide substance use disorder and mental health services to the parent while concurrently treating and reunifying the children keeping them out of foster care.  This is a beautiful way to help a parent get necessary treatment and keep the family together in a safe and trial basis.  Upon completion of treatment DCFS makes an assessment as to whether to grant permanent custody to the parent.  The goal is keeping families intact when possible and this program helps with that.  It is a complement to many of the efforts going on right now addressing homelessness through a program called Operation Rio Grande.

(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Law enforcement officers from several agencies increase their presence in the Rio Grand homeless area in Salt Lake City Monday August 14, 2017.

On August 14, 2017, an extensive collaborative effort to combat lawlessness in the Rio Grande area and lend a helping hand to those in need was launched. On February 5, a six-month update was given on the progress of the program. Operation Rio Grande (ORG), as it has been called, has been shown to have substantially improved the area, both for those seeking services and those who live and work there. Lives have been changed as more resources have been made available for those wanting help and as authorities have appropriately dealt with the drug dealers and cartels who would take advantage of them.

“There’s help out there, and Operation Rio Grande really put me in the avenues to get that help,” said one beneficiary of ORG, Rich Duprez. 

Since the launch of the operation: 

  • • Nearly 200 new addiction treatment beds, and counting, have been created 
  • • About 70 people have entered treatment through Salt Lake County’s new specialty drug court program. 
  • • More than 3,400 safe space cards issued. 
  • • One hundred thirty-three behavioral health assessments have been completed. 
  • • Sixteen people have been placed into sober living and seven new beds have been created, with more on the way. 
  • • Of individuals referred to short-term housing, 44 have been housed, 121 have been diverted from emergency shelter and 189 are receiving housing case management. 
  • • Fourteen individuals have been employed through the Dignity of Work program, 100 have completed employment plans, 33 are work ready and 48 job listings have been posted by participating employers. 
  • • Over 800 individuals assessed during ORG have now been enrolled in Medicaid, which includes coverage for behavioral/mental health treatment. 

Though we have made significant strides, it does not end here. The state is committed to securing funding, improving public safety, offering support to those struggling with mental illness and drug addiction to help them get back on the path of self-reliance, and preparing and connecting individuals with housing and job opportunities. 

The progress of the three phases can be tracked online at operationriogrande.utah.gov.

Last week we saw first hand an example of the early successes of Operation Rio Grande when Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams visited the Capitol with Cedric Willis, Branden Jenkins and Mikhail Kotlov, clients of Operation Rio Grande’s specialty drug court. I’m familiar with how effective drug court can be because I served with my husband for two years as volunteers in the Salt Lake County Oxbow Jail.  We worked with many individuals who left incarceration and found success transitioning in productive work and safe housing through structure and requirements of the drug court program.  It was inspirational to see the impact it has had on the lives of these three men.  

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