Caregiver concerns about state funding for non-profit programs

Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 6:41 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2021 at 7:06 PM CST
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JEFFERSON, Wis. (WMTV) - Caregivers and providers are concerned they’re hitting a roadblock in Wisconsin.

Bethesda Lutheran Communities closed its branches in the state in fall 2020. Other organizations are concerned they may follow in those footsteps if things don’t change.

Saint Coletta Pres. Ted Behncke said that fear comes from a lack of state funding to these kinds of non-profits. Saint Coletta provides services and opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.

“There seems to be a lack of funding in the system, and it’s a crisis,” Behncke said.

Behncke said the 116-year-old organization is in trouble and that the system is broken. The rates set for government funds that go to organizations like his have barely changed over the last decade.

“We’ve had to raise money to fill this gap increasingly, and it’s just gotten more and more every year now,” Behncke said.

Right now, that means about $2.5 million for St. Coletta. The state provides the non-profit with about $12.5 million per year, but it costs around $15 million to run operations and pay staff.

“If state lawmakers don’t deal with this, they’re going to have all of these people, with nobody to provide care for them,” Behncke said.

Governor Tony Evers has two provisions in his version of the state budget this year which would give more funding to these types of non-profits.

Behncke said he expects those measures to be rejected by Republicans. NBC15 News reached out to Sen. Howard Marklein’s office. He is the co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee. Marklein’s staff said right now, the senator has no comment.

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