TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — The Department of Human Services is begging the state legislature to give them more money to make it to the end of the fiscal year. If they don’t, thousands of people will be left on their own — many of them children, the elderly or the disabled.
Barbara Collier, a special project manager for Center State Community Service, said she doesn’t think the care center would make it two months without any funding.
“Many folks don’t have family members,” Collier said. “For many folks, there is no place to turn to. If our agency fails them, if the state fails them, they have no place to go.”
DHS completely funds Center State and 100 other companies throughout Oklahoma. The legislature funded DHS for 10 months of the fiscal year, meaning from April to June there’s nothing except a directive to ask for more this legislative session.
“The faces of all the people that we work with keep going through my head,” said Sally Allen, human resources manager for Center State. “And I keep thinking ‘What’s going to happen?’”
DHS Director Ed Lake said he asked for more than $40 million to from the legislature to avert disaster. The department isn’t sure which programs would feel the brunt of the budget crisis, but there’s a major shortfall in adoption subsidies that also need to be addressed.
“Keep your word,” Allen said. “Do what you said that you were going to do. I’m a fifth generation Oklahoman, and I’m proud of the state that I live in. And I want them to stand up and do the right thing that I know they know how to do.”
The legislative session begins Feb. 6.