Maria DeFelice is waiting for her daughter to be released from a state hospital.
When that happens, she's likely to start waiting again - for her daughter to be placed in housing where the delay ranges from a couple months to a couple of years.
The York Township woman's story illustrates a growing frustration with state budget cuts that left a $2.2 million hole in county services for the current budget year, which started July 1.
So when county Human Services director Michelle Hovis unveiled the new Human Services Plan Wednesday at a commissioners meeting, discussion focused on funding cuts instead of the new state-mandated plan.
Hovis and others said it's difficult not to focus on the services not being offered.
DeFelice said the budget cuts - which include the loss of some apartments and other housing services for mentally ill people - could extend her daughter's stay at the hospital and delay her recovery, she said.
She fears her daughter will have to "stay institutionalized for the rest of her life because we in York County can't accommodate her," she said.
What's gone: Hovis presented a detailed list of this year's losses, which represent about 10 percent of last year's $23 million Human Services budget.
The $2.2 million was cut among several programs. Some lost little money; others were eliminated.
And while lost jobs comprised a portion of the reductions, those personnel were employed by the service providers, not the county, Hovis said.
For example, the $200,000 cut in Community Services eliminated a hotline for mentally ill people who were trying to avoid crisis. The WARM hotline was provided to county residents by Mental Health America but funded by local money, so the personnel lost doesn't include county employees, Hovis said.
Housing support services lost $500,000, with funding dropped from about $2.8 to $2.3 million, she said.
That means there are fewer apartments available for people, like DeFelice's daughter, being released from state hospitals, Hovis said.
Services are also being cut for those who are living independently, but need help with activities such as paying their bills and cooking, she said.
Also cut was $220,000 from employment services for people with intellectual disabilities, shrinking the funding from about $1.6 million to $1.4 million.
The services provided adult training, respite care, and day activities that "kept people out of a higher level of care because they had a "place and a purpose for their days," Hovis said.
The county also lost about $60,000 in funding for homeless people. The the "bridge program," which assisted homeless people looking for work, fell from about $350,000 to $289,000, Hovis said.
Back in jail: President Commissioner Steve Chronister also expressed frustration with the cuts, saying he spoke with a barely comprehendible mentally ill man who visited his office after recently being released from prison. The man said he had "no job" and "no help," and Chronister said the county could end up spending "more money on this guy" because he would end up back in York County Prison.
"We don't want people in prison ... as a result of their illness," Hovis said later, explaining the cycle of untreated people making poor decisions that send them back to jail. "We know that, unfortunately, there will be people in need of care and we won't be able to give it to them in a timely manner."
The reality of the cuts is that many people will spend more time waiting for services, she said.
- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.