Homemakers and Nurses service escapes council chopping block

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Hamilton politicians couldn't bring themselves to cap the number of clients that are being helped by the city's Homemakers and Nurses Services Program.

"It is far too important (for the program) to move with a freeze," said Hamilton councillor Sam Merulla. "I don't like to send the message we are closing the doors."

The city and the provincial Ministry of Health had agreed that the province would provide the full $1.8-million cost to administer the program, which assists 705 clients. But one of the key conditions of the agreement is that the budget would not grow until the province takes it over on April 1, 2006.

The program has been on the chopping block since 2003 when council agreed to cancel it December 31 of that year. The province had decided to withdraw its 80 per cent funding. The city contributes the other 20 per cent.

The city agreed to extend the termination date until June 30, 2004. The program then received an additional extension to June 30, 2005.

Politicians dipped into the Hamilton Future Fund for $330,000 to keep it alive until June 30, 2005. At the time of the first scheduled termination, the program had about 350 clients. Most of the clients are elderly, poor and people who are physically challenged. City staff said they receive about 40 referrals per month for people wishing to get into the program.

A number of politicians urged staff to keep the program open to people, despite what the provincial government wants. "I don't want to shut anybody out of the process, but I don't want to shut us out of the process," said Hamilton councillor Bob Bratina.

The problem, said Hamilton mountain councillor Bill Kelly, is the program doesn't have enough money to service the city's needs. "There are more than 705 people in need of the service," he said.

Merulla said it would be better for the city to pay for the 40 additional people per month from city taxes, rather than send them away, noting that the city could tap into the Hamilton Future Fund again to pay for the extra costs.

"I'd prefer to say yes to (the clients) and then find the money," he said.

Members of the Social and Public Health Services Committee agreed not to impose a freeze on the program's budget until health staff had studied the issue more closely.

Homemakers and Nurses service escapes council chopping block

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Hamilton politicians couldn't bring themselves to cap the number of clients that are being helped by the city's Homemakers and Nurses Services Program.

"It is far too important (for the program) to move with a freeze," said Hamilton councillor Sam Merulla. "I don't like to send the message we are closing the doors."

The city and the provincial Ministry of Health had agreed that the province would provide the full $1.8-million cost to administer the program, which assists 705 clients. But one of the key conditions of the agreement is that the budget would not grow until the province takes it over on April 1, 2006.

The program has been on the chopping block since 2003 when council agreed to cancel it December 31 of that year. The province had decided to withdraw its 80 per cent funding. The city contributes the other 20 per cent.

The city agreed to extend the termination date until June 30, 2004. The program then received an additional extension to June 30, 2005.

Politicians dipped into the Hamilton Future Fund for $330,000 to keep it alive until June 30, 2005. At the time of the first scheduled termination, the program had about 350 clients. Most of the clients are elderly, poor and people who are physically challenged. City staff said they receive about 40 referrals per month for people wishing to get into the program.

A number of politicians urged staff to keep the program open to people, despite what the provincial government wants. "I don't want to shut anybody out of the process, but I don't want to shut us out of the process," said Hamilton councillor Bob Bratina.

The problem, said Hamilton mountain councillor Bill Kelly, is the program doesn't have enough money to service the city's needs. "There are more than 705 people in need of the service," he said.

Merulla said it would be better for the city to pay for the 40 additional people per month from city taxes, rather than send them away, noting that the city could tap into the Hamilton Future Fund again to pay for the extra costs.

"I'd prefer to say yes to (the clients) and then find the money," he said.

Members of the Social and Public Health Services Committee agreed not to impose a freeze on the program's budget until health staff had studied the issue more closely.

Homemakers and Nurses service escapes council chopping block

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Hamilton politicians couldn't bring themselves to cap the number of clients that are being helped by the city's Homemakers and Nurses Services Program.

"It is far too important (for the program) to move with a freeze," said Hamilton councillor Sam Merulla. "I don't like to send the message we are closing the doors."

The city and the provincial Ministry of Health had agreed that the province would provide the full $1.8-million cost to administer the program, which assists 705 clients. But one of the key conditions of the agreement is that the budget would not grow until the province takes it over on April 1, 2006.

The program has been on the chopping block since 2003 when council agreed to cancel it December 31 of that year. The province had decided to withdraw its 80 per cent funding. The city contributes the other 20 per cent.

The city agreed to extend the termination date until June 30, 2004. The program then received an additional extension to June 30, 2005.

Politicians dipped into the Hamilton Future Fund for $330,000 to keep it alive until June 30, 2005. At the time of the first scheduled termination, the program had about 350 clients. Most of the clients are elderly, poor and people who are physically challenged. City staff said they receive about 40 referrals per month for people wishing to get into the program.

A number of politicians urged staff to keep the program open to people, despite what the provincial government wants. "I don't want to shut anybody out of the process, but I don't want to shut us out of the process," said Hamilton councillor Bob Bratina.

The problem, said Hamilton mountain councillor Bill Kelly, is the program doesn't have enough money to service the city's needs. "There are more than 705 people in need of the service," he said.

Merulla said it would be better for the city to pay for the 40 additional people per month from city taxes, rather than send them away, noting that the city could tap into the Hamilton Future Fund again to pay for the extra costs.

"I'd prefer to say yes to (the clients) and then find the money," he said.

Members of the Social and Public Health Services Committee agreed not to impose a freeze on the program's budget until health staff had studied the issue more closely.