Christine Stuart photo

One is turning away 30 clients a week, while the other is running a $5 million deficit this year and that’s with a 3 percent increase in state funding, members of the Community Providers Association said Thursday.

Barry Kasdan, president of Bridges, a nonprofit mental health and addiction services agency, called the situation “grave.” Patrick Johnson, president of Oak Hill, a nonprofit that serves the intellectually disabled, said “There’s strong evidence there is a critical problem here.”

Both Kasdan and Johnson called on the governor and legislators to increase funding for the human service agencies by spending $135 million to stabilize the system and another $65 million for infrastructure improvements.

Last year the Community Providers Association received a 1.4 percent increase and this year it received a 3 percent increase, but next year there is no scheduled increase in funding.

Because of the lack of funding Kasdan said some people who have been turned away have ended up in emergency rooms or jails, which costs the state more money in the long run. The bulk of social services paid for by state government are performed by the nonprofit private sector.

Johnson said his charitable sources used to supplement the state funding are drying up.

Kasdan said the groups most visible at the Capitol are often the groups that get more money, but the theory that “the squeaky wheel gets the oil is not good budget planning.” He said the providers spoke out Thursday to warn the governor and legislators that there’s a problem.