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Local Agencies to Lobby Albany with One Voice

By Dylan Hall

Buffalo, NY – Local health and human service providers are redefining how they lobby for state funding. The problem is that support from Albany is becoming increasingly hard to acquire due to growing deficits.

Some 150 Erie County agencies have formed a coalition to lobby state legislators as one voice. The agencies have been criticized in Albany because they were competing for the same state resources.

William O'Connell, Executive Director of the Erie County Commission on Homelessness, said state funding is needed in Buffalo to continue programs in childcare and job training for the poor.

"All of these things are so important and have become so much more important over the past few years with welfare reform that we need to come together to recognize our commonalties and utilize the strength that comes from working toward common goals," O'Connell said.

Members of the new coalition include agencies providing services for youth, the elderly and the mentally ill.