WIC, Head Start programs: “We’re okay, for now”

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on October 2, 2013 at 5:49 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 4 at 1:18 PM

 (KMOV) – Local agencies which serve thousands through Head Start and WIC programs say they are doing okay as the government shutdown continues.

Timing is everything for these programs who say they can continue to operate for a matter of weeks but not longer than that without feeling a huge impact.

“Youth in Need” covers much of Eastern Missouri, serving about 20,000 with Head Start counseling and various other programs for the needy.

Sixty-percent of its budget is federal funding which is about $10 million. For the short term, they will be okay, but that’s the problem News 4 has heard from various agencies, the short-term, the longer the impasse in Washington drags on, the more problems they’ll be facing.

“The immediate future it's business as usual, but starting as soon as November 1, our grants will start to expire. Have six different federal grants that are on different cycles with different expiration dates," said Pat Holterman-Hommes.

As those expire, they will have to look at suspending services and furloughing staff.

The WIC Program that provides food for millions across the country said it can continue to operate in the meantime.

“However if the federal government remains closed or fails to provide the funds for several weeks, the WIC program here in Missouri might not be able to continue all those services,” said Ryan Hobart with the Department of Health and Senior Services.

“Youth in Need” said those who will suffer the most are the children from the lowest-income families. They also say they’ve already been hit with cutbacks earlier this year from the sequestration, like many other agencies.

It had to cut $500,000 off its budget and lay off 18 staff members 

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