Horizons funding could increase | SteamboatToday.com

Horizons funding could increase

Susan Cunningham

An additional $50,000 in federal funds could help Horizons Specialized Services increase compensation for employees but would leave the program’s budget about $25,000 short.

Susan Mizen, executive director of Horizons Specialized Services, said she was thrilled when she learned about the additional $50,000 in funding, which would match city and county contributions.

“When we first heard about this, we thought, ‘Wow, this is great. This is going to be a chance to raise the starting salary for our direct care counselors,'” Mizen said.

But with another look at Horizons’ $3.5 million budget, Mizen realized that the program would have a deficit.

The extra funds will help the organization make up for cost-of-living adjustments, which were not met with federal funding in the past few years, Mizen said. Direct care providers, for example, receive about $8.50 an hour, an increase from the $8.30 an hour they received last year.

The federal matching funds came about after state lawmakers realized there was a need for creative ways to bring new money into the system, Mizen said. Colorado ranks 44th in spending for people with disabilities.

“It’s really wonderful, but it’s just too bad that we’ve had to use it just to maintain,” Mizen said. “Even with the federal match, we’ll still lose money this year.”

Horizons Specialized Services is a nonprofit program that aids adults with cognitive disabilities and also offers children services and an early intervention program. There are 60 adults in the program, some of whom live in one of the program’s seven group homes.

For more information about Horizons or to make a donation to the program, call 879-4468.

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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