Dennis Bradshaw, executive director of Residential Services, Inc., said the company is not at risk of losing any of the 16 facilities it operates in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
Residential Services group homes receive a mixture of state funding, social service fees and residents’ fees — making them less dependent on the state’s funding.
But he said there are other group homes that run on very tight margins, and any loss of funding could be detrimental.
On Monday, the Senate heard a bill that would provide emergency funding for personal services in group homes.
If it passes, House Bill 5 would appropriate monthly payments to group homes for residents who lost eligibility under the changes made in 2012.
The money for the group homes would come from a $39.7 million allotment in the state budget for 2012-13.
The bill passed in the N.C. House of Representatives unanimously. The Senate has yet to vote on the bill.
In the meantime, residents who lost their eligibility are running out of time to receive care.
Julia Adams, a lobbyist for The Arc of North Carolina, said residents received letters notifying them that they were no longer eligible for personal services.
Adams said Arc of N.C. is encouraging anyone who lost their eligibility to file appeals to buy time.
During the appeals process, residents continue to receive personal care services from group homes.
“That process is happening, and it’s happening very quickly,” Adams said.
“But the minute a state judge rules that you don’t qualify, your service terminates very rapidly after that.”
Adams said many group home residents do not have any living family members or any other place to go, and losing the group homes would be devastating for them.
Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D- Orange, said the situation became very complicated in December when the budget was written.
She said legislators wanted to wait to fix the funding situation for group homes until the next session of the General Assembly began in January.
Kinnaird said she supports House Bill 5, but she worries the bill will not secure the bipartisan support needed to pass.
“I’m not a player this time around. I am an observer, like all the other Democrats,” she said. “There are only 17 of us in a body of 50.”
Kinnaird said she doesn’t know why the Senate is dragging its feet on this important issue.
“As I understand it, the Senate says, ‘No, we’re not going to take it up right now — we’re going to wait until appeal processes are through,’” she said.
“That’s going to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton said he has tried to write to Gov. Pat McCrory about the severity of the issue, but he feels his concerns are falling on deaf ears.
“The fiscal conservatives are in control of all branches of government in North Carolina right now, so I think a lot of bad things are going to happen to a lot of government services,” Chilton said.
He said he encourages residents of Carrboro and Chapel Hill to write, email and send letters to McCrory to prevent residents of group homes from having no place to go.
Contact the desk editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.