Helen Farabee Centers facing financial shortfall

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The Helen Farabee Center in Wichita Falls is losing a lot of money, a problem that began years ago. In 2016, $1.2 million dollars was lost and it doesn't look much better in 2017, with just over a $1 million dollar shortfall expected.

It is not the first time the group has had to face challenging times. The organization relies on funds from the Texas legislature. That money has not kept up with the costs of service, which has led to a large financial shortfall.

"You don't go out and find a psychiatrist for $2 dollars," Roddy Atkins, the Executive Director of Helen Farabee said. "And, believe me, the price range has gone up for psychiatrists, professionals and things like that."

With them running out of money, it has forced a few positions and services that are not required to be cut. Atkins said it is not the first time the group has faced adversity.

"The bottom line is that we will get through this challenging time one way or the other," Atkins said.

But just how important are their services?

"The services that we provide for them keep them in their homes, in their communities, in jobs," Gianna Harris, Associate Executive Director of Operations at Helen Farabee said.

Harris added that many of the people that use Helen Farabee do not have a second option because some of them have no income or health insurance.

"They don't have an ability to pay us for the services that we provide to them, which are very costly services," Harris said. "So if we go away, they have no one to give them a service. They have no one to give them medications."

The cuts will allow Helen Farabee to excess revenue over expenses by September 1st, a sacrifice that both believe is worth it to keep their services available.

"We will continue to do everything we can to serve individuals in this service area and our region the very best we can," Atkins said.

"I've been working in this field since 1994," Harris said. "And we will survive. We always will."

Atkins said the addition of the Early Childhood Intervention program has had no impact on the problem. He added that he remains optimistic things will get better and more funds will come in the future. Atkins said the financial struggles began to show up when they could no longer leverage their existing resources and that it is important to balance the budget to keep the center viable.

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