Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Health & Human Services Cabinet Director Betsy Brockway reminds individuals and families recently laid off from Circuit City, IBM, or any employer including small businesses that there is assistance to deal with job loss. “Dutchess County is a very caring community,” states Mrs. Brockway. “In these difficult times, you are not alone. There are both county and community resources ready to assist you.”
One resource available which is funded from the County budget is provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension which offers financial management services (845-677-8223).
The Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene’s 24-hour, 7 days a week HELPLINE is a phone call away. If you are feeling depressed, stressed out or anxious, please call toll free, 1-877-485-9700. “Do not hesitate, call us immediately; treatment works,” states Commissioner Kenneth Glatt, Ph.D., ABPP. “A trained, caring mental health professional will answer your call 24-hours, 7 days a week, and will assist you right away. The Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene, and our broad system of care, provides many types of confidential services to support and aid you during these trying times.”
HELPLINE provides crisis counseling, information, referral service, and even appointments. Anyone can call HELPLINE for any reason to schedule an appointment at any of the outpatient clinics without having to call back. HELPLINE also provides the pre-intake screenings and appointments for all public outpatient mental health and chemical dependency programs for both adult and children’s services in Dutchess County.
Commissioner Robert Allers reminds the public, “The Department of Social Services accepts applications for food stamps, HEAP assistance, Temporary Assistance, Medicaid and Child Support.” Call 845-486-3000 for eligibility status or use the following NYS Office of Temporary Assistance website to see if you are eligible for the above benefits: https://www.mybenefits.ny.gov/selfservice/.”
Veterans Services Agency Director, Nelson Eddy Rivera, calls attention to local veterans, “If you have lost your job, please contact us at 845-486-2060 to find out about services you may be entitled to, such as health benefits and new educational benefits support.”
In addition, if you are a caregiver for an elderly or disabled family member, call the Division of Aging Services, at 845-486-2555. “As a caregiver who has been recently downsized, you were already under stress,” states Director John Beale. “The Dutchess County Division of Aging Services offers assistance and services to help you with elderly family members. There may be additional services for you if are a senior who is 60 years or older.”
Commissioner Michael C. Caldwell, MD, MPH, states: ”As many find their resources stretched thin, the Department of Health offers free vaccinations to persons 18 years of age and younger; those 19 years of age and older may receive measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) at adult clinic free of charge for college attendance.” Dr. Caldwell reminds the public that they can obtain a Dutchess County Prescription Drug Discount Card to save an average 20 percent off the retail price of commonly prescribed drugs not covered by insurance. There is no enrollment form, no membership fee and no restrictions or limits on frequency of use. Call the department at 845-486-3400 for information.
Further information on County services may be found at https://www.dutchessny.gov/ .
Local community agencies also have resources to help with temporary financial assistance and other services:
- Dutchess Outreach offers food pantry and other basic temporary needs (845-454-3792);
- Catholic Charities-Dutchess County offers assistance with basic needs (845-454-1400);
- Community Action Partnership of Dutchess County provides food, medical assistance with Child Health Plus and Family Health Plus enrollment, and financial aid (845-452-5104);
- Hudson River Housing’s Neighbor Works offers foreclosure counseling (845-454-9288);
- United Way’s 2-1-1 provides information, referral and assistance in specific geographic areas on food pantries, clothing, shelter, services for special populations and those over 60, medical transportation, and other related services.
Families under stress may also seek parenting services through Family Services, Inc, (845-452-1110) or Mental Health America, (845-473-2500). The Dutchess County Youth Services Unit offers free short term counseling for parents and youths. An expansive family resource guide, Helping Our Families, can be downloaded from the Dutchess County Children’s Services Council’s website: http://www.dcchildrensservicescouncil.org/.
If you are associated with a faith-based organization, ask if there are any specific programs or assistance for your family and neighbors as part of their community outreach.
In the coming months, the Health and Human Service Cabinet, which represents the County human services departments, will be strengthening the formal and informal support systems for those losing their employment. The Cabinet will look for creative ideas both internally and with community partners. “In the early 1990’s after a prior IBM downsizing and after 9/11, we learned that this model of private public partnership is the best way to handle human challenges in a coordinated, proactive response,” states Brockway.