Hilltowns are not receiving our fair share of services

To the Editor:

Representing the Hilltowns is a true honor. Most people here are hardworking and are not looking to take advantage of government or its programs.

We all know, though, that everyone needs help now and then. Whether that help comes from family or government, most of us need it sometime during our lifetime.

I do not feel that our residents who may be in need are being given the same advantages as those living elsewhere in Albany County, particularly in the city of Albany. Below are two examples of why I feel this way.

First, at the March meeting of the Albany County Legislature, we were asked to vote on a $62,000-plus grant for Catholic Charities, called Wheels and Ways to Work.

This program is supposedly designed to help TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a federal program] eligible families with the purchase of a used car. It offers consultation on how to pay off the small loan received to purchase the car, as well as giving out, among other things, oil changes, gas, and roadside assistance.

I questioned how many people in the Hilltowns received this benefit. Although I wasn’t surprised, I was disturbed to learn that none of our residents were receiving benefits. The majority of opportunities and monies from this grant are going to city of Albany residents, most of whom live on a bus line.

Even worse, I spoke with a constituent last week who advised me he contacted the Albany County Department of Social Services for short-term assistance and was allegedly told to “…move to the city of Albany….” if he needs help.

I will be meeting with the county executive to discuss this situation and it is my hope we will be able to provide a Department of Social Services Resource Center for our residents. We need, and deserve, the same opportunities as other residents in Albany County.

Deborah Busch
Albany County legislator
District 39

Editor’s note: See more of Deborah Busch’s comments on this matter along with the county executive’s responses online at AltamontEnterprise.com in a March 13 story on the State of the County address.

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