|By Justin Sondel, Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, N.Y.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Representatives from the city's largest provider of services to the poor and homeless say it started a few years ago when they were forced to make a difficult decision: Use funds on hand to meet the organization's tax obligations or continue to provide meals, shelter and counseling to needy individuals in
Officials from Community Missions say they chose the latter, eventually leading to the organization falling behind on taxes owed to the
"We felt we were forced into a choice," said the organization's longtime Executive Director
The tax situation also has had a direct impact on Krueger herself.
Documents on file with
Krueger said she was well aware of the possible outcome of choosing to continue providing services instead of paying the Missions' taxes, but pressed on anyhow.
"Every CEO knows that's the risk," she said.
Krueger and members of her board admit Community Missions is still at risk of having to reduce services. Agency officials also contend that they have a plan in place to regain financial stability. The organization has already cut staff, sold off property and pursued additional grants to keep itself afloat. Missions' officials hope an infusion of
Krueger said Community Missions' officials chose not to go public with their struggles earlier because they thought they could make it through without asking for assistance.
"You try to do the best you can," Krueger said. "Everybody's struggling."
Representatives said there were several major changes that resulted in the organization's financial dilemma.
First was a change in funding policy from the
Krueger said that the changes, which require the organization to bill
"There was a huge learning curve for our staff and consumers," she said.