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Helping Kids With $$ NY Inmates Left Behind?

PHOTO: More than $500,000 left behind by inmates of the Nassau County Correctional Facility could be used to fund strapped youth services agencies, if only county legislators could agree on it. Photo credit: kconnors/morgueFile.com.
PHOTO: More than $500,000 left behind by inmates of the Nassau County Correctional Facility could be used to fund strapped youth services agencies, if only county legislators could agree on it. Photo credit: kconnors/morgueFile.com.

May 22, 2014

FRESH MEADOWS, N.Y. – It's a bit like finding spare change left under the sofa cushions – to the tune of half a million dollars.

A recent audit found that $570,000 in unclaimed funds was left behind by former inmates at the Nassau County Correctional Facility, in their commissary accounts.

Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams says the County Legislature should steer that money to hard-hit youth services.

"Our proposal was to have it being steered toward helping human service programs, youth board programs,” he explains. “Those programs have received cuts significantly over the last four years and we feel that money would be best used there."

A spokeswoman for Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves says the majority is awaiting a decision from the county attorney on whether the money could be used that way.

Peter Levy, president of the Nassau County Coalition of Youth Services, would welcome it.

"If all the ‘I’s are dotted and all the ‘T’s are crossed and this money is really, in fact, unclaimed and there's no one who it rightfully belongs to, and the county was looking for someplace to give that money, the agencies that serve the youth of Nassau County would benefit from that money greatly," he says.

But Levy is not holding his breath.

"We're not very optimistic at all,” he admits. “Simply because the minority in the legislature – who does not have enough votes to be the majority – has proposed this and the other side has not said they're in favor."

Abrahams, though, is hoping politics won't factor in.

"I don't think that's going to be an issue,” he says. “I mean this is not really a partisan issue.

“I believe everybody wants to support youth board programs and help human service programs in the county."

Abrahams says while some skeptics have pointed out this would only be a one shot of revenue, he says it would be most welcome as summer approaches, and funding could be applied to camps and other seasonal services for youth.



Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY