State lawmakers heard from those who struggle with mental illness and hundreds showed up for a hearing on Wednesday.
Those in attendance at the hearing urged lawmakers to not go along with $300 million in cuts that will affect services and where they live.
"Why are you cutting the budgets? What did we do? We need help,” Jina Puccino, of Branford, said.
Puccino has come a long way in four years with the help of BH Care, which is a private non-profit that helps those with mental illness.
"With me, it's helped me feel better about myself and not have to worry about people judging people because that's not right,” Puccino said.
Many with similar struggles want lawmakers to hear how millions in cuts could hurt them.
"With the budget cuts over the last four years, we have had to reduce services for over 400 clients,” Emily Granelli with BH Care said.
Private providers said this year’s budget cuts are not as bad as previous years. However, the demand for these services continues to increase.
Kuhn is a non-profit that has helped Linda Kauffmann live on her own. Kauffmann said she works five days a week.
"We have a lot of work; Yankee Gas we do other kinds of jobs all of jobs,” Kauffmann said. “We do cans, bottles and cans. We do a lot of stuff."
Private providers save the state money because state care is often more expensive.
Connecticut is facing a huge deficit and in an effort to reduce spending, the governor’s budget includes cuts to many programs. Lawmakers said these cuts are some of the more painful ones.
"It's a challenge, a huge challenge and we have to honor our contracts with those non-profit organizations that are providing these services,” state Sen. Michael Mclachlan (R-Danbury) said.
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