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December 04, 2016
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Support for fired deputy commissioner; homeless housing down, arrests up

The turnout for the meeting of the Sullivan County Health and Human Services meeting was so large that the meeting was moved into a larger room to accommodate residents who had come in support of Dr. David Sager.

Homeless housing down

Parker handed out a chart that showed that the number of homeless people the county is paying to house in motels has dropped significantly over the past three months. At the end of March the total number of people was 150, by the end of May that number had dropped to 84.

There were several reasons given for the significant drop including the exclusion of people who are not eligible for housing due to income, sanction, jail, rehabilitation or hospitalization. Another reason listed was “More stringent interview process to search out previous or alternative resource.”

Arrests for abuse and fraud

Gerald Dietz, the chief fraud investigator for DFS, said there had been a total of 21 arrests for waste fraud and abuse of social services over the past two months.

Legislator Gene Benson asked, “Is the amount that we’re saving outweighing the cost of putting some of these people in jail?”

Diets responded that the prosecutions have not yet been completed, but that because of the arrests, “there are a number of people who have called and are paying their obligations because they are worried about being arrested.”

Parker detailed some of the arrests that have been made. He said, “a local child care provider arrested for fraudulent bill submission, a local resident claiming that their child is in childcare when the child is not, an individual trying to sell their food stamp card for cash in a local grocery store, people working under the table not reporting their income, an individual who had $16,000 in his bank account coming in and saying he has no resources.”

Parker also said there are warrants out for fathers in 34 child support cases, where the fathers owe a total of $1.4 million in child support. Parker said, “Some of that money is owed back to the county for services that we had to provide to the mother and children because they weren’t getting child support payments."