WILKES-BARRE — An organization that helps people with disabilities announced Wednesday it plans to close its facilities in Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, and Tunkhannock.
According to executives of United Rehabilitation Services (URS), cuts in funding have made it impossible to continue services to its 250 clients.
A handful of clients stood outside the URS building in Wilkes-Barre just hours after getting the news that URS would soon shut down. It came as a shock to Sandy Dobrowolski of Sweet Valley, who was there picking up her daughter.
“I’m broken-hearted. I’m broken-hearted because I don’t know, I don’t know what they’re going to do with the clients,” said Dobrowolski.
The head of URS told Newswatch 16 the organization has a budget shortfall of about $1million and had no choice but to close its three locations in Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, and Tunkhannock.
URS provides employment and activities for people with disabilities. Sandy Dobrowolski’s two children have been coming here for more than 20 years.
“They even hold dances sometimes for these guys so they’re able to go to dances and things like it. It gives them a social outlet,” said Dobrowolski.
The closure will put 50 staff members out of work and leave roughly 250 clients with nowhere to go.
The county mental health and developmental services program oversees URS.
URS says the program will contact other agencies to see if they have room to take in the URS clients.
Dobrowolski hopes they’ll find placement for her children.
“The kids told me that they weren’t going to close, so I was kind of a little relaxed, and now today I find out that they’re closing so it’s, it’s upsetting because I don’t know what’s going to happen to them and I just don’t want them sitting at home doing nothing,” said Dobrowolski.
When asked if there’s a chance they can stay open somehow, the CEO told us the only thing that can save us is a miracle.
The three URS buildings are expected to close June 18.