The United South End Settlements (USES) said this week that they have made staffing cuts recently to their changing organization, but also said they have achieved a balanced budget for the first time in years.
Executive Director Maicharia Weir Lytle said they have laid off 12 people from the staff, but that USES believes none of the staffing cuts will have any impact on their programming.
“While tough decisions are being made at USES, we believe the changes we’re making will help us with our commitment to our mission, which is make sure low-income children and families are finding success and thriving,” she said. “While there are layoffs, really it’s all an effort to make sure our programming is successful and there is no duplication. We don’t see our programs being hurt by these layoffs. While they are clearly difficult, we don’t believe they are positions that have an impact on achieving our mission or an impact on programs serving youth…We did end up reducing our staff here at the director’s level or higher as we look to be effective or efficient and look for redundancy or overlap.”
Likewise, she said the cuts and new efficiencies have resulted in a balanced budget.
“It is good news for us as we move into the next fiscal year in July,” she said. “We have been able to stabilize and be more financially secure. We were able to achieve a balanced budget, which the organization has not had in several decades. It’s a great step forward in preserving the organization’s financial future.”
Much of the cuts came through the workforce development program, and other positions associated with the Tubman House that is going to be sold.
She said six were people in the old workforce development program, three were leaving when the building sold, two were management and two had their hours reduced.
Weir Lytle said they are moving away from the traditional workforce development programming and instituting a ‘coaching’ model to help meet people where they are – likely working with parents of the children they serve.
“It’s a different way of getting to these workforce outcomes,” she said.
She said by working with a coaching model, they are able to meet parents where they are at and individualize the training for them. Previously, programs were structured as a one-size-fits-all situation, and may not have been the best fit for everyone.
On the youth side, she said they are enhancing their STEAM program and launching ‘Club 48’ – an after school program that implements Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics into an art-based curriculum. She said the program is integrated with the Boston Public Schools curriculum, and adds the traditional USES art emphasis to help.
“We think it’s important that children know these concepts within the realm of the arts,” she said.
Finally, another big initiative was the ribbon cutting this week on Phase 1 of the Camp Hale (NH) Master Plan. USES has raised $3.4 million to date for the plan to rehabilitate the camp for inner city kids to get out into the great wide open. They are building a wellness center, a new dining hall and appropriate staff cabins.
‘We are Harriet’ Kicks off Effort to Save Tubman House
A group of South End residents and organizations announced that they would be having a press conference to kick off their effort to stop the demolishment of the Harriet Tubman House at 566 Columbus Ave.
The Tubman House is being sold by USES to New Boston Ventures to be demolished and converted into a mixed-use condo project.
“As longtime Community Activists and Racial Justice Advocates, We, a Group of Concerned Women We Are Harriet!—ask for your support by joining us to STOP the SALE and DEMOLISHMENT of the Historic Harriet Tubman House to make room for MORE luxury CONDOS,” read the press release. “Harriet Tubman, a City of Boston landmark at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue, in an area that is steeped in African American History…She is where she belongs…Never underestimate the power of women. We are Harriet!”
The release also discusses six non-profits that are being moved as a result of the project, and the importance of saving them for the long-term – with current removal plans only ensuring their existence for one or two years.
The effort was to kick off Wednesday evening, after Sun deadlines.