NILES, Ohio (WKBN) — Mother Nature has not been kind to anyone this winter, but for those with developmental disabilities who use a program in Niles, the cold weather has hurt it where it counts the most: Its wallet.
Daniel Sideropolis has autism and attends the Nicholson Center in Niles. He was upset to learn that because of the cold weather, his second home may be closing, forcing him to say goodbye to all his friends.
“I don’t want to miss them by going somewhere else,” Sideropolis said.
The Nicholson Center has lost $150,000 from the state that they cannot recoup. Workers met with members of Trumbull County’s Job and Family Services to find out what options are out there for them.
“We love this place. We love the people that we work with. Everybody here is like family. For something like this to happen, it’s pretty hard on everybody,” said Amy Kelley, a personal care assistant at the Nicholson Center.
Workers said while they are worried about where their next paycheck will come from, they are more worried about the dozens of clients they take care of.
“Just praying that wherever they end up that there will be someone that understands the special needs they have and just be able to give them that support and love and still care for them,” said RN supervisor Yuvonka McKinney.
For the clients, it’s not just the center they would be losing. They also could be out of a job opportunity if it closes.
Matthew Karlovic moves boxes and takes care of customers at Tommy’s Jerky Outlet store in Warren. It is one of several stores the Nicholson Center owns, and they are in jeopardy of closing as well.
“A place to go outside the home or the facility if they are from workshop or whatnot. It means a lot,” said store supervisor Haley Razum.
Executive Director Robert Nicholson said he has been in talks with people in the community and with other organizations, such as Family and Community Services of Portage County, which recently took over the Warren SCOPE Center, in the hopes to keep the center open.
About 100 clients and 31 employees would be affected by the closure.