Wheeling City Council members have had to make difficult spending decisions during the past few years. No doubt the agreement to cut off funding for Wheeling Health Right was a tough one for them.
But as both the state and federal governments have reduced support for localities, city officials felt they had to cut the Health Right money. Last year the organization received $19,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds through the city. During the current year the Health Right line item was "zeroed out."
Earlier this month council received a letter from Health Right Executive Director Kathie Brown, asking that the city restore funding for her agency.
Health Right is a charitable organization that operates a free community clinic on 29th Street. It annually provides health care services to thousands of people who cannot afford insurance and whose income makes it difficult or impossible for them to pay for treatment.
It is not too much to say that Health Right is a lifeline for some area residents.
Now, with the economy still struggling and thousands of area residents unemployed or able to find only low-paying jobs, the need for Health Right services is greater than in times of prosperity. Council should consider restoring funding to the charity, if only to get it - and those who rely on it - through the current difficult period.