Many state funded programs across Oklahoma have felt the pinch over the past year due to budget cuts, including the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center in Pauls Valley. It just narrowly escaped a motion to close the facility on the last day of the legislative session in May. Monday, lawmakers and citizens on both sides of the issue came together to discuss the future of the SORC.
The Oklahoma Public Employees Association provided testimony on behalf of the 325 employees working at SORC.
“This center is a valuable asset to the citizens of Oklahoma and the residents of SORC are a special class that needs the treatment that is provided here,” said Scott Barger, Deputy Director of OPEA. “Currently there are about 20 residents here that require special, 24 hour care and there is room for only 3 of them at the states other facility and there are no private facilities ready to take these residents at this time, it would take a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks to even prepare a spot for these residents,” Barger said.
SORC was established in 1953 to care for citizens in Oklahoma that had special mental and physical needs and it has continued to perform these functions to this day. The city of Pauls Valley has long been a partner in the operation and even leases land from DHS for its lagoon system.
OPEA is calling on the legislature, the Department of Human Services and the City of Pauls Valley to come together and fund the needed renovations, repairs, and building of some new group homes so these services can continue to be provided to these and the thousands of residents on waiting lists in Oklahoma.