December 20, 2010; Source: Buffalo Business First | In Hamburg, N.Y., Hopevale Inc., a 150-year-old residential program for “abused, dependent and delinquent children” is closing after suffering both revenue losses and low enrollment. Saying that its business model no longer works, the agency has informed 190 staff that they will be let go.

The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County has taken the bull by the horns, hosting a nonprofit job fair on December 23 for the workers.

Hopevale, which ran a number of programs, was not small, with a budget of approximately $14 million a year, but this year it suffered a loss of $400,000. Its resident numbers had also fallen from 100 last year to 75 this past summer and then to the current 40.

While $400,000 may not seem like a significant proportion of the budget to lose for a single recessionary year, the agency had no reserves to buffer the problem. Apparently the decision to close and transfer the children in residence followed a few months of joint exploration by the board and staff before the group decided that its business model was not viable. Some of the programs on Hopevale’s 50 acre campus will be more slowly phased out.—Ruth McCambridge