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CNY Human service agencies struggling to hire, and inflation is making it worse

Children play classroom in the Salvation Army's daycare facility.
Scott Willis
Children play classroom in the Salvation Army's daycare facility.

The U.S. Labor Department announced Wednesday the consumer price index jumped 9% since last June— the largest 12-month hike in about four decades.

The increasing costs are making it more difficult for Central New York nonprofit human service agencies to meet their missions.

Linda Lopez, executive director for community services at Salvation Army in Syracuse, said they’ve long had to compete with higher wages in other sectors, even before the COVID-19 crisis. But the addition of higher prices occurring in the post-pandemic era is forcing staffers to make tough decisions.

"They cry when they leave. They hand in their resignation because they feel like they need to make that choice for their family, a they cry at the table because they don't wanna leave the work," Lopez said.

The Salvation Army has closed some of its daycare classrooms because of a lack of teachers. The organization has a waiting list 20-names long. Lopez said this trend has her worried for more than just her organization.

"There's lots of supports for people to thrive in our community that other places don't have, and we don't want that to dwindle away because there is no workforce,” Lopez said.

The Salvation Army is looking for about 40 more daycare employees. As an incentive, it’s offering to help new hires to get their necessary credentials.

This story comes from WAER's City Limits: A Working Dilemma podcast.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at