Gov. Paul LePage has proposed cutting state funding for a little known line item called Targeted Case Management.

It’s small piece of the $220 million budget proposal — potentially saving a few million over the next 18 months.

But targeted case managers have a big impact around the state and keep people out of homeless shelters and emergency rooms, advocates said.

Targeted case managers are often employed by private service agencies or cities such as Portland, but are partly paid for with state funding. They work with many of Maine’s most vulnerable people, including those who are homeless, developmentally disabled, recovering addicts or who have mental illness or HIV.

There are 118 agencies statewide who provide case management services, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. A DHHS spokesman said the department was verifying the amount of potential savings and the number of people who could be affected, and could not provide specifics.

A case manager may work with two dozen people or 100. They provide a wide variety of services, such as helping clients keep and find apartments and jobs, making sure the chronically ill stay on their medications and connecting people with health and dental care.

“I provide guidance, (and) I provide support for my clients. I do what I can for them,” said Carol Grose, a former legislator from Woolwich who now works with the homeless as a targeted case manager for Tedford Housing in Brunswick. She testified against the proposed cuts Thursday.

Grose, who has about 25 clients, said she drives them to the career center and helps gets many people back on their feet.

“I’ve had a lot of successes,” she said. “My people don’t want to be homeless.”

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