Several YMCA employees out of a job

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This is the second round of layoffs for the YMCA of Greater Houston. The first round happened last August. The reason is pretty familiar to a lot of people struggling in these times -- the recession and Hurricane Ike.

The news came as a shock to a number of YMCA employees late last week.

"Last week, we eliminated 17 positions and offered reassignment to four other positions at the association level," said YMCA spokesperson Trazanna Moreno.

That's the administrative and managerial level, not people working at local YMCAs or on YMCA's programs in the community.

The reason...

"The YMCA, like so many other organizations, is suffering from our bad economy," said Moreno.

And like so many in Houston, the YMCA is reeling from the after-effects of Hurricane Ike, losing $1.5 million in membership fees for the weeks after Ike. It didn't charge members because the power was out or the facilities unusable.

The Y is also down $1.5 million in cancelled memberships, a place where people strapped for cash might first look to cut back.

"Me going to the gym isn't a life or death situation," said YMCA member Jason Bass.

And another $1.5 million down because parents are taking their kids out of day care, after school care or not signing up for summer camps.

"Yes, we have seen where parents are readjusting their incomes because of whatever situations they are going through at home," said Noddiyca Jackson, Director of Child Care at the Medical Center YMCA.

In fact, the Y took care of 10,600 kids last year, down from 11,749 in the 2006-2007 fiscal year.

And while last year, up to a third of all people who used the Y had financial help, this year those numbers are up.

The YMCA is dealing with about an $8 million shortfall this year. Thirty-two people were laid off and five were reassigned last August. The Y says it doesn't foresee any more layoffs in the near future.

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