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Good News from Washington….At Least for Now


May 9, 2017

Last week, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2017, which funds the federal government. This bill eases some of the uncertainty that has existed around federal funding for senior programs, at least through the end of the current fiscal year.

Through this Act, Congress funded:

  • A $3 million increase for senior nutrition programs and funded through the Older Americans Act. This is the major federal funding for the delivery of nutrition services for more than 11 million older Americans.
  • Continued funding for the Community Development Block Grant and Social Services Block grant programs. These block grant programs are supplemental federal funding sources for nutrition and social services.
  • Continued funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service. This federal agency funds Senior Corps, which includes the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs.

What does this mean for Senior Resources? It means that we will not have to cut our Meals on Wheels roster. It means that we can continue providing home care services for the frailest seniors in our community. It means that seniors will be transported from their homes to senior centers to enjoy companionship, activities, and lunch.  And it means that Foster Grandparents can continue helping children, and Senior Companions can continue providing companionship and friendship to other seniors.

I think Ellie Hollander, CEO of Meals on Wheels America said it best when she said, “At a time when lawmakers are still deeply divided over the role of the federal government, and amid existing fiscal restrictions that make it difficult for Congress to provide any increases, we recognize the compromises made to reach this funding agreement.”

We are thankful to our elected representatives for taking this action.  However, we know that even with these federal resources, the needs in our community are great. The cost of living continues to increase for seniors, particularly for food, medication, and housing. And the demand is increasing. Federal funding has not kept pace with inflation or the growing senior population, despite the cost-effectiveness of these programs.  With the growing senior population, waiting lists will continue to grow and the number of seniors threatened by hunger will worsen if current funding levels are not increased. All vulnerable seniors should have access to nutritious meals delivered by a friendly face who is checking on their safety, and access to other programs that enable them to live in their own homes and out of more costly healthcare settings.

South Carolina is already fourth-worst in the county for seniors facing hunger and food insecurity.  Please help us change this embarrassing statistic by encouraging your elected officials to increase funding for senior programs, by donating to Senior Resources to ensure that these programs remain available, or by volunteering to deliver a meal and smile to a homebound senior.   Thank you for your support.

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