Local Senior Programs At Risk In Federal Budget Cuts
Proposed $1.1 Billion Cuts Could Impact Seniors
Cutting the budget at a national level could have an effect locally for some volunteer organizations. When the U.S. House voted to approve budget cuts, they put these nationwide programs in jeopardy.
Locally, the Foster Grandparent program, Senior Companion program, and the Retired ans Senior Volunteer program (RSVP) are at risk of being completely eliminated. The move could fire 450,000 volunteers and force senior citizens with medical problems to spend thousands of dollars to continue the care.
Right now, volunteers go grocery shopping, drive seniors to the doctor's office, and help out around the house. They get paid about $2.65 an hour for their expenses including gas. Without the funding, they don't know if they could keep helping.
"I'd like to think I'd continue on, but I don't think I can because of the cost to my car," Renee Cameron, one of the volunteers, said. "I just don't know who is going to take care of these things."
Program staff says this is the wrong place to cut. "These programs really help those who are most vulnerable," Jacque Pipe, Senior Companions Program Director, said. "If they are cut, there will be a domino effect. And so the people that need these services will now be turning to other programs. And if those programs aren't there, then, what are people going to do?"
U.S. Representative Scott Tipton voted in favor of the cuts. His office told us that programs are being trimmed everywhere and that it is time to get serious. Unfortunately, he says, that means we'll have to cut programs that a lot of people want to keep.
"The unfortunate reality of the situation is that we have to make some tough cuts if we are going to start to dig ourselves out of a $1.5 trillion deficit and $14.3 trillion in debt,? Tipton said in a statement to KJCT News 8.
The cuts are part of a larger objective by some of our nation's representatives that would cut $100 billion.
"When they cut things, it seems the poor and the elderly are the first to go," Cameron said. "And, those are the ones that need it the most."
One woman she helps out with is worried about what the future holds if the cuts go through. "I really don't know how I would get along, really," Doratha Spooner said.
The measure has passed the U.S. House. The Senate will debate it next before it could end up on the president's desk.
?Washington?s current spending frenzy is putting our children and grandchildren?s futures at risk. We have to get our fiscal house in order and cut spending.," Tipton said.
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