Letter Of Concern from CEO Debra Furtado
Senior Connections receives 45% of our funding from government sources. Our funding includes federal, state and local funding. We have contracts with local counties and the funding we receive from those counties is a mix of federal and state and we have seen more and more counties such as DeKalb increase their funding for senior services.
In DeKalb County for example, we are the Meals on Wheels provider as well as In-Home Care and we manage senior centers. We also serve other counties and we provide meals funded through Medicaid. The state of Georgia offers two Medicaid waiver programs and meals and in-home care are provided via these programs. Providers like us have not seen an increase in the fees for these services in over 10 years yet we continue to provide much needed services. The 11 years that I have been at Senior Connections has resulted in flat funding and, even though counties have made up for federal cuts, we have raised money from our community – people like you – to enable us to maintain the number of people we serve. Also important to know that 85 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to programs.
Recently there have been a lot of reports, articles and social media postings about cuts to critical programs such as Meals on Wheels funded through HUD. We also provide home repair work to seniors in need and these funds, according to proposed budget cuts, will be eliminated. The Meals on Wheels funding that is proposed to be cut will affect state funding as states use the Community Development Block Grant funding to provide much needed meals. In the state of Georgia, Governor Deal, and our state elected senators and representatives have increased funding for Meals on Wheels and other funding using various funds. These cuts will put an additional burden on all states – especially those who have many seniors, as Georgia does, who need meals. We also have a great number of seniors on waiting list.
Meals on Wheels saves money! The cost to provide meals for a year to a senior is $1500 and the cost for a nursing home is $40,000 – this does not include the cost of in-home care. Meals on Wheels is a good investment. Of course our volunteers who deliver meals know that it’s more than a meal. The visit to a seniors’ home is the highlight for many, preventing many from being isolated.
SO HOW CAN YOU HELP?
- Volunteering - Our volunteers are helping daily by delivering meals and helping in our kitchen. We can use your help. Visit our website to complete a volunteer application and contact us.
- Donations - We are always in need of donations – you can donate via our website or send us a check. We need donations all the time and we will be asking more and more because we must.
- Advocate - Contact your member of Congress and tell them not to approve the proposed budget.
Chief Executive Officer