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Area Agency on Aging to Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Sequestration Cuts

The Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens, Area Agency on Aging announces that the proposal to implement the sequestration cuts in fiscal year 2012-13 grants for senior services throughout San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties will be decided at Friday’s meeting of the Board of Directors.

The Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens is a nonprofit corporation incorporated in 1975 and designated by the California Department of Aging as the Area Agency on Aging for the counties of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. In this capacity, the Central Coast Commission is responsible for the allocation of limited funding from the Older Americans Act for services to assist senior citizens and caregivers.

“The goal of the monies and the awards is to ensure the safety of older persons in their own homes,” said Karen O’Neil, president of the Board of Directors. “The monies from the Older Americans Act is also affected by sequestration. The California Department of Aging has notified the agency that cuts totaling $57,735 must be implemented prior to the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2013.

“The Central Coast Commission annually appropriates nearly $3 million for the provision of social, nutrition, family caregiver and health promotion services in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.”

The programs supported with these monies include: information and referral, long-term care ombudsman services, home delivered and congregate meals, legal assistance, home repair, in-home supportive services, caregiver respite care, counseling and support groups, and geriatric day care centers.

“Based on the information, cuts will be made to reduce mental health services, congregate meals, home delivered meals, in home personal care and home repairs,” O’Neil said. “Based on the information, 6,270 meals served in congregate settings, 2,612 home delivered meals, 22 hours of counseling and 393 hours of in-home bath care will be eliminated for local senior citizens.

“It is important to advise the community about these cuts in services due to sequestration. These cuts are not the end of sequestration because the federal fiscal year continues until Sept. 30. So the California Department of Aging has advised that additional cuts will be implemented for the July-September 2013 period. The information regarding the cuts for the three months has not been received.

“These are very difficult times for older persons seeking needed services to help them maintain their independence in their own homes. I hope the community will understand that the need for additional support — volunteer time and money — is critical.”

The Board of Directors will include a public hearing at 9:30 a.m. at their Friday meeting to hear from the community about the proposed sequestration cuts to senior programs in this two-county region. Interested people are welcome to participate and share their concerns.

— Joyce Ellen Lippman is executive director for the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.

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