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Public Input Sought to Help Create Senior Friendly Communities

Community input is sought to create Senior Friendly Communities throughout the Central Coast and ensure that limited federal monies are meeting the priority needs of senior citizens through the work of the Area Agency on Aging.

The Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens, Area Agency on Aging, announces that four public hearings will be held throughout Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties in January to secure comment from the public.

“With the uncertainty of the federal budget and the funding reductions already implemented in the state budget, it is imperative that we hear from senior citizens, caregivers and other interested persons about the priority needs as we attempt to have a ‘senior-friendly’ community,” said Karen O’Neil, president of the Board of Directors. “These are very difficult times and we need to be sure we are on the right track.

“Annually the Area Agency on Aging prepares a Draft Area Plan which presents a proposed allocation of Older Americans Act monies to address the needs of senior citizens in greatest social and economic need in the two county region. This year it is especially important to look at our funding priorities and ensure they help us to maintain a senior friendly community.

“All interested persons are invited to attend and present comment at the public hearings. The intent of the public hearings is to receive community comment regarding the priorities, goals and objectives of the Area Agency on Aging for the first year (2012-2013) of the four-year Area Plan, which are outlined in the Draft Area Plan.”

“The Area Plan expresses the intent of the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) to implement the goals and objectives of the Older Americans Act,” said Will Schuyler, chairman of the AAA Advisory Council. “We are responsible for over $2.8 million for the support of supportive, health and nutrition services to assist older persons and caregivers to remain safe and secure in their own homes.

“We want to hear from the community whether our plans for the expenditure of these federal monies are properly targeted. The basic question is whether our proposed expenditures will help to maintain a senior friendly community?”

Public comment on the Draft Planning and Service Area Plan can be provided at either a public hearing or in writing to the Area Agency on Aging office by Jan. 30. The public hearing schedule is:

» Paso Robles — Wednesday, Jan. 30, at the Senior Center, 270 Scott St., beginning at 10 a.m.

» San Luis Obispo — Friday, Jan. 18, at the Ludwick Community Center,  864 Santa Rosa St., beginning at 10 a.m.

» Goleta — Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the Goleta Senior Center, 5679 Hollister Ave., beginning at 10 a.m.

» Santa Maria — Monday, Jan. 28, at the Elwin Mussell Senior Center, 510 E. Park St., beginning at 10 a.m.

“The Draft Area Plan has been prepared by the members of the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council and Board of Directors to ensure the development of a community based system of social and nutrition services in the two county region,” Schuyler said. “The challenges ahead for the Area Agency on Aging include support of a social service system which strengthens the capacities of older persons in greatest social and economic need within the financial constraints imposed by federal and state governments.”

Copies of the Draft Planning and Service Area Plan will be available at the local libraries and the Area Agency on Aging office by Jan. 11. All interested persons are invited to attend the hearings. People needing accommodation must contact the Area Agency on Aging by Jan. 11.

For more information, call AAA Director Joyce Ellen Lippman at 805.925.9554.

— Joyce Ellen Lippman represents the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.

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