Seniors Vulnerable to Losing Access to Critical Programs
The Record highlighted in a January 5, 2013 article, “Cuts in Federal Aid Hurting NJ Senior Centers,” an example of how devastating federal budget cuts can be to vulnerable populations. Bergen County has seen its Community Development and Block Grant (CDBG) funding decreased from $12 million in 2011 to $9.8 million in 2010 and it, like many local communities, relies on that funding for services to the elderly.
In Westwood, this translates to the senior center having to cut the number of meals served in half over the past two years. Many of these seniors live on very limited budgets that often force them to choose between buying food and medicine.
“For roughly three years, senior citizens in North Jersey have been affected by sweeping congressional cuts to a popular federal grant program (CDBG), leaving towns already working with tight budgets — and in some cases, even the seniors themselves — to make up the difference.”
“’The federal government has cut these programs pretty considerably,’ said Bergen County spokesman Joseph Appio. ‘I understand volunteers help out to make ends meet at these places, and we are very concerned about this.’”
With additional potential and significant federal budget cuts ahead, the elderly, homeless, and disabled will continue to see cuts to the critical programs provided at the local level that they rely on. The elderly are often considered the “deserving poor.” What will happen to our homeless and disabled neighbors who are often considered “undeserving?”