Federal budget slash will impact senior programs

WLFI File Photo

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — President Donald Trump’s proposed budget blueprint could take money away from senior citizen programs, including in Greater Lafayette. News 18 looks at how a cut to federal grants could take important resources away from the elderly.

President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal would do away with the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant. While the blueprint claims that program is ineffective, it’s helping to feed and house senior citizens in need here in Tippecanoe County.

Before the Meals On Wheels program, 65-year-old Lafayette resident Carol Rayburn wasn’t sure when she’d be able to get her next hot meal.

“It’s been a life-saver for me,” she said.

Rayburn is blind and unable to prepare meals for herself.

But the President’s proposed budget blueprint would make it harder, if not impossible, for people like Rayburn to afford the program.

“Furious, because everybody that’s in my situation, and worse than mine, we need it,” Rayburn said. “We need it very bad.”

According to the Center @ Jenks Rest executive director Bill Glick, Lafayette received between $500,000-$600,000 from the CDBG last year. Without the grant, he said not everyone would be able to use the meal delivery program.

“We would be talking about folks that would be hard pressed to meet their nutritional needs,” Glick said.

The grant also funds the senior home repair program.

In 2016, about $50,000 from the grant was used to make home improvements. Glick claims supporting resources like Meals On Wheels and the home repair program are actually saving taxpayers millions.

“Keeping people at home, in the community, out of long-term care [and] out of nursing homes,” he said. “And it’s cutting down significantly on Medicaid’s need to pay for that long-term care.”

While the blueprint is just a proposal at this time, Rayburn hopes the federal government will re-evaluate what they’re cutting before it’s too late.

“We need it real bad,” Rayburn said. “And if we didn’t, then everybody would be in big trouble.”

The next step is for House and Senate committees to holding hearings on proposed budgets. Congress typically breaks it down over the summer. A final decision on spending should come by the end of 2017.