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Cuts threaten SCV Senior Center

Posted: June 15, 2012 3:00 a.m.
Updated: June 15, 2012 3:00 a.m.

Senior Center is facing cuts to its senior nutrition program after a federal grant was reduced this year, its executive director said the center won’t let seniors go hungry and is instead seeking other funding and making cutbacks to help

The federal Health and Human Services grant to fund senior nutrition programs was cut by 22 percent for financial
year 2012-13, which means that the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Centerwill see less funding for its meal program starting
July 1, said Rachelle Dardeau, executive director for the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center.

The grant is passed through by Los Angeles County, but the county does not determine the amount of the grant.

The center feeds about 500 seniors a day, with about 300 delivered to homebound seniors, Dardeau said.

Dardeau estimates that the senior center will have served about 138,000 meals by June 30 this year.

For the fiscal year starting July 1, the center will receive funding for about 129,600 meals.

The cuts come at a time when the senior population and need for meals is increasing, Dardeau said.

“Everything is costing more,” Dardeau said. “The baby boomers are aging, so we have more people attending. It’s a
struggle for all nonprofits,” Dardeau said.

Because the senior nutrition program is so important, Dardeau said the center is looking to cut back as much as possible in other areas and look for other sources of revenue.

“We’re looking at budget cuts in other areas to make up those funds,” Dardeau said. “We’re looking at our vehicle costs, gasoline costs, supply costs.”

Despite the struggles that the senior center is facing trying to make up the cost of the meals, Dardeau said the center
wouldn’t let seniors go hungry.

“They don’t have to worry; they’re going to have food,” Dardeau said. A resident brought up her concerns about the funding cuts at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, and council members said they are paying close attention to the senior
center’s funding and considering their options.

Jeanne Wray, a selfsufficient senior citizen who is concerned about the plight of the senior center, said she’s hoping that the center finds a way to help pay for the meals.

“I’m worried about the seniors who don’t have anything and are homebound,” Wray said. “I don’t know how they’re getting along.”

Seniors qualify for home delivered meals if they are homebound, unable to drive, have a medical condition that makes it difficult for them to prepare their own meals, or if they don’t have a caregiver to prepare meals, Dardeau said. Clients are evaluated on criteria and medical need by a senior center care manager.

Clients qualify for meals served at the center if they are 60 years old or older and fill out intake paperwork required by the county.


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