Potential federal budget cuts for Meals on Wheels?

Trump budget could affect seniors, aid veterans

SACO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — What would be some of the ripple effects of President Trump's budget here in Maine?

It suggests eliminating $3 billion in Community Development Block Grant funds and funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Those programs provide funding for the nonprofit Meals on Wheels program, which provides hot meals and support for about 2.5 million seniors across the country. But the impact on the program here in Maine is still not clear.

Last year about 4,400 Mainers received home-delivered meals thanks to the program. 

The nonprofit gets a little more than 3 percent of its funding from the feds, about 35 percent comes from the state under the Older American Act and the rest comes from donations.

As the demand for services struggles to keep up with Maine's aging population the concern is that any kind of cuts could be devastating.

The Southern Maine Agency on Aging, which services seniors in both York and Cumberland counties, has been delivering meals to homebound seniors for more than 40 years.

They also serve food from the program at it's Adult Day Centers, which provide programs and activities for the elderly – many of whom suffer from dementia and other cognitive impairments.

The agency delivers about 700 meals each day, and anyone who is 60 and older is eligible for the program.

Katlyn Blackstone, the chief program officer said it's too early to tell what kind of impact any proposed cuts could have on the program. But she said there hasn't been an increase in federal funds in 12 years for the agency, which serves one-third of the state.

"We would be able to serve fewer people in our meals program, our volunteer base would go down and people with social isolation issues living in rural Maine would find their lives changed in a negative way," she said.

Some Maine veterans are thrilled about some aspects of the president's budget, which calls for a 6 percent increase in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Copyright 2017 WCSH


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