In Home Support Services program face proposed budget cuts
Story by Stephanie Sanchez, Reporter - bio | email
Imperial Valley--Budget cuts are looming for a government program that'll affect thousands of seniors in Imperial County with medical and physical needs.
75-year old Rosa Giddens said she goes to the Alegria senior center two days a week because she doesn't want to be home alone and it's a place where she doesn't have to worry about cooking, which is hard for her to do.
"I can't sweep. I can't mop. I can't do much." Giddens, a Calexico resident said. "Sometimes things fall out of my hands because they're too weak. That's why I started needing this program."
She is among the thousands of elderly people with medical and physical needs in Imperial County who receive help from a government program that sends social workers to help them with daily chores.
"This program get targeted quite a lot when they talk about budget cuts because it's an expensive program, it's needed. A lot of people depend heavily on the program and in the long run it does save the state money," Gary Andrews, assistant director for Imperial County's Department of Social Services said. "It's cheaper to keep our participants in their home than it is if they were to go to a skilled nursing program."
Andrews said the State of California has proposed a 20 percent cut for In Home Support Services.
Andrews said over 5,000 seniors depend on the IHSS program including the thousands who help serve them.
He said roughly about 10,000 people will be affected in Imperial County if these cuts take place.>
But a recent lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern district has temporarily halted the proposed cuts.
"We are in a wait and see mode right now, this is not the 1st time this program has been targeted, again because of the expensive nature," Andrews said.
Giddens said a recent evaluation slashed 20 hours of weekly help.
She said she's afraid her hours will be less if the proposed cuts are implemented.
"It makes me feel unhappy and very sad because I live alone and I think to myself what am I going to do?" she said. "I have many sons and daughters but they work too."
Officials at Alegria, an adult day health care center said about 100 seniors come in daily to use their program.
They said the majority of them are clients of the IHSS.
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