Senior programs could be next shutdown victims

Jennifer Shrader Staff writer

October 4, 2013

Programs crucial to local seniors could be the next domino to fall if the government shutdown persists.

Dan Wooten, director of the Active Life, said Troup Transit funds are in jeopardy if Congress fails to pass a budget. The transportation program is administered by Troup County Parks and Recreation but funded through federal grants.

“If they pull the funding, we will get a one-day notice,” Wooten said.

The transportation programs brings seniors and others to places around town like the senior center and other agencies such as the Department of Children and Family Services, mental health centers and New Ventures.

Wooten said he has about 45 clients who use Troup Transit and he’s looking into other options to get them to the center if the program shuts down.

“We’re looking at several plan B’s,” he said. The senior center participants could carpool with other senior center clients who can drive or Wooten could use parks and recreation buses, among some options.

Once he gets everyone to the Active Life on Ragland Street though, he may have to figure out how to feed them.

If the shutdown goes on for 14 days, the senior center will get a notice that its meal program would shut down in 30 days.

The lunch program at the Active Life is popular and draws a line of seniors getting a lunch ticket as soon as they arrive in the mornings.

Wooten said the center serves about 110 lunches on site and and West Point Senior Center and delivers meals to more than 70 home bound residents.

“We’re looking at alternatives for people in the greatest need with our staff and volunteers,” he said. “We’re not going to leave those people hanging. We’re going to do what we can do.”