Possible Sequester Could Lead to Cuts in Aging Services

HARRISONBURG -- If Congress fails to reach a compromise on the impending sequester, large cuts set to go into effect on March 1, aging service providers could face reductions.

The Valley Program for Aging Services receives about $1.2 million a year in federal money. They are worried about possible reductions to their budget, and what it could mean for the organization. They help thousands of elderly people across Central and Western Virginia each year through many programs, including Meals on Wheels.

Meals on Wheels is a program that provides meals to elderly people throughout the week. Volunteers and workers deliver the meals to the recipients. The worst case scenario if cuts happen would be to cut the program or reduce the number of people who benefit from it, according to Paul Lavigne, CEO of the organization.

That would lead to difficult decisions. "How do you pick who's not going to get a meal when your funds are cut? We're talking about people that could be your grandmother or my grandmother or my mother. Those are decisions I would hate to have to make," said Beth Bland, who oversees VPAS in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

All of the programs would be affected, not just Meals on Wheels. Lavigne said they are aggressively looking for alternative funding, including asking counties and cities. He notes those areas could also see cuts if the sequester happens.


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