Senior Advocacy in Action Alert
An 8.4% cut across all federal non-entitlement programs will go into effect January 2, 2013. The cuts are automatically triggered by the 2011 Budget Control Act, resulting from the bipartisan “Super Committee’s” inability to come to an agreement on $1.2 trillion in budget cuts. Unless Congress acts, these cuts will affect every federal program, from the military to public health and social services. Please see the information below and make calls, emails, faxes, and tweets to express your concern.
Unless Congress reverses an 8.4% across-the-board cut approved last year, all discretionary federally-funded aging network programs will lose funding beginning January 2, 2013. The official name for this cut is “sequestration,” and it was a provision of the Budget Control Act that was passed to address the growing federal budget deficit.
Between $4-5 million in annual funding will be lost to Michigan just from the federal Older Americans Act, which provides congregate and home-delivered meals, in-home services, senior employment and other services. Other discretionary federal programs would also be hit, including energy assistance, senior volunteer programs, and the Community Services Block Grant, which supports Community Action Agencies and helps low-income families. A report released by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) states that the sequester would eliminate 17 million meals for needy seniors nationwide. The sequester is taking place because a bipartisan committee failed to come up with an agreement on how to save $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.
What You Can Do:
Contact your U.S. Representative and Michigan’s two U.S. Senators to express your concern about the impact of “Sequestration Cuts” on low-income seniors. Find your U.S. Representative by going to www.house.gov and typing your zip code in the box at the top labeled “Find Your Representative.” You can also send a message directly through the website. If you don’t have the Internet, call your local library for information.
Michigan’s U.S. Senators
- Senator Carl Levin Ph (202) 224-6221 F (202) 224-1388 www.levin.senate.gov
- Senator Debbie Stabenow Ph (202) 224-4822 F (202) 228-0325 www.stabenow.senate.gov
NOTE: Deliver messages by phone, fax or email. Do not send a letter as mail addressed to federal officials is screened for toxins and can be delayed in the process.
- When the sequester cuts take place, Michigan will lose $4-5 million in federal monies for home and community-based services for seniors through the Older Americans Act.
- The cuts will deny 6,000+ seniors nutritional meals, including 2,500 frail homebound seniors getting meals-on-wheels. Evidence shows that poor nutrition can lead to weight loss, health problems, falls, and increased difficulty with activities of daily living.
Harold Mast Appointed by Governor to Chair Commission
Harold Mast, Kentwood resident and current Kent County Commissioner, was recently appointed by Governor Snyder as Chair of the Commission on Services to the Aging.
“Harold Mast is an outstanding choice to serve as chair of the commission,” said Kari Sederburg, director of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging. “We are thankful for his willingness to serve and look forward to working closely with him to provide resources and support to older adults throughout Michigan.”
Mast will lead the 15-member board as they advise the governor and legislature on the coordination and administration of the state’s older adult programs as well as changes to federal and state programs related to aging.
Commission members are appointed by the Governor and serve three year terms (that will expire in 2015). Governor Snyder recently appointed four members and re-appointed a fifth member. All selections are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.
Mast has experience working with older adults in West Michigan. He was a member of the Board of Directors at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan for over ten years where he served as treasurer. He is also a Board Member of the Alliance for Health of West Michigan. He currently is owner and president of Harold Mast Consulting LLC where he works with the Hispanic Center of West Michigan and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority on affordable housing projects. Previously, he served as the executive director for Genesis Non-profit Housing Corp. and held various leadership potions at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services.
Other appointees include Michael Bartus (Bloomfield Hills), Donna Murray-Brown (Detroit), Renee Parnell (Niles), Patricia Rencher (Detroit) and Donald Newport (Greenbush).
November Family Caregiver Series
The Caregiver Resource Network's Family Caregiver Series features 22 complimentary events throughout Kent County in November. The series includes holiday baking demonstrations, family portraits, financial and legal topics, stress relief and more. The series, presented by the Caregiver Resource Network, also gives family caregivers the opportunity to meet other individuals in similar circumstances and offer resources to help individuals along their caregiving journey.
To find out more details, including how to register for the events, visit the Caregiver Resource Network at www.caregiverresource.net
Senior Millage 2013 Funding Process Continues
Current service providers have received their continuation of funding forms. The forms are due to the AAAWM office by noon (12:00 p.m.) on Monday, September 10, 2012. No exceptions.
Unfortunately the senior millage will have to take the largest cut ever sense the property values have started to decrease. The Kent County Millage Review Committee (KCMRC) will have to decide where a 5.1% decrease in service must occur. That equates to $321,425 less in service dollars than was allocated in 2012. Not an easy decision to make sense the number of older adults grows daily (10,000 people a day turn 60 years old) across the country.
Despite the reduction in funding the KCMRC will consider two new proposals. One is for home chore and the other is for weatherization. These proposals could offer an option to existing service providers of the same service.
The KCMRC will meet for their intensive week of presentations and discussions October 8 -12, 2012. Funding decisions are guided by current needs and community priorities along with performance of current service providers. To learn more go to providers/kent_county_senior_millage_providers and look under Resources.
Questions about the Funding Process can be directed to your contract coordinator or Jackie O’Connor at 616.222.7002 or at Jackie@aaawm.org.
Senior Advocacy in Action Alert
What You Can Do:
Michigan’s U.S. Senators are
- Senator Carl Levin Phone (202) 224-6221 Fax (202) 224-1388 www.levin.senate.gov
- Senator Debbie Stabenow Phone (202) 224-4822 Fax (202) 228-0325 www.stabenow.senate.gov
- The cuts will deny 6,000+ seniors nutritional meals, including 2,500 frail homebound seniors getting meals-on-wheels. Evidence shows that poor nutrition can lead to weight loss, health problems, falls, and increased difficulty with activities of daily liv
Kent County Senior Millage Letter of Intent No Longer Accepted
Kent County Senior Millage Letters of Intent were due on July 30, 2012 for the 2013 funding process. The Kent County Millage Review Committee is reviewing the documents and will notify those who have been selected to submit a full proposal.
Letters of Intent for will not be accepted again until July 1, 2013 for the 2014 funding process.
Kent County Senior Millage Letters of Intent
AAAWM is accepting Letters of Intent for 2013 Kent County Senior Millage funds. Letters of Intent are required for all new agencies, as well as for current millage funded agencies who wish to add a new service. The letter is due to AAAWM no later than 12:00 p.m. on Monday, July 30, 2012. Clicke here to access the Letter of Intent
There will be an informational meeting to answer any questions about the Letter of Intent on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. in the AAAWM conference room A at 1279 Cedar NE, Grand Rapids, MI. Questions can be submitted prior to the meeting to email@example.com. Questions will not be answered outside this meeting, however, answers to any submitted questions will be shared. Please do not ask AAAWM Contract Coordinators any direct questions, as they are unable to respond to individual inquiries
Letters of Intent will be reviewed by the Kent County Millage Review Committee (KCMRC).
Agencies will be notified by August 10, 2012 if they are permitted to complete a full proposal. Proposals will be due September 10, 2012. Meetings with the KCMRC will be October 8, 9 or 10, 2012. Please save those dates to ensure your availability to give a short presentation to the KCMRC.
Continuation Funding Forms
Current service providers will receive continuation of funding forms in early August. You will also be meeting with the KCMRC on the above October dates.
A 3 - 4% decrease in millage funding is expected for 2013 compared to the $6.4 million allocated in 2012.
Funding decisions are guided by current needs and community priorities. To learn more go to providers/kent_county_senior_millage_providers and look under Resources.
Questions about Continuation Funding Forms can be directed to your contract coordinator or Jackie O’Connor at 616.222.7002 or at Jackie@aaawm.org.
Millage Funding Important Dates
The 2013 Kent County Senior Millage funding process will begin July 1, 2012. Unfortunately another millage decrease is projected for 2013. The amount will be released in July.
Here are dates to remember for the 2013 Kent County Senior Millage (KCSM) funding process:
- July 1, 2011 – Letter of Intent released. Only new providers or current KCSM providers requesting new services should submit a Letter of Intent.-CLOSED
- Monday July 30, 2012 @ 12:00 noon – Letters of Intent due.CLOSED
- August 10, 2012 – Continuation Funding Forms released. These are to be completed by every current service provider who wishes to request funds for 2013. No exceptions.
- August 10, 2012 – Proposal released for new services or new service providers. Proposals will only be issued to agencies who have submitted a Letter of Intent and who have been approved by the KCMRC to proceed in the funding process.
- September 10, 2012 @ 12:00 p.m. – Continuation Funding Forms and Proposals due.
- October 8, 9, and 10, 2012 –Oral Presentations scheduled with the KCMRC.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Jackie or your Contract Coordinator. If you are considering submitting a Letter of Intent, I strongly urge you to discuss your idea with us prior to July 1, 2012
Comments Needed for Annual Plan
The Draft FY 2013 Area Implementation Plan (AIP) is ready for public comment. The Plan describes how federal Older Americans Act and state funds will be spent to support community-based services for older adults in Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Osceola counties. Older persons, service providers, elected officials, advocates, and other interested parties are invited to review and comment on the proposed Plan at a public hearing which will be conducted on:
Monday June 4, 2012
Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan
1279 Cedar Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
AAAWM will also accept written comments on the Draft FY 2013 AIP that are received by June 10, 2012. Written comments may be sent to AAAWM at the above address, submitted at the hearing, or emailed to AAAWM at AIPlan@aaawm.org.
The hearing will include a brief overview and highlights of the FY 13 AIP, with the majority of the time allotted for public review and comment. We encourage participants to come to the hearing with comments and questions.
Click here to access the Draf FY 2013 Area Implementation Plan
For additional information about the hearing, or provisions of the Plan, contact Sandra Ghoston-Jones at (616) 222-7012. We look forward to hearing your comments on our proposed Plan to respond to the needs of older adults, adults with disabilities, and their family members residing in Region 8.
Male Caregiver Cooking Class
A new class for male caregivers will start in Kent County in July. The class will help male caregivers brush up on their kitchen skills, or help them develop new ones.
Participants will also learn how to plan a menu, ways to make meal time less stressful and how to follow a recipe. Additional community resources will also be presented.
"What we have seen in recent male caregiver classes is that many men were not as involved in meal planning or cooking in the past. Now they are taking care of their spouses and trying to learn how to do all of these tasks and it can be overwhelming," says Staci Shell, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Contract Coordinator at AAAWM and instructor for the class. "Our hope is that by helping them conquer the kitchen, we will relieve some of their stress, make meal time a much smoother process and help them meet other male caregivers going through the same struggles."
Respite is available and the class lasts four weeks. A second session is planned in Kent County for September. The goal is to eventually offer more classes and expand into other counties.
For more information on the classes, including how to register, click here.