Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 16 of Homelessness

Today, I emailed the following message to 40 of the 60 board members of DRCOG (we could not track down email addresses for the other 20).

Dear DRCOG Board Member,

Congress passed the Older Americans Act (OAA) specifically to serve those seniors with the “greatest social need” and “greatest economic need” (Title III, Section 305). In violation of the Act, DRCOG awarded OAA funds this year to organizations that serve those who are already housed and have far greater means than, for instance, the homeless.

The OAA also requires that as “a focal point for comprehensive service delivery in each community,” special consideration be given to “designating multipurpose senior centers” (Title III, Section 306). Instead, DRCOG favored specific services such as in-home and transportation services for the housed as opposed to funding centers like Senior Support Services where comprehensive, one-stop shopping is provided for the homeless.

Senior Support Services is the safety net organization for the seniors of the Denver Metro area, serving the poorest of the poor. There is no group of seniors with greater needs than those served by this organization, which explains why Senior Support had received funding from DRCOG every year for 25 years. When DRCOG experienced a funding cut of 13%, it could have and should have passed on that 13% funding cut to each of its grantees. Instead, it cut all funding to Senior Support Services.

On September 17, I declared myself homeless to call attention to the plight of the homeless seniors we serve, and to protest the failure of DRCOG to serve the homeless. I am still homeless and waiting for a response from DRCOG, and a plan as to how it will take care of homeless seniors (i.e. seniors with the greatest needs) in the future.

At the DRCOG board meeting on October 21st, please make a motion to require DRCOG to restore funding to Senior Support Services and come up with a detailed plan as to how DRCOG is going to serve homeless seniors thereby meeting the requirements of the Older Americans Act.

Thank you for your consideration,

Ted Pascoe
Executive Director
Senior Support Services

Link to the Older Americans Act:

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