Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day 23 of Homelessness

At right, my tent this morning with the night's snowfall on it. Last night was the coldest night thus far but I managed to stay reasonably comfortable thanks to a friend's tent I've borrowed.

Please find below a copy of the letter I mailed today to all 20 members of the Advisory Committee on Aging. This is the DRCOG committee that reviews applications and distributes Older Americans Act funds.

Dear Committee Member,

I am writing to you in your capacity as a member of the Advisory Committee on Aging of DRCOG.

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 our 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 17th, 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. Here are links to a Denver Post story and my homeless blog:

At the next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Aging on October 16th, please make the following two motions:

1) Restore funding to Senior Support Services as of July 1st of this year.
2) Create a detailed plan as to how DRCOG is going to serve homeless seniors thereby meeting the requirements of the Older Americans Act.

(Older Americans Act: http://www.aoa gov/AoARoot/ AoA_Programs/OAA/oaa_full.asp#_Toc153957659)

Thank you for your consideration,

Ted Pascoe
Executive Director
Senior Support Services
303-832-1622 x207;

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