State budget could cut funding for programs to help seniors

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

North Carolina's Senate gave its initial approval on a controversial state budget Friday on the same day advocates of the elderly spoke out against that budget.
 
The proposed Senate budget would slash nearly $1 million from a Home and Community Care Block Grant used to help many of Charlotte's elderly and people with disabilities.
 
Ruby Works, who is the executive director of Rae's Playze Adult Day Center, said 90 percent of the people who use her facility rely on that grant.

(Click here to read the full budget proposal)
 
"They may be mentally challenged. We have those who are elderly, they are faced with dementia," she said.
 
Works said the cuts would force many of the people in her facility to stay at home.
 
"We have these frail individuals who are coming in here that can't help themselves and the families really need help," she said.
 
The cuts would also impact elderly people who rely on county transportation and programs like Meals on Wheels.
 
The budget would also limit Medicaid coverage for the aged, blind and disabled. It would eliminate eligibility for more than 11,000 older and disabled adults statewide.
 
"It seems like we have worked all our lives and then to be tossed aside like this is ridiculous and very sad that people don't appreciate seniors," said Mary Linton, a senior citizen.
 
The Senate is slated to vote on the budget again around midnight. 
 
Eyewitness News spoke with Republican House member Charles Jeter, who warned that the final budget could drastically change in the weeks to come.
 
"I understand all the concern and the hype I think we need to wait and see what happens in the House," said Jeter. 

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