Senior transportation service to lose funding

By Dave Sherry

December 4, 2013 Updated Dec 4, 2013 at 10:34 PM EDT

Binghamton, N.Y. (WBNG Binghamton) Catholic Charities of Broome County has been using the federal Community Development Block Grant funding since 2001 for a senior transportation service.

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program is a door-to-door service that buses seniors to employment or various programs.

CDBG funding comprises major portion of the operating money for the program, but they may not get funding from its grant this year.

Organizers say that decision threatens to cripple the program.

"We'd have to cut it back somehow," Sandra Ohlsen of Catholic Charities of Broome County explained. "We'd have to make changes to the program that could involve fewer routes, driving routes, less drivers, but ultimately the seniors would be affected by that because we wouldn't be able to provide as much service as we are now."

Seniors who take advantage of the transportation program are concerned that they won't be able to make it to work or programs they're involved in.

"I think it's a disadvantage to all of us, who look forward to going, to not be able to go," Louise Murray of Binghamton said. "We really do need the funding."

Murray uses the transportation service two to three times per week and says she won't be able to participate in her community activities without it.

The City of Binghamton allocated $14,000 for the program last year, which was about average for what the program receives.

This year they requested an increase to $20,000, but were instead left off the list of CDBG allocations.