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Budget Cuts In Cumberland County Putting Strain On Senior Services

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. — This has not been a good year for nonprofit organizations in the state. Budget cuts have forced many agencies to tighten their programs and services. One Fayetteville advocacy group for seniors said the crunch is putting a strain on a much-needed service.

Ray and Kay Eggleston spend most of their time together at home. Ray has survived two strokes and Kay has problems with her vision. For the past several months, they have relied on Seniors Call to Action (SCAT) to get around.

"It's been a real lifesaver for us. I don't know what we would have done without them, quite frankly," Kay said.

Most people take driving for granted, but for seniors, it is not that easy. Illness and vision problems can cause seniors to be trapped in their own homes.

"We take them to medical appointments. Primarily, we take them to senior centers and nutrition sites," SCAT director Bob White said.

However, White said SCAT's transportation service is in trouble. Budget cuts have slashed funding 18 percent, which means some seniors could be left out.

"There's more and more demand, but less and less money available," he said.

More than 600 seniors depend on SCAT for daily transportation, and Cumberland County's elderly population is expected to double over the next decade. For people like the Egglestons, SCAT's transportation service is a necessity that cannot be overlooked.

"I don't know what senior citizens in the city of Fayetteville and surrounding areas would do without SCAT," Kay said.


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