Sequester may affect some Bay area seniors - WFLA News Channel 8

Sequester may affect some Bay area seniors

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As local government focuses on what if any action lawmakers in Washington take to avoid the sequester, there are people who depend on programs that could see budget cuts.  Including Freddy Blood.  Each week day Blood joins other seniors for lunch at the place they call home, Tampa Baptist Manor.

Blood said, "It is good because I live alone, I think it is healthy not to eat alone you can eat with friends and have conversation."  The lunch program run by Hillsborough County's nutrition services could see cuts as a result of Washington's sequester.

That's disheartening to Blood who said, "This is a good program, and it would leave a void in my life, but not just me but everybody."  The program feeds seniors one hot meal a day.  However, at a cost of more than six-hundred thousand dollars a year, the county depends on federal dollars to put lunch on the table.  Dollars that could be cut thru the sequester.  Another resident Alvis Clark says, "I hope that it is going to stay here too, cause it does help a lot of people, cause some of them are no longer able to cook."

Right now the county has contingency plans to make sure seniors don't miss out on any meals initially, but it all depends on the length of the sequester.  Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill issued a statement saying in part, "at this time, we cannot say what the impacts will be on those county programs that receive federal funding, but I am committed to do all we can to avoid service interruptions to our citizens.

But a protracted sequester could force the county to lose five-percent of lunch program budget, which would mean cutting some seniors of out of the service.  "it is just real frightening I try not to think about it, I get depressed so I just try to hope for the best that's all you can do", said Clark.

But as lawmakers in Washington battle it out over budget cuts, Freddy Blood said, "I think everything is going to get settled and I could be foolishly optimistic."

We'll know more by this time on Friday.

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