It’s been months of scaling back client services at Pueblo’s Senior Resource Development Agency.
However, funding for transportation and Meals on Wheels has been fully restored. Both of those services had to be capped due to finances and uncertainty at the federal level.
Jamie Duran, assistant controller and human resources director at SRDA, said, "We’re still dealing with the ramifications."
Duran has worked for Pueblo’s SRDA since 2009. This year, though, brought challenges she’s never experienced.
"We were waiting for the federal government to pass the budget for 2018. Typically it’s passed back in October. This year it took clear until about the middle of February for them to pass the budget."
The state put SRDA on restriction, not releasing funds it wasn’t guaranteed to receive.
"Our transportation program was cut in half. Our Meals on Wheels program was cut in half as well."
Every month the SRDA gives between 1,200 and 1,300 rides to seniors in the Pueblo area. With the budget cut, that number went down to 670 a month as trips to the doctor were the only ones allowed.
As far as Meals on Wheels, Duran said, "We were serving about 4,000 meals."
That number was capped and dozens of seniors were put on a waiting list.
"You see the real need out there."
Relief finally came at the end of April. SRDA got word from the state that it could rev up client services.
"We’re back up at a 100 percent. We got what we were originally told we were supposed to have so we’re very grateful and thankful for that," said Duran. ‘"We’re just calling people back and saying "Hey do you still need Meals on Wheels?" and if they did we would start to add them back into our program, same thing transportation."’
As new calls come in no one is being turned away.
If you’re a senior in need of transportation or Meals on Wheels call SRDA at (719) 545-8900 or visit its location at 230 N Union Ave, Pueblo, CO 81003.