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HCCBG funding dispersed

JACKSON – With a unanimous vote, the Northampton Board of Commissioners approved the funding plan for the annual Home and Community Care Block Grant (HCCBG) at their meeting on July 20.

The grant money is used each year to provide a variety of different services to senior citizens in the county. This year’s grant totals $366,062 which is approximately $60,000 more than the previous year.

Northampton’s Department of Social Services (DSS) Director Shelia Evans and DSS Adult Services Supervisor Rhonda Taylor presented the specifics of the funding for this fiscal year. The Office of Aging usually handles this grant, but DSS has taken the helm while the Aging Office is going through a restructuring phase this year.

This year’s HCCBG funds will be allocated to Northampton County DSS, the Northampton County Health Department, and Helpful Hands and Hearts.

Taylor explained that each organization will provide different services with the grant allocation funds.

DSS will receive the majority of the HCCBG funds with a total of $274,394. Those dollars will be used to provide in-home aid level one, in-home aid level two, adult day care services, and medical transportation.

The county health department will use their $55,556 allocation for the home delivered meals program.

A total of $6,112 will be allocated to Helpful Hands and Hearts to provide some medical transportation and some housing and home improvement services.

After the presentation, Commissioner Geneva Faulkner motioned to approve the proposed funding plan and Commissioner Joyce Buffaloe seconded. All of the commissioners voted in favor.

County Manager Charles Jackson thanked the DSS for taking on additional roles this year to make sure local senior citizens continue to be provided with important services.

“We know there’s a lot of paperwork,” added Board Chair Charles Tyner while also expressing his appreciation for their work.

Tyner noted that there were still more things they needed to do for senior citizens, including finding a new meeting place for seniors in Jackson.

His comments were referencing the closure of the J.W. Faison Senior Center last June. The Jackson-based senior center was first opened in 1988, and became a standalone nonprofit organization in 2005. They were often a regular recipient of HCCBG funds which helped them provide several services to Northampton County seniors.

The senior center cited financial struggles as the reason for their permanent shutdown last year.