Right before the State of Illinois passed a stopgap budget for the current fiscal year, it was announced PATH senior services in parts of central Illinois would be going away because of the state budget crisis.
Despite the passage of the budget, PATH still shut down and the senior services provider in DeWitt County remains a need. According to Sissy Leggett, Executive Director of the DeWitt County Friendship Center, their staff continues to try to find alternatives for seniors of the community.
Leggett emphasizes the Friendship is not closing. She says many in the community have been worried about this unsure of what exactly is happening and indicates they are not directly impacted by the state budget crisis.
Leggett says the loss of the services at the Friendship Center is a big loss because their outreach worker was always busy with seniors with questions and helping them sort out information they were getting.
Leggett says there are a lot areas seniors in DeWitt County received assistance from the outreach worker at the Friendship Center, and now without that position, there's not a lot of good options for community seniors.
A real struggle for a lot of seniors in DeWitt County and across the country is the fact a lot of services have gone to strictly an online format or automated system, and Leggett says that is just not something that can be adjusted to overnight for many seniors.
Leggett does not have a time frame for when they will be able to get something back at the center or what that will like from a funding perspective.
For the time being, Leggett encourages seniors with any questions to either stop in and speak with her or to call the center and they can direct you to appropriate numbers for information.