Letter: State cutbacks hit JF&CS program

We probably all know someone who has faced unexpected challenges due to the economic downturn. Unfortunately, Missouri’s NAP tax credit program is another of the latest casualties of the erratic economy. The program provides critical assistance to the needy by allowing donors to direct their Missouri tax dollars to local projects. In return, they receive tax credits up to 50 percent of the value of their contribution.

JF&CS’s In-Home Services Homemaker Program has been a beneficiary of NAP. We provide homemakers to assist older adults and those with special needs with daily activities so they can remain independent in their homes. The program is offered on a sliding scale basis.

JF&CS was fortunate to have a number of generous donors who took advantage of the NAP credits. We’ve used these credits to grow the program and provide 25,000 hours of service annually. For up to 16 hours a week, an elderly or disabled person receives help with light housekeeping, meal preparation, shopping, transportation for appointments, companionship and basic personal care among other necessities.

Now that these dollars are no longer available, we are faced with the prospect of cutting back on program hours by 40 percent. Whether that means serving fewer people or reducing hours for those already being served is not clear. However, we do know we will begin to see the impact in January 2011.

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As a Jewish community, we are particularly focused on the needs of the frail elderly.

Maintaining that safety net is one of our challenges in how to allocate limited resources to serve the growing number of people who need our help.

Louis Albert, Executive Director, JF&CS