eastern healNews : Federal government makes cuts to nations RSVP programs : Sidney Herald, Sidney, Montana

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We have operating funds through February guaranteed, LaPan said. But they will actually issue the grant through March.

On a more positive note, the eastern Montanas Senior Companion Program was hit with a cut of only .2 percent.

LaPan said the program could need to work with others for some projects or charge a fee for some services.

Depending on what happens on the federal level, we hope to keep RSVP in place, LaPan said. We know RSVP deals with a lot of senior services in the areaeastern health newfoundland h1n1.

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eastern healNews : Federal government makes cuts to nations RSVP programs : Sidney Herald, Sidney, Montana,Judy LaPan, administrator of the Richland County Health Department, explains cuts to the programs grant would allow RSVP to operate only through March and with a 20 percent decrease in funds.

She added the program needs funding to pay staff, volunteer support and program operating expenses. The county helps by providing funds for expenses not covered by the grant, office space and a phone system.

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The program is always there to support the work of many agencies and organizations. It is the engine behind many community efforts. We could have not managed the H1N1 response without the RSVP volunteers. I think that is why RSVP is an easy target; our volunteers get the work done without requiring a lot of credit for it.

She notes local health officials will take the next eight months to assess senior needs that are not currently being met. RSVP provides a lot of referral services that will disappear if the program goes away.

We had wonderful support from a lot of people in eastern Montana, ODell said. They made a lot of telephone calls. They made a difference.

ODell, however, notes federal legislatoeastern healNews : Federal government makes cuts to nations RSVP programs : Sidney Herald, Sidney, Montanars are also working on the 2012 budget. The battle starts all over again.

With federal legislators now working on the 2012 budget, the long-term future of the program remains in doubt. The program has been active in Richland County since 2002. RSVP coordinates community-wide volunteer response to emergency and community health and safety issues.

Because of cuts to the federal budget, the future of the RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) in Richland County is uncertain.

The program provides companionship and friendship to isolated and frail adults. The companions assist with chores and can provide some transportation.

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