Lack Of Long-Term DHS Funding Solution Leaves Families In Limbo
TULSA, Oklahoma - Several Oklahoma families are breathing a sigh of relief, but know they're just months away from possible life-changing budget cuts.
Right now, there is a temporary fix to funding DHS programs, but it's still in need of a long-term solution.
A month ago, thousands of Oklahomans received a letter saying the DHS Advantage Program was going to be cut on Friday, December 1st if a solution wasn't reached.
Right now, the programs are still up and running, but they won't be for long if a permanent funding solution isn't reached.
Renee Appleman cares for her aunt, Carmelita, who attends Life Senior Services' Adult Day Center through the Advantage Program.
She says without it, her aunt would have to go to a nursing home.
"It's not safe for her to be home by herself and provide her own lunch and make safe decisions," Renee said.
She is one of many Oklahomans who received a letter last month telling her the program was at risk of being cut.
And even though legislators found a temporary fix, the money isn't expected to last through the fiscal year.
"For five years they've been putting a band-aid on it using one time monies and they need to find a solution," said Life Senior Services’ Community Affairs Coordinator Carol Carter.
Life Senior Services is one of the many centers across the state that directly interacts with seniors, adults living with disabilities, and caregivers. They say it's difficult to reassure people day in and day out that a solution will be reached.
"They know that there's not a long-term solution yet. Everyone is just hopeful," said Carter.
Because without it, people like Carmelita wouldn't have a place to go.
"It has become her world, whereas before when she was in her room, she didn't have a world that she interacted with," said Renee Appleman.
Life Senior Services is still encouraging people to call their legislators to encourage them to find a long-term funding solution.
Right now, the funding isn't expected to last more than six months.