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RSVP Funding in Jeopardy

Catholic Charities is protesting the loss of federal grant money to help fund its ride service for seniors.
Catholic Charities is protesting the loss of federal grant money to help fund its ride service for seniors.

The Binghamton City Council is expected to vote on Community Development Block Grant funding at its meeting Wednesday evening. After receiving around $15,000 per year in CDBG money since 2001, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program will receive nothing next year if Council approves the plan.

RSVP Director Debra Kerins says her service is different from B.C. Lift as it takes passengers from door to door rather than just curb to curb. 88-year-old Louise Murray of Binghamton rides the transport three times a week to the senior center, osteo classes and book reviews.

"They're very friendly and very helpful. They help you get on and off and fasten your seat belt. Everybody's very kind," said Murray.

"Some of the clients have memory loss issues, dementia and we're transporting them to the Yesteryears Adult Daycare Program. So, if they were to be left at a curb, they might not make it back into their home," said Kerins.

The CDBG money has represented about 30 percent of the transport program's funding. Kerins says routes and drivers will need to be cut, directly impacting seniors.
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