INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The deadline to stop the budget cuts is nearing, but there are no signs lawmakers will reach a deal by Friday's deadline. Leaders with the non-profit group, CICOA Aging & In-home Solutions believe the potential cuts could mean a half-a-million dollar loss.
Seniors would pay the price.
CICOA provides meals and other services for seniors. The budget battle in Washington is troubling many Hoosiers who count on warm meals, like the one served Wednesday afternoon at a senior center on North East Street in Marion County.
On the menu – corn, collard greens, pasta, juice and milk.
"It is very nourishing," Charles Ervin said with a smile. "If I had a tail like a dog it would be wagging."
Ervin and Elizabeth Hilton are among the 2,000 seniors served each day in Central Indiana.
Forty-five percent of the budget that aids the program is federally funded.
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"That total amount is $9 million," Kelli Tungate said. "If you look at a five or 10 percent cut there, you are talking $450,000 to $900,000.
Tungate, who is CICOA's Chief Operation officer, says the forced cuts could sting.
The agency delivers half-a-million meals every year. Cuts would mean they'd have to stop service to more than 34,000 of those seniors. And meals at senior centers like the one Ervin and Hilton depend on would be reduced to three days per week instead of five.
"I hope they have mercy on us," Ervin said. "It is very important to me because I am a diabetic and I hadn't been eating right."
Hilton who has been a regular at the center since 2011, says the free meal is often the only one she gets.
"Well, there are a lot of people that (depend) on these meals. If they are cut out, a lot of people will go hungry."
If lawmakers don't reach a deal by this Friday's deadline they cuts for CICOA might not start immediately.
But that is not the case with the STOP Violence Against Women Program. The White House says Indiana could lose up to $138,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 500 fewer victims being served.
The White House says in Indiana, $138,000 in funding could be lost if no deal is made.
Officials say that would mean 500 fewer victims could receive services. Laura Berry, with the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, says victims would be directly impacted.
"If you estimate, an average domestic violence shelter cost between $400,000 and $500,000 to operate on annual basis. The Julian Center, here in Indianapolis, is larger and more significant. That is the budget of one entire agency that will be removed.
Berry also says free legal services to low income families would be reduced.
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