Porter County Aging and Community Services’ staff, board members and seniors recently gathered to mark another year of service at the agency’s annual meeting.
Through the door-to-door demand response transportation program, the agency served 259 new clients, had a total of 20,620 one-way trips, and accumulated 171,774 total passenger miles.
“We typically ran seven buses a day and we have been able to continuously offer these expanded hours of bus service because of the financial support we received from the Porter County Council and Porter County Commissioners,” said Bruce Lindner, PCACS executive director. “We used 33,204 gallons of fuel costing $62,627, which was down from last year’s total of $84,934. The reduction was due to lower gas prices.”
The income-based Energy Assistance Program helped 964 clients by paying out $296,851 in energy assistance from November 2015 to May 2016.
“Under the leadership of Deputy Director Judy Peracki, we continued to aid qualified individuals who needed help paying their energy bills,” Lindner said. “We were very fortunate to also have several talented and committed volunteers who helped the program run smoothly as they have done for years.”
The United Way’s Emergency Assistance Grant program served 102 clients with $43,046 going to such needs as medical, mortgage, or rent costs as well as housing and car repairs.
“The program provided money for community members facing an emergency situation who needed some financial help to get back on their feet,” Lindner said.
The Federal Housing Voucher Program continued to serve even more clients under the guidance of program coordinator Valerie Martinez, Lindner said.
“We had the ability to assist 333 clients last year, which was up from 293 clients,” he said. “Valerie continued to go out of her way to reach out into the community to assist these clients in a myriad of ways.”
Under the sponsorship of PCACS, the State Health Insurance Program continued to guide seniors through their Medicare enrollment options. Volunteers Ginger Brockwehl, Deborah Brann and Tom Murphy, continue to manage the service.
There are also two new programs designed to help seniors under the Medicare savings umbrella. They are MSP (Medicare Savings Program) and LIS (Low Income Subsidy). For more information, contact Peracki at (219) 464-9736 Ext. 216 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to a partnership with the UAW/Ford Community Service Team, PCACS had the opportunity to construct nine ramps in 2016, a big increase from past years.
“The UAW volunteer members’ skills and commitment to the ramp projects were amazing. They felt good about the projects they completed when the saw how grateful the recipients were to have the new freedom that the ramps provided,” Lindner said. “We appreciate the support of our volunteers, board members, seniors and the community who helped support our programs and continued to make a difference to so many individuals.”
PCACS’ mission is to extend a helping hand to seniors, those with disabilities and low-income residents by providing services to improve their quality of life, including transportation, energy assistance, emergency assistance and SHIP counseling.
For more information, visit www.portercountyacs.org.