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Senior Corps Action Alert!
Minnesota Senior Corps Association, Inc. (MnSCA) Position Statements on the President’s FY 2015 Budget
The MnSCA strongly opposes the move of RSVP funds to the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) and elimination of 66% of RSVP funding.
2014 funding for Minnesota RSVP was $1,303,122 and the VGF funding ($443,000 to be designated for RSVP) represents a 66% reduction meaning at least 2/3 of Minnesota RSVP programs would be eliminated in 2015.
Thousands of Minnesotans and hundreds of local non-profit organizations will lose the services of RSVP volunteers. Non-profit organizations will be left without a viable resource to maintain the critical services they provide. Communities are already inundated with increased needs, the shift and loss of the RSVP funding and volunteers will have a massive negative impact on local organization's ability to sustain services to the neediest populations.
Nationally, in 2012 there were 296,000 RSVP volunteers, a decrease of over 100,000 volunteers from the 2010 level of engagement when RSVP received 20% cuts to budgets. By cutting another 66% RSVP will lose another 195,000 volunteers (9,000 of them in Minnesota) who are currently serving. American communities will lose 40,920,000 hours of service at struggling non-profit organizations, reducing the level of service value by $905,968,000 (according to Independent Sector's 2014 data). This change would be devastating to the community organizations that collaborate with RSVP.
FOSTER GRANDPARENT PROGRAM(FGP)and SENIOR COMPANION PROGRAM (SCP)STATEMENT:
The MnSCA strongly opposes the transfer of FGP and SCP to the AmeriCorps management and funding system and the 2015 national budget reduction of $14,900,000 (14%) to the FFGP and $8,707,000 (16%) to the SCP.
In Minnesota, a 14% cut for FGP means a loss of 86,450 hours (valued at $1,913,138 according to Independent Sector's 2014 data) in service to children struggling with language, literacy and other academic. A 16% cut to SCP means a loss of 240,000 hours (valued at $5,311,200) of service to disabled individuals and seniors.
The MnSCA strongly opposes the elimination of the hourly stipend for FGP and SCP as proposed to be replaced with an annual living allowance (quarter time valued at $2,771 annually).
This proposal calls for an annual living allowance ($2,771) that would require a Foster Grandparent or Senior Companion volunteers to serve a minimum of 8.5 hours per week. Currently, many volunteers serve 20, 30 or more hours per week and have increased financial benefit since the current stipend is hourly. The change will diminish the incentive to provide more than 8.5 hours per week and will result in a massive loss of service hours to children in need of assistance to meet academic grade level performance at hundreds of schools and Head Starts across Minnesota, and to hundreds of frail older adults and caregivers trying to maintain independent living. The loss of service by Senior Companions would likely result in an increase in long-term care costs to state and federal financial resources and to individual families.
The MnSCA is extremely concerned that state and local funding currently used to leverage federal dollars to support RSVP, FGP and SCP volunteers, will be adversely affected, leading to the further reduction of services to Minnesota communities.