LARC worries about cuts in funding - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

LARC worries about cuts in funding

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

An agency that serves people with developmental disabilities worries it could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding and be forced to cut its services.

The Lowndes Advocacy Resource Center depends on medicaid money to help people who can't take care of themselves and to teach skills to those who need a little assistance to live and work on their own.

Potential changes to state medicaid payments could hamper that work.

Meet 27-year old Deborah Hadley. You would never guess she has a developmental disability. She lives independently. She works a full-time job with the help of the Lowndes Advocacy Resource Center. She says her life would be much different without LARC.

"I would be in the streets," said Hadley. "It helps me manage money. It helps me with my people in the community, getting to know people, talking to them."

She's also learned skills many of us may not think twice about, such as counting money.

"Writing out checks, I know how to do that," said Hadley.

She learned these skills from the agency. We followed her and her case manager as Hadley picked out a card at Hallmark for a family member. That's one of the goals she accomplished Tuesday, family outreach.

From errands to doctors appointments and getting to work LARC provides transportation services for those who can't drive and who are developmentally disabled.

She gets rides to pay her bills and if funding is slashed Dr. Harry Hamm says she may only be able to take advantage of the services once a month. Dr. Hamm says proposed changes to medicaid could slash nearly a third of LARC's budget.

"For us, it's 360-thousand something lost, which is 30 percent of our budget," said Dr. Harry Hamm. "That would be devastating."

He says last year they provided $225,000 worth of free services.

"We've reduced the staff in general by one third and yet we have not cut services at all," said Dr. Hamm. "This cannot continue."

He says it's not about LARC but the quality of life for folks who come to the center everyday and for those like Deborah Hadley.

Dr. Harry Hamm says the cuts wouldn't take effect until next July.

He wants families of those served by LARC and the community to be aware that the cuts could be coming.


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