Seniors Affected by United Way Budget Cuts

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Fifty-six agencies are facing funding cuts from the United Way of Northwest Arkansas.

All United Way chapters across the country were encouraged to find a single issue to focus on.
The nonprofit here in Northwest Arkansas decided to focus on children and choosing to re-allocate funds to programs helping get kids in our area out of poverty.

Alexa Mcgriff with United Way said they let all of their partners know about this coming shift more than a year ago, and encouraged them to find ways to also support that main cause, so they could re-apply for funding.

 “We were very intentional with letting them know quite a ways in advance, ‘hey we’re going to be doing things differently.’ And we don’t want them to see it as a negative thing, but as an opportunity to get different funding to do a program that really impacts kids in poverty,” McGriff said.

She went on to said all of their partner agencies will be receiving a different amount of money than they have in the past, but if they can join in the new mission to get kids out of poverty, they can still apply for funding and a committee of volunteers will decide who receives it.

One of those 56 programs whose budget will be cut is a one-of-its kind senior daycare facility in Bella Vista.
Village House is an adult daycare for seniors with memory loss diseases like Dementia and Alzheimers.
The facility serves up to 30 families every day, whose lives would be greatly impacted if Village House was no longer able to provide care.

“I’m not sure how long my mother would have been here,” Julie Polaski, Mother cared for by Village House said.

Julie Polaski’s mother Inis was diagnosed with Alzheimers three years ago.

She moved to Bella Vista  from Phoenix to care for her mother, but still needs help. She said she’s looked into assisted living facilties, but was unsuccessful in finding one where Inis is comfortable.  

“This is the most important thing to her its more important than living with me in Pheonix,” Julie Polaski, Mother cared for by Village House said.

Polaski said her mother loves coming to Village House, and said the caregivers have become some of Inis’ best friends.

“I talked to my mom I said mom if it ever comes to where we have to make a decision and you know we need to move you what is most important to you. She said fun I want to have fun,'” Polaski said.

“When you hear people with the struggles they have caring for one another and then they are able to use Village house and it improves both their lives how can you not be passionate about that.”
    
Will Corporon, the President of Village House’s Board of Directors said the United Way plans to cut half their funding. United Way provides $1000 per month to their $16,000 budget, which may not sound like much, but he says it makes a big difference in the long run.

 “We’re going to have to look for other sources of funding whether it’s individuals that come forward to make up the difference whether it’s a grant from a company or a trust or something,” Corporon said.
 
Polaski said her mother is happiest at Village House.

“I heard my mom say to these ladies “Aren’t we so lucky to have this place to come to? We are so lucky,” she said.

Corporon said the facility may have to reduce the services they provide, or make staffing cuts, which would in turn reduce the number of seniors they could care for daily.

Alexa mcgriff with the United Way said if facilites like Village House want to reapply for funding, they could create a program where kids come in and read to the elderly, which would make them eligible.

 

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