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Mr. MCKENZIE. I think that the concept itself is good and I think it is working, you know, in some places. However, in other places I feel that it is not working because of differences for some reason or other where programs coming down from the national level maybe go through the State level through the AAA's and on down to the focal level. In some other cases with the same type of programs, it is not happening and this is the main thing that I was speaking to in terms of uniformity in that respect. So coordination could become easier.
Mrs. Boggs. Thank you very much. Thank both of you for not only your excellent testimony but the remarkable work that you do day in and day out.
Senator EAGLETOX. Let me propound this to you, Mr. McKenzie. I have been in the Senate 9 years and I guess I have voted for as many categorical programs as any other Senator during that time frame. As I say, some bills come along to do this, that, or another thing for the American people. For instance, one of the more recent items pertaining to America's elderly is legal services and a lot of testimony was taken about the needs in that area. Residential repairs are another problem. Indeed, there must be literally hundreds of thousands of homes in which senior citizens live and those homes desperately need some kind of repair in terms of better wiring, insulation, plumbing, et cetera.
Then on insulation, we are in the year of the energy crisis. Everybody is concerned, “Let's save energy, let's have more insulation and better use of energy in the homes," et cetera. So these things get
Here is my problem, and it goes back to what Ms. Slaybaugh said, insofar as the Older Americans Act is concerned. She points out that there should be income, health, housing; these are not specifically under the Older Americans Act. You have got social security and SSI and medicare and medicaid, you have got HUD programs and section 8 and all that.
But the local priorities you defined were transportation, day care, homemaker, nutrition, and here we are at a nutrition site. I added on such things as I have said, home insulation and legal services. My question is this: And my thinking has really gone through a metamorphosis, I guess; Would we be better off having a fewer number of programs, but doing those better? More adequately funding a more limited number of programs rather than having a whole range of them. We have specific programs but we are putting a nickel and dime in each one of those and the impact is so thin as to really not have any direct bearing on the quality of one's life. Should we bite a tough bullet? That's sort of a mixed metaphor. And concentrate, sar, on transportation and day care and then frankly say, “Look, legal service, we know that's a problem, but to set up the administration of that, to put a few dollars in that, it is not going to make it. Even the residential repair program, a few dollars in that nationwide amongst 220 million Americans. What kind of advice could you give us on that dilemma?
Mr. MCKENZIE. I would feel the same way, that if you spread too thin, it is difficult to be very effective in any one area.
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. Let me respond to several things you have said.
You have brought up the concept of priorities and I think when we start looking at priorities, we also need to look at the local areas and what are the priorities at the local level? For example, when we start talking about transportation, transportation may be a very real need in one area, but transportation may not be the problem or priority problem in another area.
So while we are establishing priorities, we may want to look at the level at which the priorities should be established. I think this is something that the Older Americans Act was focusing on. They were focusing on the establishment of the priorities for services at the local level and this is something we may want to keep looking at when we are talking about the renewal of the Older Americans Act.
There are priorities for services, but at what levels should the priorities be established ? Should we say the national priorities are these and all of our moneys go into these four priority areas or should we allow, like we have been doing, the local people to establish the priority services within their own given area?
Mr. MICKENZIE. But there again you would establish priorities rather than try to cover the whole water front with a little bit into everything. The point that I think Ms. Slaybaugh was referring to is also one which concerns us even in Louisiana as in New Orleans. In some of our larger metropolitan cities in the State have the advantage of having some better transportation than, say, in the central part of the State and some of the northern parts of the State. So to set that as a priority for, say, that area might be all right, whereas, in New Orleans it might be something else.
In other words, you will have different priorities depending on the section of the State that you are in rather than say this is a priority for the whole State. IVe would like to see it left whereby the individual localities could determine which one of the needs they need to have the most. STATEMENT OF MR. CRAWFORD, A RESIDENT OF NEW ORLEANS
Mr. CRAWFORD. Senator Eagleton, don't you think that the individual priorities should consult the employee and then the employee decide on what they are going to do?
Senator EAGLETON. That was going to be my very next question. How do the senior citizens in Louisiana, or in New Orleans, participate in this decisionmaking process as to priorities? This gentleman here is very keenly interested in transportation services for the elderly. He is from New Orleans, I take it.
Mr. CRAWFORD. I am.
Senator EAGLETON. To him that is the No. 1 priority for senior citizens. That might not be true in Baton Rouge or Shreveport, but how do we hear this gentleman. What system do you have to take his suggestions into account?
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. Mr. Gates is on the program later in the day and I think he can speak to the specific procedures that they follow in getting the consumer input or the client input into the local planning of services within the local area and í think he can respond to that.
Going back to the priority services, I did want to make one other comment. When we started setting up priorities at the Federal level in terms of the Older Americans Act, for example, we have said one of the four priorities is transportation and we have set a certain amount of money in terms of increase in funding under the Older Americans Act must go into those four priority services. I think one of the concerns many people have had in terms of this, and especially from the State government and I know some of the area agencies and local people have had the same problem, is, for example, maybe we have been able to utilize other resources, for example, to provide the transportation service.
For example, if we could get title XX money or if we can get urban mass transportation money to provide the transportation services, we may no longer consider transportation to be one of the priority services, that we should be using Older Americans Act money for. So, consequently, we want to look at the Older Americans Act as being able to do something else we see as a priority basically at the local level.
Mr. McKENZIE. Provided we can get the funds from some other area.
STATEMENT OF MR. TAYLOR, A RESIDENT OF NEW ORLEANS
Mr. TAYLOR. Senator Eagleton, what good is transportation if I cannot live to enjoy it? Really, what I need is the respect of the younger people and close cooperation of the police department to insure that whenever transportation is available, I can make use of it.
Senator EAGLETON. So your sense of priority is a little bit different for the moment than the gentleman
Mr. TAYLOR. The protection of the senior citizen. That is first and then come along with the transportation money. After you are transported to the various places, you know what to do with it. [Applause.]
Mrs. Boggs. Senator, I wanted to tell you that Mr. Taylor is not only named as an actor's name, but he is one of the better actors in our whole group in New Orleans. [Applause.]
Senator EAGLETON. Now, before yielding to Senator Johnston, Mr. McGovern wanted to say something.
Mr. McGovery. I think one of the problems, and I am referring to Mr. Taylor and I agree with him wholeheartedly, one of the things that confronts many citizens, and I am talking about locally in New Orleans, is that the elderly people that live in New Orleans is confronted with problems of fright. I know because I go around and see all the time and in the neighborhood where I used to live houses are now barred, barred just like police. People are afraid at night outside and inside and the elderly people, black and white are catching it.
There is no color blindness when it comes to robbing and mugging people and they are helpless. If we can curtail the crime and face crime as it should in this Nation, then in the older houses and the older neighborhoods, the people are going to live in peace, even in an old neighborhood. They want nice houses, they want everything, I'm sure everybody wants these things, but you have got to—your premises no matter how beautiful it is, if you are scared, if you are scared, if you have got to live in a neighborhood where you are afraid when you walk out and when you go to sleep, you can not have everything. It is like a rich man with a cancer, he has got all kinds of money but he is dying of cancer. Money is no good to him.
So New Orleans has been plagued—this is nothing new, old homes and old areas. New Orleans is an old city. They talk wonderfully about the French Quarter and they keep it old. So old neighborhoods are not a bad thing as long as they have got modern conveniences, heat and electricity, and something to keep them comfortable, but they have got to be not afraid. You have got to have peace with yourself. You have got to live in peace with yourself. When you have that, you are all right.
Senator EAGLETON. Yes, sir.
STATEMENT OF MR. GEORGE, A RESIDENT OF NEW ORLEANS
Mr. GEORGE. I would like to ask this: Why are so many surveys on mass transit made in this area and then put on the shelf? It seems like somebody is making a profit off this thing. If I am an architect, I draw up plans, I get my group. Next year, the next group gets their group and these plans are put on the shelf. That is wasting money.
There have been numerous surveys of mass transit for New Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Tammany areas, mass transit, and still nothing has come up. Everything is inadequate. Somebody is making money.
Then another thing, when you are funding a lot of these things, these programs, by the time the money trickles down to the people that it is supposed to benefit, those at the top with the large salaries have eaten up a vast majority of it and when it trickles down to the little people to support a benefit, they say, “We just run out of funds." [Applause.]
Now, right downtown there in our area there are people who are working without salaries at this very moment. They are working for funding of their programs. I don't know exactly what program they are in, but something has happened that the money has been withheld while the CPA goes over the books.
Now, the little people who are supposed to benefit from these things, they are suffering and they ask, "Where did the money go!" It's just like in the crash of 1929. I was in school, I asked, "Where did the money go?” The professors couldn't answer that. When you are running these programs and the little folks ask you, "Where did the money go?" you have no answer; then they begin to think other things. [Applause.]
Senator JouNSTON. I just wanted to ask Mr. McKenzie and Ms. Slaybaugh, what percentage of people aged 65 and above in this State does your program reach directly; how many are involved. more or less?
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. I would estimate less than 3 percent.
Senator Johnston. Less than 3 percent? Why is that? Is that funding, is that lack of interest on their part? How many is the optimum number that you could reach?
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. The optimum number would be the total number of elderly which is in excess of 500,000 at the present time. But there simply are not enough resources under the Older Americans Act to provide services to all of these people.
Senator JOHNSTON. Tell me how that 3 percent gets served.
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. When I am talking about the 3 percent, I am talking more in terms of actual service. In terms of advocating on behalf of older people, this is something that we are doing, we are speaking on behalf, we hope, of all elderly people within the State. For example, when we had the Governor's Conference on Aging, a very big push in Louisiana to promote what we do feel are the needs of elderly people in terms of getting the response of the public officials and everyone, the State legislature in terms of providing services. This is where I think everyone can benefit from th type of thing and this is one of the primary purposes of the Bureau of Aging.
I think when we get down to talking about actual things, say, nutrition services or actual homemaker services, the direct services themselves are limited from the standpoint of our program from the limited resources.
Senator JOHNSTON. Now, those who do participate, the 3 percentwould you say that these are, by and large, the 3 percent who need it the most or just the 3 percent that happened to be located near the center, or those who get information by whatever chance that process works
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. I think you have got to look at a combination of factors. When we are establishing the priorities and setting them up under the Older Americans Act, we are supposed to be establishing the programs to serve the low-income and minority individuals, so it does depend upon where the sites are located, which people are going to be involved.
We do operate statewide, but here again, we have the local people deciding where the services are going to be provided. We mentioned the problem of transportation-if transportation is not available, even though the services may be available, you will have people who will not be able to utilize the services simply because they do not have the means of getting there.
So you have any number of factors which will determine whether or not an individual person will receive the service that may be available or may not be available.
Mr. MCKENZIE. And another factor, too, as some of the individuals here today in the meeting hall have said, in New Orleans, for example, where you do have this center and it is available, but they are really afraid to get out and go to these centers to make use of the benefits that are available.
Senator EAGLETON. One final question, if I may, before we break for lunch. How many nutrition sites are functioning in Louisiana ?
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. 190. I just use that as an estimated figure.